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Posted by L. Druxman May 19, 2008

Put your health first. Yes, first. Above your kids, your husband and your job. Sounds strange huh? Most moms put themselves last on the priority list. There's just not enough time, so you surely can't make health a priority. It would be selfish of you to care for yourself, right? Wrong! Chances are that you are the back bone of your family. When your kids get hurt, you have to be there to take care of them. When your husband gets sick, it's you again. The reality is that you can't afford and don't have time to get hurt or get sick. But you will. You absolutely will get sick or hurt if you don't take care of yourself. There's no cheating in health. You can't postpone it and say that you'll do it when you're kids are off to college or when you retire. The longer you go without taking care of yourself, the longer and more severe the consequence for neglect. It's a lot easier to get a few walks in a week than to be in the hospital and follow up with rehab after a heart attack. I don't mean to be extreme but the fact is that heart disease is the Number 1 killer of women in America. It's a pretty easy thing to fix. Eat well and exercise.


What you won't do for yourself, you will do for your family. So do it for your family. Eat well and exercise so that you can be a healthy role model for your kids. The fact is that they all take your lead. Aren't you the one cooking the meals? If you aren't eating well, neither will they. Your children should see that mom values her health and enjoys exercise. Maybe your husband will even be inspired by your increased energy. And they will all benefit from you being in a better mood, less stressed and less tired. So now, how to do it? How do we get you to make yourself a priority?



You need a plan. How many times have you said that you are going to start exercising only to be back in your old routine of skipping it just days later? The same obstacles that stood before you last time will stand before you again. You need to have a plan to overcome what held you back last time (and the time before, and the time before). Take a quiet moment and pull out your calendar / appointment book. I know you're going to tell me that you're busy from morning until night and can't fit another thing in.  True, but now you're going to change your priorities. Let's take a look at where things can change. Be honest with me, how much time do you spend watching tv? I love the shows as much as the next gal but the fact is that it's wasted time. Are you a morning person or an evening person? You're tired no matter what so would it really make a difference if you went to bed 45 minutes later or woke up 45 minutes earlier? The tiredness from the loss of sleep is far made up with the energy from exercise. I'm a morning person so I set my alarm clock one hour before the rest of my family wakes up. This is the only hour of the day that's just for me. What can you do in that hour? Go for a run, watch FitTV, do a workout video or get out for an early morning gym class. Did you know Netflix and blockbuster online offer fitness videos? That's a great way to keep your workout fresh.



Or, if you have stroller age children, set aside an hour to do a stroller walk or join a Stroller Strides class. It's a great way to get out with your baby and get in a workout. Whatever you do, find 4 days per week that you can schedule a workout. If it's not on your schedule like an appointment, it won't happen. You need to keep that appointment with yourself just like you would with any other on your calendar. Why do I say 4 days per week? 3 days of exercise is actually all you need to maintain health. 5 days is what you need if you want to lose weight. 4 days is a reasonable compromise. And, if for some reason you miss a day, you'll still be getting in enough to maintain health. If you are able to get in an extra day, then all the better.



It doesn't have to look like exercise. Yes, I do recommend that you get cardiovascular, strength and flexibility in to your workout one way or another. But you can get more active in lots of untraditional ways. My 5-year old's favorite game is tag. He and I play, non stop. As soon as one person is tagged, the other person is "it". We both collapse after half a dozen chase sessions gasping for air (and laughter). Next time you take your kids to the playground, don't just sit on the bench and watch. Join in. Dare try the monkey bars or just run around with them. If you have a baby, get on the floor and play with her. Use her as a weight as you lunge or squat with her in you arms. "Bench press" with her as the weight or put her on your legs as you do sit ups. Make your kids part of your workout and they will get the message that exercise can be fun. But it's not just about exercise, we need to eat well in order to support health and energy.



