How to Become a Fit Mom for Life

Oh, hi! My name’s Kim and I have a blog called Healthy Nest, where I yammer about running, eating, motherhood, happiness, and a little yoga.

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One thing I’m particularly passionate about is being an active, healthy mom. Before I had my son (who’s now a year old), I had a kind of identity crisis—in anticipation of the identity crisis I feared came along with motherhood.

I was paranoid that I’d “let myself go” once I became a mom—not just of my old body, but of my old self. I worried that motherhood would consume me, and that, like so many other moms before me, I’d start deprioritizing myself and my needs to the point where I’d lose sight of myself for  good.

So far, I think I’ve been pretty successful in carving out a new place for my old goals, within the monumental role of motherhood. Now, I’m on a mission to keep it that way, and maybe even to inspire another mom or two out there who’s on the same journey.

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Do I have it all figured out? No way.

Am I scared that I’ll hit roadblocks in the future that will derail me, or that I’ll struggle when my son is older or I (God-willing) have more than one kid? Definitely. But I’m doing the best I can today and hoping that all the practice I put in now will put me in a good position to tackle those future challenges.

When FitKit asked me to write about tips for staying active in a busy world, I immediately thought about moms. Along with motherhood comes a new meaning of the word busy—it means being constantly needed by someone or something, usually in a completely irregular, unpredictable, drop-everything kind of way.

How on earth do you find a way to squeeze a routinized healthy lifestyle into that? (Really, anything involving the word “routine” is kind of laughable.)

So I thought about it. And thought about it. And I finally came up with these 10 steps for launching the journey toward becoming a fit mom.

  1. Want it. Not just enough to feel bad about yourself, or to feel bad for yourself, but enough to do something about it.
  2. Gather lots of motivation. Of course, you want to look and feel good. Maybe you want to lose pregnancy weight or fit into a pair of tight jeans. But keep an eye on the bigger picture, too: you want to be happy, set a positive example for your kids, have enough energy to keep up with your kids, maximize your quality of life, and make things easier on your kids later by taking good care of yourself as you age.
  3. Ditch the comparisons. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison vortex. Other moms have it easier because they don’t work outside of the home, or because they do work outside of the home. Non-moms have it easier. Anyone who’s not you has is easier. You know these aren’t productive thoughts, and you’re the only one who can banish them from your brain. Step 3 is all about owning your situation, whatever it is or isn’t.
  4. Stop blaming the clock. You have enough time for everything in life that you prioritize. If you feel like you don’t have enough time to pursue a healthy lifestyle, think about how you can reprioritize to make room for it.
  5. Surround yourself with positive influences. You are a product of your environment, and especially of the people in it. Align yourself with positive, motivated people with similar goals, and put space between you and the negative influencers. One of the easiest ways to find this community, especially for stay-at-home moms like me, is to follow healthy living blogs written by other moms. (Yes, I happen to be one of those mom bloggers, but I swear I’m not trying to promote myself—following blogs is just the thing that has helped me the most, by far.)
  6. Plan, plan, plan. What days and times are available for you to work out? Naptime, before the kids wake up, after they go to bed? Build a routine so that it becomes increasingly habitual. At the same time, be flexible and forgiving with yourself, so that the inevitable missed workout won’t totally derail you. No big deal—just pick it up tomorrow.3
  7. Repeat after me: “I will not feel guilty.” This is not a selfish thing. It’s a priority for your health and sanity. Get your spouse on board. Talk to your kids about it. And, most importantly, talk to yourself about it.
  8. Join something. A gym, a challenge, an online group, a program, a 5K—anything to help boost your motivation and keep you accountable. Extra credit if you can get a friend to do it with you.
  9. Merge fitness into daily life, one habit at a time. Power-walk when you’re pushing the stroller and end each walk with 10 lunges. Do 20 squats every time you’re standing by the stove, stirring something. Mark up some water bottles to monitor your H2O intake (like this). Try something different every week—maybe you can turn a handful of them into lifelong habits.
  10. Keep learning. Of course, to be truly successful, you need to know what you’re doing. There’s no need to sweat the details in the beginning, but over time, you’ll want to fine tune your approach to fitness to make sure you’re getting the most out of it that you can. There are a kajillion resources out there, and your job is to not stress yourself out trying to read all of them, but just to poke around and absorb information regularly, a little at a time.

You probably noticed that you can get through almost all of these steps without moving a muscle of your body. The reason I chose this list is that I think most of the things preventing us all from achieving healthy lifestyles are things going on in our heads.

Most of us moms know that we have to take care of ourselves to take care of our kids. That a happy, healthy mom leads to a happy, healthy family. But taking that mindset and translating it into a lifestyle is not an easy thing. I get it.

Whatever you do, know that you have support. If you don’t see it today, I can guarantee that, at the very least, your future self and children are rooting for you!

Take care,

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