10 Simple Rules for a Healthy Lifestyle.
10 SIMPLE RULES FOR A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
When people ask me what I do to stay fit with four kids at home, I don’t always know what to say. After years of teaching group fitness, and some years being a personal trainer, I realize how individual a health plan can be. There are too many variables in a mom’s life to share any plan as a “One size fits all” routine. So, I always hesitate to share what I Do, for fear it won’t work for someone else. And honestly, I would never claim to be a model of a “super-fit” mom to start with. If anything, I’d say I do pretty well at keeping balanced, being real, and staying active. So, with that in mind, if you want to know a few of general “rules” I follow–here’s a little list:
1. Elevate your heart rate. IF your goal is to lose body fat and slim up, nothing beats a cardiovascular workout. As nice as walking or a gentle weight routine can be, (and they do have their benefits,) if your goal is to burn fat, you simply must huff and puff. And you need to do it 3-4 times a week, minimum. (That’s all I do, but if you have big goals, more is better.) If you’re walking, you need to find a hill, some weights, or at least a serious stride. Running, of course, is my favorite huff and puff activity, closely followed by all kinds of group fitness workouts. (Side note; I first titled this one: You Gotta Sweat, but my sweet Doctor-husband went into a bit of a lecture on how sweat isn’t as good of an indicator as heart rate and yadayada…So I just changed the title. But for the record–I know I’m getting a good workout when I sweat.)
2. Eat often, but don’t eat too much: Sorry, I’m not a believer in diet plans (in MOST situations, not all,) ….So I usually encourage people to simply cut down on portions. I try to eat healthy foods, but I also don’t believe in denying myself completely. If I plan into my day little treats that I really enjoy, then they lose their pull on me. I eat small amounts throughout the day–something like a 200 calorie snack or light meal every three hours. And knowing that I’ll be eating more again soon, makes it easier to push food away when I’m done. But don’t overlook the importance of what you eat: THIS REALLY IS THE BIGGEST KEY TO MAINTAINING A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT.
3. Be consistent. Whatever your routine is, whatever eating plan you are committed to–don’t quit! Fall off the wagon? Get back on it! Keep your eye on the big picture, and shoot for the LONG TERM GOAL. Choose a DATE at least six moths away, (and another one a year away,) and then slowly work towards your goal. I cannot stress this enough.
4. ”Spot workouts” are (still) a myth. I kinda thought everyone knew this, but I still have people ask me “Will my abs get flat if I do this 30 minute ab workout every day?” etc. No. They won’t. We all have our “problem” areas, and if body fat is involved, then it will all boil down to burning the fat. See #1 and #2. The law of thermodynamics applies to the saddle bags, love handles, and flabby arms. Sorry. The truth is hard to swallow sometimes. And when it all comes down–if you’re just dealing with one or two little areas…You may want to just consider being happy with yourself how you are–Burning that very last bit of body fat may mean a serious committment to your diet and exercise, and you need to decide how much it means to you…By this season of life, I have decided I can live with LESS than perfect in order to live a happy, and balanced life. (I feel so free when I say that! )
5. Figure out how to dress for your body. This may not seem to fit in to my list, but it really does. If you find the kind of clothes that FEEL good and FLATTER you, you will walk with more confidence, and in some mysterious way this leads to better habits. There must be a scientific study behind this one, but I just know it in my knower. Thanks for trusting me.
6. Train your muscles. Once you have chiselled some excess body fat away, you’ll want to see some definition on your frame. Simply adding two days a week (three is better) of resistance work into your routine will help you feel stronger, look more toned, and walk taller. An added benefit: Your muscles act as little metabolism machines…they keep burning the fat hours after you are done exercising. Put ‘em to work and enjoy. (There’s a hundred options for how to do this, I shared a couple posts about this here and HERE.)
7. Be careful about the company you keep. I don’t want this to come out wrong. But if you’re working on health and fitness goals, then hanging around friends who sabotage those goals, it’s gonna be tough going. Finding some workout buddies and accountability partners is a huge help. Get your spouse or some friends to get on board with you. Don’t get rid of friends with bad habits, just be very aware of what activities you choose to do with them. You are worth it.
8. Be your own cheerleader. Really, we all need encouragement, but other people don’t always know when we need it most. Don’t wait for others to cheer you on! Make goals, and then reward yourself when you’ve reached them. I’m a big believer in delayed gratification–and if knowing you can go shopping, or have a special reward when you’ve achieved the goal helps you get there, then plan the rewards.
9. Visit thegrommom blog on Thursdays where you’ll be in good company, and get encouraged and inspired.
10. Read #3 again. That really is the key.
Let me know if you have questions!