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.
Related: How I Lost 50 Pounds Without Too Much Effort
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!
Related: I’m Taking Ballet Lessons And Loving It! and My Ballet Experience After More Than A Year
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!
Such wonderful advice! I am feeling quite out of shape and frumpy lately. I stay at home and being in the house all winter I tend to eat a lot out of boredom. Every day I swear I’ll eat less… but then I don’t really follow that. This week I decided to start a food journal. The last few times I really lost weight and kept it off for years at a time I was just writing down what I was eating (not counting calories or anything just writing down the foods) and logging exercises. #FamilyFunLinky
Winter sucks for over-eating and moving less. I did a food journal for a while and it really showed me what I was doing, and where I could maybe cut back. It also sucks though because the stuff I really love is totally full of calories (and not much else!) Good luck to you Joanne!
Brilliant advice and totally simple. Completely the right approach. I’m craving good exercise at the moment. It’s so difficult to fit in with my 2 year old and 3 month old… I have a goal that at 6 months old if I’ve not started to find time I’m going to start walking or getting out running alone again. It’ll be nicer weather and longer days so will be nicer! Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky
It is a lot easier to get out for exercise when the weather is nicer, isn’t it? I’ve been getting my exercise this winter by shoveling snow. We have had a ton! I hope you succeed in getting out and fitting in some more exercise!
Fab advice Jess! I’m trying to make more of a conscious effort to be fit and healthy this year. I agree with taking small steps. I think if you expect too much too soon, then you just set yourself up for a fall.
Thanks for sharing with #MMBC. Hope to see you Monday x
Thanks Jayne! I hope you have success in your journey to better health. I really think that a few small changes is the best way – and it can happen gradually. Good luck to you!
Great advice. One other thing sticks in my mind that I heard Alan Sugar say. He ate with a small fork because it took longer, which meant you digested your food and had the time to realise when you were full. If you shovel it down you go so fast that your stomach doesn’t have the time to tell the brain you are full. Something I live by now. #FamilyFun
Slowing down can definitely help you be more mindful when you’re eating. Same with not multitasking during mealtime. This is a great tip – thanks for sharing Mel!
I used to eat a lot healthier before kids. It’s so hard when you have little ones. Your journey is inspiring 💖👏
It sure can be hard with little people around. I find they suck your spirit sometimes, so creating healthy delicious meals is the last thing you want to do at the end of the day. Frozen veggies and chicken nuggets become a mom’s best friend after a long day. But it’s still possible to eat healthier, or at least put less food on your plate and think twice when you’re going back for more. I hope you find your way back to your healthier eating Alaina!