In this day and age, the world is a very busy place and it’s easy to get lost in it at times, especially when it comes to health, fitness and wellbeing. It’s an industry that overloads us with information and can leave so many people feeling overwhelmed and confused.
Before having my kids I tried every diet, I believed I had to exercise for an hour a day, 6 days a week to be healthy or had to be on some challenge or supplement. They were also the years that I had bouts of anxiety and never felt settled within myself. Since becoming a mother, my perspective on a lot of things has changed and the main one is, health. Health on an emotional and physical level. It’s no secret that I believe less is more, that i believe more mums should be nourishing themselves rather than punishing themselves and that’s why I wrote the StayStrongMummy Fitness Plan.
But I felt compelled to update this particular blog today and share with you a few more personal tips on coming ‘back to the basics’ of health and fitness. You might take a little from it, or a lot. Whatever it is, stay gentle on yourself mummies.
It’s Winter here in Australia. Often a time when it’s important to slow down, enjoy warmer, hearty meals and spend more time resting. I’m a huge believer in the physical energies of the environment affecting us, spiritually. Acknowledge how you’re feeling and don’t feel guilty for slowing things down at this time of year.
I’m no celebrity, I’m not a high-profile coach, I’m not a nutritionist (I leave that to my expert co-author!), i don’t live a completely non-toxic lifestyle, nor do i only eat strictly organic foods. I’m a proud mum. A mum who in addition to running StayStrongMummy, works 4 days a week, does your usual school and kindy drop offs, helps the hubby run our other family business and cooks, cleans and does all the chores. Don’t be fooled to think because you have a big social media following that you’re a high-flying celeb who has cooks and cleaners at their beck and call (I get those comments a lot!)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, here are my own personal tips on coming back to basics with health and fitness:
- i focus on 80% diet and 20% exercise. I allocate more time to grocery shopping and cooking than I do exercise
- eat real food (my book is jam packed with a delicious guide!)
- Eat every few hours and include protein, wholegrain carbs and quality fats at most meals.
- Choose organic when you can.
- Once you’ve got a good base diet, you’ll naturally be more motivated to move your body and the motivation to exercise will kick in.
- Choose a form of exercise that you ENJOY not loathe! For me, that’s doing short bursts of high intensity interval training at home. I enjoy it because I can do it any time of day and 15 mins (3-4 times a week) has given me results + I can do it while my kids play around me. Minimum time, maximum results.
- I focus on feeling strong and healthy rather than counting calories or restricting a food group
- Work on your self love, download a meditation clip and listen to it for a few mins before bed each night, now and again.
- Meditation isn’t just for hippies and yes, you can do it. Those who say that meditation ‘is not for them’ are usually the ones who end up benefiting from it most! 15 mins is equivalent to a few hours deep sleep. It’s wonderful for tired mummies.
- You don’t need fancy shoes or workout gear to exercise. I often do my workouts barefoot in my lounge room (in my pyjamas!)
- When you come back to basics of real food (not products) and move your body a few times per week, everything starts to become clearer and you suddenly see through all of ‘clutter’ out there. You look past those diets and fads and just see them as very clever marketing brands.
- No, it’s not always easy to just ‘eat right’ and ‘exercise’ – it can take a damn lot of energy, commitment and discipline, particularly when you start – as your body fears change, but when you finally ‘click’ and feel the tremendous benefits of nourishing your body consistently, that’s when the magic happens.
- It’s not just about losing weight – it’s about feeling vibrant, energetic, proud and healthy for you and your children.
- I still enjoy treats each week. I drink coffee and wine (in moderation).
- Not every day will go to plan. If I’ve had a tough few days with the kids, I rest. Some weeks, I don’t workout at all. Others, work like a dream.
- It’s ok to fall apart and feel overwhelmed now and again. Just don’t hang around there too long (1-2 weeks). Nourish yourself with a massive green smoothie, refocus and keep going.
How to put it together?
- Pick a start date, a Monday is always good as you have a weekend to really prepare and get yourself back on track
- If you’ve got the determination and motivation to make some big changes, then set yourself a goal (a month is a good place to start to feel the benefits).
- Detox the pantry and fridge and load it up with clean, wholefoods. Throw out all the packaged foods and junk. Some staple ingredients in my pantry are coconut oil, natural nut butters, almond milk, cacao powder, tamari sauce (wheat free soy sauce), fresh dates, nuts, chia seeds, dried herbs and spices, coconut cream, coconut milk, curry powder, organic soup stock, pure maple syrup, raw honey, tahini, rice cakes, rye mountain bread, spelt flour etc. All basic ingredients for cooking throughout my week. My fridge is loaded with fruit, veg, meats, poultry and sometimes, seafood – as well as natural yoghurt, sour cream, organic milk and butter, coconut water.
- Write out two workouts that you want to do for the week. If you’re a working mumma, get one out of the way on the weekend. If you can add another workout, awesome! I’m at a stage where i aim for 3-4 sessions, but i started with two.
- If a complete diet overhaul feels overwhelming then write out a calendar and each week, add a small change to it over the course of a month. It might be as simple as adding a green juice and 30 squats to your day in week one. Cutting out sugar, drinking 2L of water and learning how to make some clean sweet treats in week two. Swapping white grains (pasta, bread, rice) for wholegrains and flours (spelt, rye, brown rice etc) in week three and then diving into it week four by incorporating clean foods into every meal and snack.
- Enjoy a treat meal once a week. It’s a must to consistency and success in making lifestyle changes. Even if it’s one or two treats over the weekend, enjoy it. But don’t let it spiral out of control into a weekend binge on rubbish foods. It will take your body days to recover and you’ll feel sluggish and lose all motivation for the following week.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. Be it in person, online or by reading books! Go to the library and check out the recipe book section – lots of clean, wholefoods books popping up in libraries now. My book is also pretty awesome (!) Get involved in online mummy groups or forums or jump onto the Stay Strong Mummy page and chat to the growing tribe of strong mums on there. Ask around about local mummy groups in your area and see if anyone wants to meet for a workout at the park (before the coffee date!)
Nourishing yourself is part of nourishing your children. Arm yourself with recipes, workouts and a routine that will suit you and your family. I know you can do it, you wouldn’t have read all this if you couldn’t. Go for it, strong mummy.
PS – for a complete guide and beautiful book that will hold your hand the entire way, grab a copy of the StayStrongMummy Fitness Plan. X