I am pushing 40. Strangely, every year I think I am healthier than the year before. I don’t really notice this, though, until I take the time to look back.
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It’s Been A Long Road.
My heaviest years were after I moved in with my (then) not-quite-husband and stopped walking back and forth to work. Then we got married and decided to have children. That’s not so great for the waistline either. It wasn’t until after I had Rose that I started really thinking about “getting healthy”.
Having babies and small children was very taxing for me. My anxiety was high, my nights were rarely for sleeping, and I always felt like there was no time to be “me” anymore. By the time Emma was 4 or 5 she finally got into an easier-for-me bedtime routine.
Once I got back to sleeping better life started seeming better. I was done with babies by that time – Rose would have been 2 when Emma was 5 – and we were NOT having any more.
Related: It’s Okay Not To Love The Baby Stage
I Made Small Steps Toward Getting Healthy
Rose was a brilliant baby. She slept just fine, self-soothed, and only nursed when actually hungry. (Emma nursed non-stop and if she wasn’t nursing she was crying. That was not fun.) When Rose was approaching one year old I somehow had a shift in my eating habits. I suddenly realized that putting less food on my plate would mean I would likely eat less food. I know, it sounds silly, but it’s very true.
Using smaller plates for dinner, and getting up to get more, means I ate less food. If I wanted more, I would go get it, but it makes you slow down a bit – and often think twice about why you’re getting more food. I realized I eat more than I need because it tastes really good – but it’ll still taste good tomorrow as my lunch.
It Helps To Get Active
The other change I made after having babies was my method of getting to work. Before kids we would carpool, or I’d take the bus one (or both) ways. Occasionally I’d even walk home – though that would be about 45 minutes of brisk walking. After kids I had to collect them from day care (and now after school care or dance class) so I needed a car downtown with me. For the last 5 years or so I’ve been parking at a city lot 5 blocks from where I work. That’s a forced walk twice a day. And it’s so great!
Throwing an extra 15 or 20 minutes of walking into every work day does burn some calories. Twice a week I also take a walk on my 30 minute lunch break. It’s a great escape from the store, and I slip on my headphones and lose myself in my music, which doesn’t hurt either. Though it may hurt others when they walk past me singing out loud to my music!
Getting an app, or a a smartwatch, to track your distance or your steps is a huge motivator. And it gives you reminders to get up and move after you’ve been sitting for a while. You can also use them to control the music on your phone so you’re not having to hold your phone while you’re out on that lunch walk!
My kids have been dancing at Kingston School of Dance since 2012, and I finally took the plunge and started dancing myself in 2015. The adult ballet class, while mega challenging, is so much fun! I am sad when I have to miss class occasionally, due to Patrick working, or sick kids. I love the community created by classes like this – when I don’t come people are concerned. It’s my “me time” every week and I am surprised how much I love doing it!
Making Conscious Decisions
When people ask me how I lost weight, or what steps I took to getting healthy, I always have to think about it. There was no one magic thing I did to help me out. It was a lot of small, conscious decisions that I made with an end goal in mind. Eating less food, being more active, and drinking water instead of sugary drinks was all I did. But I did them in a way that made sense for me.
If you are working on getting healthy, choose 2 or 3 small changes you can make in your life, and then do them! If you have to phase them in one at a time, that’s okay. My goal was always health and never weight loss. I believe that is why I was successful. When you start to see the little changes in yourself that are happening because of that one conscious decision you made, it’ll transform you, and enable you to add another change – and reach for better results.
Have you had success getting healthy in your busy life? I’d love to hear about it! Nothing is too small, or inconsequential, to share. Let’s lift each other up and celebrate the small changes!