Smutty Fitness: Small steps

Hayley Posted by Hayley at September 27, 2017 17:30:44 September 27, 2017 17:30:44


I am a 35 year old mother of 2 children with special needs. Over the years I have gained weight from sedentary nights at the hospital, poor menu options, and a lack of personal time and let's not forget emotional eating. I recognize that I need to change this lifestyle for myself and family. I have appropriate support for the stress and emotions associated with my situation and am learning how to cope, adjust, and find balance. The difficult part for me is the exercise. My children aren't as mobile as their peers and physical activity for our family is short lived. I do not have the funds for a personal trainer or gym membership. And to top it off, I have asthma which makes cardio difficult (but certainly not impossible). Do you have any recommendations on where to start? I've tried in the past but tend to take on too much at once. How do I break this down into easier more manageable steps to build up energy and endurance?
Thank yo


The first thing you should start with is diet, as that is the easiest to control with a busy schedule. You don't have to change much right at the beginning but rather pick one thing and then build on that each week. Start out by increasing your water intake as the side effects of dehydration (including low energy) are a mile long. My trick for keeping my water intake at a max is pretty simple. I keep a Brita filter on the counter with a glass beside it and every morning, as soon as I get up, I pour myself a big glass and drink it before my coffee. Then, before I leave the house, I fill up a 500ml glass bottle with more water, which I refill throughout the day. This ensures I'm drinking adequate water each day. Just doing something as simple as this is going to change how you feel about yourself. You'll become less bloated, less tired, and hopefully crave less sugary foods as your energy levels will be higher.

Once you've nailed down the water, work on what you eat while you are at work. I'm not expecting you to completely avoid the cafeteria, but bring healthy foods from home that will counterbalance the terrible cafeteria food. Before you head to bed at night take five minutes to put some vegetables into a container. I always have bags of peas, carrots and mini cucumbers in the fridge. Literally, all you have to do is take them out of the bag and put them into a container. Have some raw almonds you can toss in for protein, or hummus to dip the veggies in and put at least one piece of fruit into your lunch bag.

Cut out the extras when you can, which means you don't get to sit on the couch at the end of the day, when the kids are asleep, and snack. If you're craving something, get in the habit of drinking herbal tea or another glass of water and wait 20 minutes. If the hunger passes then you're good, but if you're still hungry opt for something healthy. I know this is the time we reach for our comfort foods so maybe it is two pieces of cheese and a couple of crackers or a small bowl of air popped popcorn. It isn't as easy as it sounds to go for the healthy choice but if you are patient with yourself and allow yourself to feel a bit uncomfortable then you will be ok. 

Keep working on making healthier choices over six weeks while slowly adding in exercise. Start with what is easy, such as taking the stairs whenever you can while you're working. It doesn't sound like much, but a month of walking stairs will make changes in your body. If you drive to work, park further away and walk for 10 minutes, both to and from your car. If you bus to work, get off 10 minutes away and walk. Wearing a device that tracks your steps is the best way to make sure you are hitting your daily movement goals.
Once your diet has made progress and you're starting to move more within your day, take 15 minutes before the kids wake up or once they've gone to sleep and roll out a mat and move. There are so many fitness apps available that are free and guide you through 15-45 minute workouts that you can do at home. NTC (Nike Training Club) is my favourite but find one you like and set a goal of 15 minutes, 3 times a week. As this becomes habit work on increasing your workouts to 30 minutes.

Last, but absolutely not least, meditate. I can't say enough about meditation. Even just sitting still for a few minutes and breathing will lower your stress and anxiety levels, causing your emotions to settle which will in turn help curb your emotional eating. The Headspace app is my go-to and I use it whenever I'm starting to feel out of control. Take five minutes after you work out to sit and be still or a few minutes once you've woken to set your intentions for the day.

Don't try and accomplish this all in one go. Start with one thing, then add to it. Keep growing and making positive changes in your life. You won't drop 20 pounds in a month, or 3 months for that matter, but you will see positive changes in both your mind and your body.

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