We all want to be healthy. We want to feel good, and have the energy we need to keep up with busy kids and be engaged moms.
Many of us load up on coffee and throw down a few bites of toast before sprinting into the day, then wonder why we're so tired. And grouchy. And the worst mom on the planet.
How do we balance it all and make this healthy lifestyle thing actually work? Well, I'm still trying to figure that out myself, but here are a few incredibly helpful things I've learned…
1. DO IT AS A FAMILY
Almost three months ago we got a family pass to the Roseburg YMCA. My husband works for Roseburg Forest Products, so we got our first month free. It was a great opportunity to try it out and see if we would actually go. And you know what? We liked it! And we really went to the gym, together! It's something we've been able to stick to and encourage one another in. I don't feel guilty spending two hours working out because my hubby and kids are there with me.
2. TRACK WHAT YOU TAKE IN
There are several ways to do this, but one website we've used is SparkPeople.com. They have a helpful phone app as well. After entering your personal information such as weight and age, and how much weight you'd like to lose, SparkPeople tells you what to consume each day and what to burn. Their phone app allows you to scan bar codes for easy food logging. I was surprised to see how many calories I was consuming when I started using this app. They also have great recipes and accountability.
3. TRACK WHAT YOU BURN
This can be difficult unless you invest in a tracking device (Doesn't that sound all 007?). I purchased the Polar FT4 on Amazon for under $65, and this has been one of my best purchases. It comes with a strap you wear around your chest which measures your heart rate. You enter your personal information into the wristwatch and watch it do magic. While working out I know if my heart rate is too high or too low. I know exactly how many calories I'm burning, and I'm learning what workouts are better than others. I was shocked to find that strength training and the weight room aren't just for building muscles, but also burns tons of calories. And yard work? I'm far more motivated to mow the lawn now!
4. BE ACCOUNTABLE TO OTHERS
As I said, my family is going to the gym together, which has been great accountability. Recently my husband and I joined a Biggest Loser group on Facebook. Each participant paid $20 to compete and the Biggest Loser wins the pot. This week my husband crept up to 1st place with over 10-percent weight loss so far. There are five more weeks in this competition and the winner will receive $650. If that isn't great motivation, I don't know what is. As a group we share encouragement throughout the week and have a Pinterest Board full of recipes and fitness inspiration.
5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH MOTIVATED AND LIKEMINDED PEOPLE
I go to church each week to be encouraged by and learn from other Christian people. They inspire, teach, strengthen, and motivate me to devote myself more to Christ and His word. For similar reasons, I've started following fitness women on Instagram and Facebook as well. What you surround yourself with and fill your mind with greatly impacts your way of thinking. Now when I scroll through Instagram and see Clarepeak313's newest workout video or Livylovestorun's latest fitness challenge, I'm motivated to get moving.
6. KEEP IT FUN
Workouts aren't limited to the gym. Use this summer weather to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Last weekend while camping we took the opportunity to hike down into Crater Lake. A few of us even jumped in. We will be there again in a few weeks and hope to climb Mount Thielsen, which has an elevation of 9,000 feet.
7. KEEP A HEALTHY PERSPECTIVE
Remember, God gave us these bodies to be used for His purposes and glory, not our own. Fitness and food can easily consume and become a god itself. Keep it fun. Check yourself often and ask, how much do I think about exercise and nutrition? Is it taking over my life? Can you honestly say, ‘I don't live to workout, I workout to live?’
What fitness tips and motivation can you pass on to other Douglas County moms?