They are everywhere: moms that run, moms that strength train, moms that say no to artificial ingredients, and moms that say yes to health. It’s a trend that seems to be gaining national attention, with popular hashtag #fitmom bolstering over 4 million posts on Instagram to date, moms are setting out to maintain and inspire healthy lifestyles for not only their children, but for other moms too, documenting every sweaty selfie and spinach salad along the way. Find out what habits are created and maintained daily by fit and healthy moms to build a consistent lifestyle for themselves and their families, and not just a temporary change.
Ready to Get Fit 2015? Throughout the next few months well be posting regularly about fitness and nutrition. All of us here at Daily Mom will be right alongside you, taking steps to be healthier and offering each other encouragement. Be sure you keep up with our initiative for some great tips, recipes, ideas, activewear fashion, family fun activities, and inspiration on getting fit and being healthy. And rememberthis is Daily Mom so we understand the responsibilities that come with having children and families as top priorities. We are here to help each other incorporate fitness and healthy choices into our everyday life.
1. Create a Routine
Those who have created a fit lifestyle know the real secret begins with creating a structured schedule for themselves, and their family. Creating a daily and weekly routine ensures that each day’s priorities are accomplished – like a work out – even if your adventure-seeking toddler tries to throw a wrench in from left field. Children and adults alike thrive on consistency; just ask any teacher and they will tell you, having a routine in place where children know what they are expected to do prevents a great deal of misbehavior. Knowing day-to-day what is expected is motivation to get up and get moving, making you more likely to be productive than waking up each day and winging it, hoping that your children are game for winging it too. We all know how that will end… most likely in tears on the floor.
2. Make Exercise a Priority
Fit and healthy moms make no excuses when it comes to exercise. Whether it’s hitting the gym or simply incorporating fun fitness-focused activities with their children, exercise is made a daily priority because of its health benefits and overall calming effects on the body and mind, rather than simply the physical effects of outward appearance. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise has the capability to boost your mood within five minutes of activity, and is also linked to studies that show that exercising releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that is linked to influencing moods and decreasing depression and anxiety. Moms who have made exercise a daily priority will often say that their workout is their therapy, or even meditation, and missing a few days of exercise in a row has a major effect on their mood, making them irritable and more stressed than usual. Happy mom, happy family, right?
3. Meal Plan
Those who make fitness a priority also know that nourishing their bodies with the right foods is the right way to maintain optimum health. By eating out less (say good bye to high calorie, high sodium, high fat foods!) and creating their own nutritious meals at home, the health-conscious want to know that they are fueling their family’s bodies with vitamin-rich, whole foods. Meal planning ensures that not only a budget is created and maintained, but that also the day’s nutritional goals are met with the proper servings of vegetables, fruit, grains, protein, and dairy. Reading nutrition labels while you shop and learning to cook (even the simplest of clean eating recipes) are two tips that are sure to keep your meal planning healthy and consistent.
4. Sit Down Nightly for Family Dinners
After a long day of work or shuffling kids to and from activities, it’s really easy to throw dinner onto a plate, turn on the television, and watch everyone tune in… and tune out. However, an article published by Harvard Medical School says that eating a meal while distracted, specifically while watching television, causes a person to eat more, even eating past the point at which you are full. Adults and children who eat in front of the television are also more likely to be overweight, often choosing unhealthy snack foods rather than a nutritious meal. Not only does eating dinner around the television lead to unhealthy eating habits, it also detracts from the time that can be spent building and maintaining a healthy relationship as a family unit. Sitting down at the dinner table allows for open conversation, and studies show that families that sit down frequently to eat have less stress and tension in the home.
5. Sleep Well
This is a hard habit for new moms, moms of infants, and even young children as we all know how precious sleep can be, but those who make fitness and health a lifestyle understand that their body doesn’t run at its best unless it’s fully rested. Loss of sleep can result in poor eating habits, weight gain, fatigue throughout the day, and increased stress, among many other side effects. Getting approximately six to eight hours of sleep per night should be enough to fuel your body and brain for the day ahead. Try going to bed earlier or scheduling in mini-naps during your child’s nap time for a quick pick me up.
6. Wake Up Early
When on a scheduled routine, it’s important to start the day off right by saying no to procrastination. The morning offers the perfect time to fit in a workout or run prior to starting the day or waking the children, or simply use the extra time to plan out the day’s events, work on personal goals, and enjoy your coffee in silence. Fit moms know that morning work outs are often the best, offering the most energy and little distraction. They also understand the importance in simply starting the day off on the right foot and feeling good. While hitting snooze is tempting, being in a rush the rest of the day and worrying about fitting in a work out can be even more exhausting.
7. Eat Breakfast
You’ve likely heard it before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast within thirty minutes of waking up jump starts your metabolism for the rest of the day and is more likely to keep you satiated throughout the morning, instead of binge eating whatever is in reach when hunger strikes. Those who maintain a healthy lifestyle understand the importance of eating a healthy breakfast, often opting for protein and heart-healthy grains. Don’t forget to hydrate and wash down your breakfast with a cold glass of water after a long night of fasting.
8. Read Often, Keep Learning
Those who lead a healthy lifestyle are always learning new ways to enrich their lives. Whether it’s researching the latest diet trend (should we all be eating gluten free?), the newest trends in running gear, a daily newspaper, or even an inspirational non-fiction find from the local library, when health is a priority in your life, one wants to learn more about it. Keeping up-to-date on the latest research and current events helps you to understand what you should and shouldn’t be doing in your day to day activities, and what you should or shouldn’t be putting in your mouth or on your child’s plate. Be sure to look up reputable sources when researching topics of interest and always seek second opinions.
9. Meditate, Pray, Think Positively
Going hand-in-hand with waking up early, most moms know the importance of having peace, even if it’s only for five to ten minutes a day, but those who take health into account daily, act on it. Whether it’s simply sitting in silence with your thoughts, reading a good book, praying, meditating, or reciting a few positive thoughts aloud about the day ahead of you, give a moment for yourself to simply be. Take a moment to let go of stress, worry, anxiety, or anything else running through your mind and just enjoy the moment. We all know that once the children are awake, chaos ensues, even if that chaos is produced by our favorite little people.
10. Be Prepared
Being prepared is important when it comes to maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle. Preparing for each day’s tasks are often done the day before. For example, exercise clothing, running shoes, and any accessories needed (headphones, arm band, GPS watch, yoga mat) are laid out the night before in preparation for an early morning run (if everything is set to go, you’re more likely to get up and do it!). Or, reusable water bottles have all been cleaned, filled, and refrigerated in preparation for the day ahead. Preparing for healthy snacks at home, on the go, and for school lunches is also important when maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If your schedule has you and your child out of the house for a while that day, preparing for food on the go is important so that take out is less enticing. Preparing snacks in portable containers prior to leaving the house makes for an easy grab and healthy fill while out and about. Being prepared saves time, which in the end, allows for more opportunity to get things done, or more time spent enjoying your family.
Photo Credits: Stephanie