Hi Hayley -

My husband and I are parents to a 14 month-old. We both work long hours, but try to be home to spend time with our daughter before she goes to sleep at 7:30. We often eat after 8:00 and all we want to do is watch TV and go to bed. On the weekends we'll go for long walks with our toddler, but that doesn't shed the pounds. We're both feeling out of shape, but don't feel like there are enough hours in the day to exercise and feel like the road to getting back into shape is a long one. The last thing I feel like doing at the end of the day is exercise and the mornings are busy getting our toddler out the door. Any ideas on how we can work exercise in to our week (and in a way that will have the most effect?)
Thanks so much.

You are right, the road to getting back into shape is long and it is overwhelming but the good news is the road to creating a better lifestyle for you, your husband and your daughter is short and can start immediately.  I completely understand how daunting the idea of making change can be and when you look at where you are in life versus where you want to be you cannot even imagine what it will take for you to get there.  I have been there before, not with weight loss but rather had difficulties riding my bike 60km and I was on my way to a 180km ride, plus a marathon and a 4km swim.  As intimidating as this task was I knew that if I set myself up a program and followed it I would eventually cross the finish line.

So, that is what I suggest you do.  Keep the image of who you want to be and how you want to look, live and feel in the back of your mind but start focusing on the everyday steps you need to take to get there, trusting the fact that if you stay consistent eventually (not tomorrow, or in 3 months) you will be the person you want to be.

You need to set up a program and a schedule for yourself. I have said this a million times: you will NEVER find time; you need to MAKE time and that means sacrifice.  Maybe you take turns in the morning before work and one of you gets the baby ready to go while the other gets in their workout. Or, you work out on your lunch break or you get your workout in right after work, even if it is just 20 minutes.  It is not easy, and nobody ever said it was, but if you want something you need to make sacrifices.

The second thing you need to do is focus on your nutrition.  Instead of spending the last few hours of your day with your husband watching TV, spend it in the kitchen experimenting with healthy recipes.  Make your lunches together, have your breakfast prepared and ready to go for the morning and cook a healthy dinner together with lots of leftovers for the next day or two.  Set a time on the weekend where you go shopping as a family, maybe even check out the local farmers markets in your neighbourhood which can be a lot of fun for the little one.  Stocking up on organic produce and keeping your freezer full of healthy and lean proteins will ensure you are all set up for your evening kitchen dates with your husband.

Also, adopt the attitude that something is better than nothing.  Getting out for a 20 minute workout is better than not getting out at all so do what you can with the time that you have because even after 20 minutes you are closer to your goal than you were before you started.

Set yourself up for success and create your plan tomorrow.  Re evaluate your plan every couple of weeks and see where you can make changes in order to speed up your travel down the long road.  Do not do everything at once, it is too overwhelming.  Instead make 1 change a week building on it each week and do not think about how far you have to go. Instead think about how far you have come.

Attached - Vanessa Hudgens and boyfriend Austin Butler working out together.