Last week I poured my gut out to all of you, chatting about how this school year has been all consuming. It felt really cathartic to write it all out, especially since writing for me has always been a form of therapy. And really, as much as I wrote it for all of you to read, I mostly wrote it for me. To hold myself accountable. To have something to look back on when I need some reminders. And though I wrote that post last week, It’s been three weeks since I’ve made healthy changes. And as much as I’ve made these changes to help lose the weight I gained this school year, it’s much more about losing all that emotional weight I’ve been bottling up in side. Yes dropping extra pounds is fabulous, but what keeps me going on this path is that it’s ultimately good for my soul.
As a working momma, it’s tough to fathom taking more time for myself. But I just know that it’s for the best that I carve out this time for me. Because in the long run, it will allow for better quality time with my family. You know because emotionally and physically I’m in a better state. It’s a win-win for everyone! Today I’m going to share with you some of my routines and tips, which allow me to get all things health in and planned before dinner is even on the table. :::I feel like I’m winning at life right now with all this:::
1. MyFitnessPal: I’ve used MyFitnessPal in the past and had great successes. So I’m back on this train. It’s great to keep track of your food intake and your exercise. Some of my favorite features are that you can create your own recipes and it will calculate calories per serving for you, it has an App so this tool travels with me along with it’s ability to now scan a barcode of a food product for ease of adding it to your food diary, you can track all things active including cleaning and vacuuming, it helps you figure out how many calories you burned doing whatever sort of activity you’ve done, and it’s a visual reminder for me. Also, it creates all sorts graphs for you to follow along with your fitness and health goals.
After Abby is asleep, or sometimes after dinner, I pack my breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the next day, all while adding it to the next day’s food diary. That way all of my food is accounted for and it gives me a plan to stick to while at work. Dinner and post dinner snack is calculated as I’m preparing it, depending on if I was able to get some sort of physical activity done or not, or what type of activity I got in for the day.
2. Apps For Exercise: Besides using the MyFitnessPal App option, I’ve found two other Apps that help me keep track of exercise. The first is Ease into 5K, which is c25K in a free app form. All you do is load in some music and hit start. In between listening to music it will tell you when to run and when to walk. I paid maybe $1-$2 more to add the GPS option so that I can keep track of how far I actually go.
While I have this App going, I start up RunKeeper, because it will keep track of how many calories I’m burning so I can accurately enter it into MyFitnessPal. And it turns out that once I started using RunKeeper, I realized I was burning way more calories than I thought. BONUS! RunKeeper is also good to keep track of calories burned and distance gone when I take the kiddo for a walk. And really, it keeps track of just about any type of athletic activity you can think of from riding a bicycle to hiking to snowboarding.
3. Exercise: I don’t know about you, but after my kid is asleep, the last thing I want to do is workout. I know many people do it, but I’m just not down for that. And because I’m up crazy early in the morning, getting up even earlier is not an option. I’m fortunate enough that I’m home with the kid by 4pm (and not so fortunate because I’m up every morning at 5:30am), so there is time before I start dinner to get a workout in. Since Abby is 2.5, and can occupy herself, I’m able to throw in my 30day Shred DVD on my laptop, and most days she’ll gladly occupy herself for the 25 minutes it takes to do one of these workouts. Sometimes she’ll even join me, trying to do the exercises, or even bear-huggin me while I do situps. Bonus points for added resistance! And if all the stars are aligned and I can get out of the house by 5pm, which totally hinges on when my husband gets home from work, I get in a c25k day in, which only takes about 30-35 minutes. (NOTE: I do either or. I never do both 30day Shred and c25k in one day.) Also, most of my working out is done during the week, so that weekends can fully be about relaxing. I do burn calories on the weekend, though it’s more untraditional like counting the time I’m cleaning or taking walks with the kiddo.
4. Planning For Distractions: In order to get that exercise I mentioned above in, it’s all about preparing. I make sure Abby has a snack and some water before I put the DVD in. I also turn on the TV :::GASP::: and get the day’s Sesame Street going on the DVR. I try to get her to potty before I start, but sometimes she doesn’t need to, often times resulting in me needing to hit pause to help her when she realizes she truly does need to pee. For the times when she is needy, I have a 2lb weight laying around. I try to distract her from wanting me to pick her up by pointing out the weight and she will try to do the moves with me. It’s quite adorable, especially when she makes me move because I’m in her spot. Of course we do have our days when I’m stopping the DVD every 5-10 minutes to placate her needs. And to get a c25k workout in, the husband needs to totally distract the kid from the fact that I’m leaving the house. Abby is such a momma’s girl.
5. Family Meals: Let’s face the facts here, my husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and well, my daughter’s favorite food groups are carbs and cheese. Though vegetables and brown rice make the rounds for our regular dinner options, all that the family eats is not what I’m fully eating. And I’m not a fan of making two completely different meals. Instead, I just modify what I’m making for the family to fit into my new healthy eating habits. I put chicken nuggets in a salad instead of having the usual sides. On Brinner nights, I have an egg white omelet and Canadian bacon, while the family has whole eggs and regular bacon. If we are making quesadillas, I make sure to measure out my portions and use one tortilla folded over instead of two. For meatloaf night, I add my recipe to MyFitnessPal and cut the cooked loaf into the right number of slices and only have one portion. If it’s spaghetti night, I again make sure to measure out my portions.
All of these items not only help me to stay focused, but they also help me save time. Do you have any other tips for me? Any new 30-40 minute DVD’s I might like? Some great healthy family recipes that everyone would enjoy? I know what will keep me on this path is to shake up the routines every once in a while.
Photo Credits: (MyFitnessPal App) http://www.clearlink.com