As a mom, we so often put ourselves on hold for the needs of our kids and family. So much so that we end up stressed, overwhelmed and not feeling too great about the way we look or how much we weigh. I know that's not just me. What's a busy hardworking mom to do to take care of herself? Today, I'm sharing my journey learning how to get fit and how to stay fit and why it's so important.
About 10 years ago, I used to weigh nearly 200 pounds. I decided to lose the weight, which I had decided to do many times before, but this time I took a class and my cousin and I supported each other. It was what I needed. I lost 40 lbs and got healthy and fit and felt fantastic!
Over the next 10 years, my weight fluctuated some but usually stayed within 5 pounds of my goal weight. Until about 2 years ago. I got to be about 15 pounds above that goal weight and kept ‘trying' to lose those 15 pounds, but never did. Finally, I'd had enough and put together a plan for myself and lost 10 of those pounds. I may never get back to my goal weight because I'm not sure it's sustainable…and so needs to no longer be a goal.
In the process, I learned some lessons and things that helped me and continue to help me.
The most important I've learned is that I LOVE the way I feel when I'm in shape AND I love the way I look.
In the last 2 years, I've been using an app to workout at home and I've developed muscles I didn't know I could have.
Until recently, I didn't know that I like the look of muscles on me and I love the way my shoulders and arms look(even with my chicken flab). Now, I keep going because I still love the way I feel when I'm fit, but I also keep going because I love the way my body has changed and I love being a mom with guns(you know arm muscles ?).
Often we, as moms and women, get so caught up in the weight aspect of things that we forget there are so many other measurable ways to see if we taking care of ourselves.
How do you feel? How do you look?
Did you say “Great!” Yay for you if you did.
If not, read on because I'm going to share how to get fit and how to stay fit – at least what has worked and been sustainable for me. It starts with a little organization.
Also, I have a printable worksheet at the bottom of this post that you can download and print to get your fitness on track.
How to get fit
1. What's your goal?
Do you want to increase your activity? Build muscle? lose weight?
Before you begin you need to get clear about your goal.
Write it down. I have a printable worksheet for you at the bottom of this post, use that to write down your goal and all of the other steps in getting organized to get fit for the long haul.
2. Make a plan
Super basic, right?
Start with a realistic plan.
The key is to make it realistic for YOU. and Achievable for You.
Here are a few things for you to think about as you determine your plan:
- How much time do you have?
- What will you do?
- When do you plan to workout?
- Do you need equipment?
Make sure you keep it simple and attainable for you. Don't worry about what others will think or what others say you need to do. Do what you know you can show up for and commit to. You may find that once you show up and begin to see and feel results, you're able to and/or want to add more.
Below is my plan, but this is what works for me. It probably isn't right for you.
2 years ago I started with a 6,000 steps per day goal. I have a Fitbit Ionic(affiliate link) that I use to track my steps. I wanted to start with something that was achievable versus what “they” say you should do.
I quickly realized that 6,000 steps was too easy for me and set my goal at 7,000 steps per day. That made me work for it a little bit and got me a little bit more active, which was my goal.
Now, my goal is 10,000 steps Monday-Friday(the days I exercise) and 7,000 on the weekends.
I also set a goal to workout and decided to try the app Fitbit Coach since it integrates with Fitbit.
My plan was again, very basic. Workout at home with no equipment necessary. As a hardworking mom, I'm never going to find the time to drive to the gym, workout, shower, and drive home. That's too much time out of my day, but if I can roll out of bed, put on workout clothes, drag my butt downstairs and workout….all within minutes of waking up. It is WAY more likely to happen for me.
I'm still doing this same very basic plan. Now I do a short (15-20 min.) Fitbit Coach workout and then I walk about a mile most mornings. I've been a runner for the last 10 years, so I throw in a run or two a week instead of the workout. It's basic, it's simple and it's right there…no excuses.
Tracking what you're doing is a huge key to success.
And by tracking I mean actually writing it down. Apps are great, but there's something different about actually writing it out.
When I was losing weight I used both an app(because it made it easier to calculate things) and a fitness planner to track my food. I found that writing down my food was always more accurate than only tracking in the app(meaning I missed less food that I ate when I wrote things down versus just tracking in the app).
Tracking can also include tracking your activity with a steps tracker or using your smartwatch or smartphone.
You need hard evidence to show yourself the progress you're making. Having that in writing will always do the trick and is much easier to look at then scrolling through data on a phone or watch.
