Being healthy is one of the very best things we can be as humans, and of course, as parents. Our kiddos learn SO MUCH from us, including how to be healthy. We teach them to eat, to move, to bathe, to brush their teeth, among a million other things. So, because I have been through multiple common health-related experiences in my life, I decided to share my thoughts on how to finally find our healthy selves in a realistic way.
As you can see, the photo I chose for this blog post is one of me eating a big ass burger. It just screams “healthy”, right? Okay, so maybe not. But that brings me to my first point. EAT FOOD YOU LOVE. I have spent way too many precious moments of my life passing on food treats, obsessively counting calories and even getting in an extra workout after a splurge meal so that I could burn it off. Sure, we’ve gotta keep ourselves in check so that we don’t get out of hand. But screw depriving ourselves! Are you seriously happy that you didn’t even eat a piece of your kid’s birthday cake? No. No, you’re not. EAT CAKE. And while we’re talking about food, something I’ve learned over the years is that if you focus on eating as much real food as possible, your body will thank you for it. So, maybe you shouldn’t continue your nightly cheese cracker habit since it’s probably rather processed and full of extra sodium. But there’s no harm at all in some good ol’ natural popcorn. Over the past 4 years of losing baby weight and learning about nutrition and exercise, I have discovered that there are many real and healthy foods that I truly love (almonds, cheese, avocado, edamame, peanut butter, turkey meat, brown rice, to name a few). So I just fill my days with as many enjoyable healthy foods as possible. But trust that I certainly have some pizza and burritos worked in there too (duh). Oh, and drink water. Stop drinking soda all the time. Drinking a crapload of water every day does amazing things for your body. I promise.
Next, you’ve gotta exercise. If you happen to be a landscaper and spend your days moving your body and using your muscles, then you get a pass. But most of us don’t have jobs in which we get good physical exercise regularly. And, let’s face it. It’s 2016. We don’t walk to town, hand pick crops from the field or spend all day taking care of the livestock. And for those of you that actually do do those things still, that’s super cool. But most of us don’t. So exercise has got to happen. Do you want to be weaker than your 5-year-old, slower than your 2-year-old or unable to play in the yard with your kids for 20 minutes? Of course you don’t. Nobody said you’ve gotta be a body builder. Just figure out a way to move. I was focused way too much on burning calories by running for many months that I didn’t realize how weak the rest of my body was. I’m 35 and can finally do a few push-ups for the first time ever. I just practiced a few times a week in the living room. It wasn’t that hard, really. So, buy a piece of exercise equipment or go for walks, do some squats and push-ups and PLAY with your kiddos. Bam. Exercise: done.
Finally, you’ve gotta treat yourself well mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If that means going to church, getting regular manicures and reading romance novels, then great. Or it might mean listening to your favorite music while you cook, having a little quiet time with coffee every morning and going to dance class. Whatever feeds your soul and keeps your brain and emotions balanced, do it. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Just do a few things each week that are all about YOU. (Wine is always a good idea, I my opinion.) I have a history of anxiety issues, so trust me when I say that a panic attack is no joke. And it can happen to anyone. So remember to prioritize your mind and soul, in addition to your body, to keep yourself happy and balanced.
Look, I know how it is. You don’t have a personal trainer or a chef. Your schedule may not allow time to go to a gym multiple times per week. You might be super freaking tired for weeks at a time because your toddler keeps waking up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Parenting can consume your life. And in some ways, it should. I mean, there’s a reason we all decided to be parents, right? These kiddos are amazing little creatures that we are supposed to take care of and enjoy. But we also HAVE TO take care of ourselves. DO eat real food, exercise, smile, laugh, breath and be happy. DON’T obsess over diets, neglect your personal interests or put yourself down. I say that as long as we’re healthy we should eat cake and drink wine. After all, our kids like happy, healthy parents that might have a little extra cushion on their booty much better than grumpy, hungry, exhausted and stressed out parents.
Live life, y’all.
I am not a healthcare professional. These are my personal opinions.