Let’s face it, as moms, we can be pretty hard on ourselves and as women, we can sometimes be hard on each other too. How was her hair? Was her makeup too heavy? Has she gained weight? With so much focus on appearance, it’s no wonder many women want to lose a few pounds and sometimes take unhealthy short-cuts to lose weight. Even if your motivation to lose weight is purely for appearance, please consider your overall health and wellbeing.
Unfortunately, many of us resort to “quick fixes” and extreme fad diets in an effort to lose weight. Not only are these often ineffective, they can actually be detrimental to your health. Even a short-term success generally leads to long-term weight gain, as that restrictive diet and killer exercise regime are not able to be maintained.
Instead, why not try a sensible and, above all, sustainable approach to weight loss? By adopting a range of healthier lifestyle habits you’ll be able to reach your goals, feeling fantastic, and with enough motivation to carry on living a healthy lifestyle.
Part 1: You Are What You Eat
- Be Mindful of What You’re Eating: “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” This saying has been used by doctors, dieticians, personal trainers and an army of other health and wellness professionals. That’s because it’s true. You need to be aware of what you’re eating, how much you’re eating and whether or not the amount you’re eating is compatible with healthy weight loss. This doesn’t mean a harsh and time-consuming tally of calories; there are numerous food tracking apps that can help, meaning you can track your food intake in less time than it takes to check your Instagram feed.
- “Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day”: A favourite line of mothers around the world, this is another saying that, when applied, can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Why is that? Because studies show that when you start the day off with a healthy breakfast, you are more likely to consume fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. Breakfast also jump starts your metabolism for the day and helps to balance your blood sugar levels (so you’re less likely to get “hangry” later).
- Don’t Drink Your Calories: Another adage that holds true for those trying to lose weight, sugary drinks and alcohol are diet sabotages’. This is because they are loaded with calories (surprise!) but they don’t help you feel full; if anything, they often make you crave sugary or fatty foods which can quickly blow your healthy eating out of the water. This doesn’t mean you can’t have the occasional sneaky glass of wine – just be mindful of how much you are having and be sure to add it to your food tracker. Try increasing your water intake as well, as studies have shown drinking a cup of water before a meal generally leads to fewer calories being consumed.
- Dieting Doesn’t Mean Being Hungry: If you find that you’re always starving when you’re on a diet, then chances are you’re not eating enough of the right foods. Protein is ideal for your weightloss to help you feel full for longer. In addition to well-balanced meals, there’s a whole host of healthy and nutritious treats that you can keep on hand in case you’re feeling snacky when 3 o’clock rolls around. If you let yourself get ravenously hungry in an attempt to limit calories, then you are far more likely to give in to cravings and end up overeating later.
- Make Smart Choices: Let’s face it, there are a lot of social events that involve food. Work events, birthday parties, catch-up with friends, moms groups… all of these can easily lead to overindulging. That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy these events, but making a few smart choices in the lead up can minimise the damage to your diet. For example, can you pick a venue that offers delicious but healthy options? In fact, why not host the events in your own backyard so you have greater control of the menu. Or you could have a meal prior to the event so that you won’t mindlessly snack your way through an entire buffet?
Part 2: You Need to Get Physical
- Fitness is Important: If you really want to look and feel your best then you will need to be doing some regular exercise, in addition to making healthier food choices. Try not to view this as an optional extra, but rather as a necessity. If you place a high value on getting regular exercise (whether that be a session at the gym, going for a run or just taking a brisk walk around the block) then you will be less likely to let it fall by the wayside.
- Be Committed to Your Fitness Schedule: It can be really hard at times to get motivated enough for exercising. But scheduling in regular fitness sessions and adding them to your calendar will make this a little easier. Having an exercise “appointment” scheduled in (with reminder alarms if necessary) means that you won’t have to skip that spin class because you’ve accidentally scheduled in something else for the same time.
- Get It Over and Done with Early: It may seem easier leaving exercise until later in the day, but studies have shown that there are numerous benefits to exercising first thing in the morning. These include boosting your metabolism, being more physically and mentally alert and even improved sleep patterns. But perhaps more importantly, people who exercise in the morning are more likely to exercise regularly.
- Try and Be More Active: Don’t limit your fitness to just those scheduled periods of exercise. There are numerous opportunities throughout most days where you can increase your fitness levels, even if only slightly. This can include taking the stairs instead of the lift, parking your car a little further away from the shops or the office, or walking to meetings and appointments that are close by.
Part 3: A Healthier Way of Living
- You Don’t Have to Do This Alone: Adopting a healthier way of living can be difficult to achieve on your own – after all, if everyone else is skipping the gym to go for after work cocktails, then why shouldn’t you! Having a partner or a support group of friends will increase your chances of being successful. You may not feel like getting up and going to the gym, but if you’ve made plans to meet someone else there then you’ll make yourself get up and go. And if your partner is also cutting down on alcohol and sugary treats then there will be fewer temptations around the home.
- Get Plenty of Rest: It may be hard when you’re frantically trying to coordinate your time, in addition to the numerous other daily tasks you usually have as a mom, but getting enough sleep plays an important part in weight loss. If you’re feeling tired, then you will be more likely to snack on high-calorie foods and skip the gym in favour of a Netflix binge on the couch. Try and get to bed at the same time each night (including on weekends) so that you can maintain a good sleep routine. It’s hard as a mom but do the best you can.
- Resist Fads: It may seem like everyone else you know is “losing 20 pounds in 5 days” and “building a firm butt in just 2 weeks”, but the truth is fad diet and exercise programs are not your friends. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. These programs are all about short-term punishment and quick rewards – basically the opposite of what is required for long-term and sustainable weight loss. Instead, stay focused on your personal goals and on trying to make healthier choices in all areas of your life.
- Calm Down: This may not be as easy as it sounds when you’re trying to manage a home but avoiding stress will help to improve both your physical and mental health. Take regular time out to relax and let off steam – whether this means a high-impact boxing class or a relaxing bubble bath, find something that works for you and embrace it.
With a little dedication, a great support network and the right motivation, you can lose weight and successfully boost your overall health and wellbeing. This measured approach to diet and exercise can help you to view healthier living as something sustainable that you can take with you into the rest of your life.