I use the Happy Planner Fitness planner (affiliate link) for my tracking.
4. Make it Easy
What? It's working out and eating right, how can that be easy?
Do the simple things that encourage yourself to follow through.
- If you're working out in the mornings set a consistent alarm for yourself rather than varying it each day.
- Set your clothes out the night before so you don't have to think. When your alarm goes off, you only need to get up and get dressed and you're on your way.
- Download your workout the night before if your using an app to workout.
- If losing weight is part of your plan, plan your meals ahead of time. I have many posts of meal planning, but here is a basic one and here is one with themes.
- Find a friend who you can either workout with or that you talk to at least once a week about getting fit and healthy. The accountability will help motivate you to keep going.
- Have your fitness planner or notebook or whatever you're writing things down in with you all the time. No excuses to skip journaling what your eating, drinking or your workouts. It'll help if it's small. Purse size is perfect. ?
- A tracking device, such as a Fitbit, means you don't have to even remember to track or start tracking your activity. It will do it for you as long as you wear it. That's pretty easy!
5. Do it
This is the hardest step and the most critical.
You have to show up for yourself and do it.
This is why you want to make your goals sustainable for you. Don't plan to do P90X if it requires an hour for working out every day and you can only fit in 30 minutes. That's setting yourself up for failure. Pick something else.
If your goal is to workout…show up and workout.
My 6,000 steps goal may seem wimpy and wrong in the eyes of the ‘experts.' Guess what? They're wrong. It got me more active and I ended up seeing that I could do more and adjusted my goal to 7,000 steps. That's still well below the recommended 10,000 steps, but guess what? I hit my goal EVERY DAY for almost an entire year. I missed 4 days because of feeling sick.
I can guarantee you that my hitting my lower goal every day for a year was WAY better for me than hitting that ‘expert' recommendation a few days a week and completely failing the rest of the days and then giving up because I felt bad about it.
I also know that I had #6 going for me to help keep me going and showing up for myself.
Find ways to make it fun for yourself. For me, it is usually creating or finding an upbeat playlist and cranking it up. For you it'll be something different. It's working out. It's supposed to be work…but that doesn't mean you can't find a way to add some fun to the workout.
6. Notice how you feel or look
This is a huge step as well.
Hopefully, you are journaling how you're doing, so you'll see those differences on paper, but an even more important difference is how you feel and how you see yourself.
I have so much more energy on the days I get up and workout. I've noticed that I feel like crap when I don't workout. That makes for a huge motivation to get up because who wants to feel like crap for the day? I know if I'm tired and I don't want to get up, I'll actually feel better if I get up and get it over with. I know because I've taken the time and noticed this about myself.
I've noticed the ? muscles in my arms and the definition in my shoulders. I now like the way sleeveless shirts look on me(thank goodness because Stitch Fix, which I love, seems to send me a lot of them).
Those have become motivators for me. I want to keep those guns? in my arms because I think it is pretty awesome to be 47 and feel this great and have noticeable muscles. I love that below my mom flab/belly that is having had kids, I can see my abs as well. I wish I could see them more, but that probably isn't going to happen and I'm OK with that….sometimes. Gonna be honest, I wish for more on that one, but seeing my defined arms and abs is still a motivator for me.
What you notice about how you feel or how you look will no doubt be different than what I notice. The point is to notice. Write that down, too.
Do you notice that you have more energy if you workout in the morning? Do you notice that a nighttime workout as soon as you get home from work gives you the energy to finish strong with your family? Do you like that all that walking you've been doing means you've got strong leg muscles now or defined calves?
Pay attention and use that as motivation to keep going.
It all seems so basic. And it is.
The hardest part is carving out the time and getting started. Once you see success it's so much easier to keep going.
As hardworking moms, we have the hardest time showing up for ourselves. There are so many other things we need to take care of that finding 20-40 minutes to workout and get fit feels like more stress and seems impossible, but I promise you that it's SO worth it. You'll love how you feel physically and emotionally. That will translate to less stress and more confidence for you.
And we all know that a happier mommy = happier kids and a happier family.
You can do this! After all you show up day after day and take care of your kiddos. You've managed to feed them on a daily basis for how many years now? This is no harder than that. It's for you…not them. That's the part we fail on so often. You can do it! You can show up for yourself!
What are some tactics you use to get fit and show up for yourself? Leave me a comment below. We all need more ideas so share the love and ideas. ?
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