Sunday, August 22, 2010

Working it Out Like a Mother

Being a mom can be tough! I know it! I've lived is through 24 years now. As our children move through different stages of life and we move through our own ages and stages of life, the demands, energy and resources change. It is important for moms of all ages to assess their situation and come up with a plan that meets their unique situation.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with some of my favorite family members. In this group is my son's fiance, age 21 and my niece, age 29. Almost three decades of powerful women in one group (I'm 44). Each of us are in a different stage of our lives. Tori is a college student, she is engaged and doesn't have children. Michelle is a college graduate, married with two very young children and I have two grown children ages 21 and 23.

This was a celebration day for me, of sorts. It was the first time I wore my bikini in public. Man, doing all those bikini blogs really paid off. I have learned to be more confident and accepting of my body and I think that shows.
 Feeling a little sassy here!

I'm so proud of my niece, she has lost over 25 lbs. and has a goal of losing another 50. I really applaud that commitment. When we got to to the lake area and I pulled off my sundress, Michelle said "Man, Aunt Carolyn, I'd love to have your body." I don't take these type of comments lightly. First they are flattering, but they do recognize the amount of work and dedication it has taken for me to get this far. Second, I know the struggle it can be for those who are in a different stage of life than me to feel like it is a possibility for them.

We had a fabulous chat about how she was working her goals into the stage that her family was in at this time. So, I thought I would share a little bit of that here with you over a couple blogs.

When your children are very young, infant to preschool age, it is the most demanding time as far as energy and time goes. It is important to focus 80% of your fitness goals on your nutrition. Learning how to eat a balanced diet that is packed with nutrients and avoiding over processed boxed and prepared meals will not only benefit your health, but will be the best investment you can make in your childrens health. Obesity and diabetes go hand and hand. I am saddened when I hear the statistics of childhood obesity.

I understand that feed a family healthy foods can seem expensive, indulgent or unreasonable. Stick with me here. Food manufacturers make the processed foods sooooo cheap, which makes them very enticing to mommies trying to fill up a table full of little tummies. It is a very hard thing for a mommy to feel like her children are going hungry or that they can't provide for their nutritional needs. Here is the thing, those processes foods, that are so cheap, have very little nutrition. That is why the little ones seem to have a hollow leg and you can't fill up their tummies. Their bodies are hungry for nutrition. Eating processed foods also increases the likely hood of obesity and trains you and your children's appetites to desire more. The money that you 'save' on your grocery bill, you will spend in the doctors office.

The basic nutrition that is good for you is what is best for your children as well. Oatmeal for breakfast with a little bit of fresh fruit or unsweetened applesauce and 2tbs of peanut butter (for adults, some parents avoid nut butters for young children. Try sunflower seed butter. ) This is a yummy treat for any age. I like mine with an apple chopped up in it. Strawberries are also good. Oatmeal is not expensive. I like steel cut oats and they can be a little more expensive, but the old fashion quaker oats work just fine. Stay away from the instant, it is pricier and trains your palate to crave sugars. Opt for those fresh fruit sugars with breakfast. At lunch, a whole wheat flat wrap with 2oz of your favorite protein. I like grilled chicken. Try to stay away from deli meats, they are higher in sodium and preservatives. Spread a little Omega Heart Smart Mayo on the wrap (or an olive oil based mayo). Add fresh spinach leaves, onion, peppers, tomatoes (whatever is your favorite, is the cheapest or is in season). Almost forgot your snack times. You should have two. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Keep it small and simple. 6 almonds and some plain yogurt. You can buy the plain yogurt in the store brand pretty inexpensively. By using plain yogurt you save calories, sugars and money. Chop up your almonds and put them in. Add a dash of cinnamon if you like. Be creative. Moms are good at that.

Dinner time. Switch your family to a whole wheat pasta or a high protein pasta. I know these are a little pricier. Here is the deal though, teach your children to eat a serving size. You are giving them proper nutrition. Their bodies will require a lower quantity, when they are getting a better quality. Steam some broccoli. Bake a Chicken. 1/2 cup of whole wheat pasta with chopped baked chicken and broccoli florets and grate 1 oz. fresh Parmesan on top! If your family likes tomatoes, use a can of diced stewed tomatoes (this is the one processed food I do keep on hand and use frequently. I keep canned beans on hand as well. They are good fillers and have excellent nutritional value).

Okay! Let's exercise!!!!! Time is at a premium and your energy is low! You want quality time with your family and you want quality time in your exercise. While your little ones are napping, you may need to nap as well. A tired mommy, is not a healthy mommy. Don't give up your rest time to exercise unless that is what you want to do and it works best for you. Plan on getting your cardio in while playing with your children. Babies and very small children can ride in strollers while you take your walk or jog. Strength training at this stage of your life does not need to mean an hour at the gym. Join the 100 push up challenge. Focus on large muscle groups. Squats and lunges can be done with no equipment and you can do those while you are watching your children play in the backyard. Crunches can be done anywhere. Suma Squats while holding your little one is better than any medicine ball and your baby will have a blast doing them with you . . . they think it is a game to be lifting into the air!

The key point here is that this is not the stage of life to make exercise THE focus of your life. Keep in perspective. Keep your family healthy and fit and you will be happier and healthier. This stage will pass and you will be ready to transition into a new stage of your life as well.

And when your four year old goes running up a sand dune, run up with him! The view is beautiful from the top and you both will enjoy the adventure. When your niece chases her four year old up the dune, follow! Fitness does not have an age limit or requirement!

Live beautifully!

1 comment:

  1. I love u SO much! I DO Love your body and you have inspired me in keeping at my fitness goals more than any other!! Thank you!!!!