From working a full-time job to running kids to school functions and managing a household, moms hardly have a spare moment in their busy daily schedules. Even with hectic home and work situations, working moms still need to find time to live a healthy lifestyle -- not only to benefit themselves, but their families as well.
By implementing the following tips and mental shifts, working out can soon become a permanent appointment in your busy schedule.
Make Yourself a Priority
Moms tend to put themselves at the bottom of the priority list, especially when kids are young. You aren’t getting much sleep and it takes all of your energy to just make it through the day. Moms also can be hard on themselves emotionally and feel guilty about doing something for themselves. To be healthy, moms have to bust through these mental roadblocks and attitudes by making their health and fitness a priority, a commitment and a life-long dedication.
“It’s OK to take care of yourself because if you don’t take care of yourself now, you can’t take care of anyone else,” says Alexandra Craig, Fitness Together studio owner in Columbus, Ohio.
The first step is to believe in the power and impact of a healthy and fit lifestyle -- not only physically, but mentally -- throughout all aspects of your life. It’s time to make the mental shift to putting your health as a No. 1 priority.
“As a working mom, you’re expected to take care of the family and perform well at work. But how are you going to do that if you’re overweight, uncomfortable and unhappy?” says Kerri Powers, a Fitness Together studio owner in Lexington, Mass., and mother of two young children. “Moms have to start putting themselves first.”
Release Stress with a Healthy Fitness Routine
Working moms are busy people who continually have to balance work with personal and at-home considerations, which can create a lot of stress throughout all aspects of life. If you don’t have an outlet for releasing this stress, then you won’t be able to handle the common stresses of motherhood for too long.
Craig believes that moms need to feel good about themselves and feel a sense of personal accomplishment to live a healthy and fit lifestyle that leads to stress-free living.
“We have a lot of moms in our studio who work full-time jobs, run around their kids to school functions and still find time to work out,” says Craig. “One of the main reasons they keep up their workout routine is because they know that once they get done, they will be 20% better mentally. They feel good, will treat their families better when they get home and have an overall more positive outlook on life.”
Powers finds it helpful for moms to schedule their fitness routines a week or month ahead of time. Whether it’s first thing in the morning before the kids are awake, during your lunch break or in the evening, you only have to set aside 30-60 minutes during the day to focus on your health and fitness. Adjust your schedule, make it fit, but just do what it takes to make your workout a constant in your life.
Take Time to Eat Healthy
A common habit that moms form without even realizing it is eating their kids’ foods and finishing up a child’s plate in fear of wasting food. What may seem like an innocent, time-saving gesture, though, is in reality a huge calorie counter.
Eating your kids’ leftovers are wasted calories that can add up quicker than you realize. Instead of grabbing a leftover spoonful of your child’s macaroni and cheese for lunch, make sure to take the time to eat well-rounded, nutritious meals that include healthy portions of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables to sustain the energy needed for an always-on-the-go working mom. It helps to plan your weekly meals ahead of time on the weekends so you won’t have to worry about what you’re eating during the busy work week.
Stay Accountable, Stay Active
No one wants to tackle the challenge of living a fit and healthy lifestyle alone. So working moms shouldn’t be expected to hit the gym by themselves.
Whether you have personal friends who are interested in working out or you join a group of other moms in your studio, it’s important to surround yourself with others who share similar goals to get the best results both mentally and physically. It’s a lot harder to skip a workout or not give your best when you have others relying on you to show up to every workout session and give your best effort.
If you haven’t been able to find a great workout partner, Powers suggests that you consider enlisting the help of a personal trainer or coach. Personal trainers are not only great fitness buddies, but they also can be an excellent resource for helping you get started and maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle.
“As a mom, you have tons of things on your mind and working out shouldn’t be stressful,” Powers says. “By using a trainer, you have someone who knows what you should eat, what workouts you should do to get the best results and they know how to motivate and push you to reach goals you never thought possible.”