Tired of dieting? You should be. They don't work and they are a detriment to your health. Here are some key components to add healthy foods in to your diet. Sit down and create a master food shopping list. Ideally, make it on your computer so you don't have to re-create it each week. Make sure it is chock full of healthy fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Make a commitment to do this shopping each week so that your pantry and your refrigerator are packed with great choices. The worst thing you can do when you want to eat healthy is to have a bare kitchen. Then you feel deprived, hungry and desperate to find anything to eat. When you have lots of choices on hand, it makes it easier to make better choices. If possible, shop at local natural markets. Grocery stores like Whole Foods, Wild Oats and even Trader Joe's have far more for you to choose from. You will be buying less processed foods and you won't have to spend much time reading labels because you know that they buy quality products. Another tip: plan ahead. Plan what meals you are going to make each week so that it's not a spontaneous decision when you're desperate and hungry. Whenever possible, pre-prepare meals for the week and always freeze extra servings so you have healthful meals to grab. Serve a fruit and vegetable serving at every meal. Too often we eat our veggies only at dinner. You can get spinach in to eggs, tomato and lettuce on a sandwich, avocado in a quesadilla, etc.  Kids don't like veggies? Hide them. I keep a bag of chopped frozen kale in my freezer. When I make smoothies for my kids, I throw a handful in the blender. They don't taste it or know about it, but they get vitamins and nutrients from one of the healthiest of vegetables.



So now, I've got you eating a little better and exercising regularly. But that's not total health.  You need to rejuvenate and refresh your body and mind for total balance. Set aside a regular time each day for just 2 minutes to be quiet. Yes, just 120 seconds is all I am asking for. I love rituals and think that you should have a special pillow, candle and / or token that sets the stage for relaxation. When I ask moms to meditate, they respond by saying that they don't know how and don't have the time. So, all I ask for is that you sit for 2 minutes and be still. Focus on three words. Peace, health and harmony. When your mind wanders (and it will), just kindly and gently bring it back. You will be amazed at what a difference this little break from your day will make. Even if your kids are screaming in the background, learn how to find a little peace from within. By the way, this is meditating but we're just not calling it that.



We are part of a generation that finds it important to fill every moment with busyness and things to do. I am hoping that you will inspire the next generation to slow down and appreciate the health that we have. It is my hope that you reach Optimom health. It all starts with you, so please, make mommy come first. 



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It's May, about 5 months after New Year's. Did you make a New Year's Resolution to lose weight or to get in shape? How many years have you set the same resolution only to have given it up by February? You're certainly not alone. We all have good intentions but life seems to get in the way.  Following are 8 tips to get you started on the path to exercise. 





1. Goal Setting. What does it mean when you say you want to exercise or lose weight?  People don't set specific or powerful enough goals for themselves, and very often those goals that are set are unrealistic.   Set S.M.A.R.T. (SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC AND TIMELY) goals to set you up for success.






2. Fit It In To Your Lifestyle- Most people tend to do too much, too hard, too fast. This year, find activities that will easily fit in to your lifestyle. If you have babies, consider a stroller based workout. If you don't have time to go to a gym, then try exercise tapes or just walk right in front of your house. You have to make it non-negotiable, just like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, etc. In fact, book exercise on your calendar just as you would any other appointment.






3. Find Things You Enjoy - Hate the gym? Then don't go. There are a million ways to get fit. Find activities that you enjoy. Any of the following are examples: Yoga, Walking, Running, Tennis, Basketball, Racquetball, Bike Riding, Swimming, Spinning. The list goes on and on. Do what you enjoy and you'll stick with it.






4. Reward Yourself - It is human nature to strive to achieve things when there's a reward at the end. Set up some positive reinforcers for yourself such as a massage, a new outfit or even just a day to relax. Set a goal and set a reward that you will be excited to receive. Here's an idea. Pay yourself every time you workout. At the end of the month, use that money to treat yourself to something.






5. Sign up for an event - If you are a walker, biker, runner or swimmer, there are tons of events from 5k's to marathons that you can sign up for. If you sign up for an event, it helps keep you on track with your training because you know what you have to achieve and by when.






6. Get A Workout Pal - It is so easy to skip workouts when you only have yourself to hold accountable. People with workout partners are far more likely to stick to their routine. If you know that someone is depending on you, it's tough to make excuses.






7. Get Your Family Involved - Create an active family. Instead of going to the mall on weekends, go for a family hike, bike ride or swim at the local pool. It will add a new element of fun for your family and will encourage you and your family to live a more active lifestyle.






8. Stay Motivated. Set The Mood.  You're more likely to stick with an exercise routine if it inspires you. That means different things to different people. For instance consider buying new exercise clothes or an mp3 player so that you have motivating music to pump you up. If you get revved up every time you hear the theme song to Rocky, then by all means start your day with it!












1,132 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: fitness, workout, resolution, stroller_strides, motivated