Once I became a mom, I realized staying fit was an entirely new beast.
Before motherhood, I really just needed to find the motivation to eat healthy and work out. Looking back, I had no idea I was on easy mode.
Motherhood is hard mode. It starts with having to lose pregnancy weight while learning to care for a newborn. And trust me, I had a lot to lose, I gained over 50 lbs each time, but eventually lost it.
Now, not only did I need the motivation but also the time and energy. I still can’t believe how exhausting motherhood is. I still am not sure if I will ever recover from the sleep deprivation of motherhood, but I do know that I need to prioritize self-care and find ways to stay fit.
So how do moms stay fit? What are their best weight loss tips? Here are the best ones I have heard.
Overhaul the snacks in your house
One of the worst habits I have picked up after having kids is snacking. Kids love to snack. I swear no matter where we go, all they want to do is have a snack. Since they are always snacking, I seem to have picked up the habit and snack with them.
Snacking means I am never hungry for real meals, which is problematic since snacks are not as healthy as real meals. Snack foods are also usually void of nutrients. They are essentially empty calories.
So, I overhauled our pantry and fridge to always have more nutrient dense snacks such as nuts, hard boiled eggs, yogurt and berries, crackers and cheese, peanut butter and apple, etc.
Add one new fruit or vegetable to the grocery lists
This is such a simple and easy way to increase healthy eating. Every week get a new fruit or vegetable that you will incorporate into a meal. In addition to eating more fruits and vegetables, you will start to increase the variety and learn how to cook more of them. Before doing this, I didn’t know how to cook kale, kohlrabi or turnips.
Another awesome way to amp up the fruits and vegetables is to join a farm share. Not only will you be forced to cook and eat vegetables every week, but also your kids will love it. Most farms have a pick your own section so they can learn all about farms and being in nature.
Keep your sugar in check
Once I became a mom, I didn’t have time to watch calories. I mean there are days where my lunch is finishing my toddler’s leftovers. One easy thing that I can keep track of is added sugar (not fruit). It is easy to check because you can just read the nutrition label and see how many grams of sugar. You don’t have to read the list of ingredients.
You are only supposed to have a max of 30 grams of added sugar, which is one Clif Bar. Doing this really helped me make better choices and I was shocked at how much sugar was in my diet. My cereal had as much added sugar as cookies. I was essentially eating cookies for breakfast.
And sugar is a huge culprit to weight gain since it is empty calories. Even just subbing out added sugar (like a granola bar) with fruit makes a huge difference.
Always double up
Time is so precious especially once you have none to spare. I still can’t believe how much moms do every day. One thing that has really helped me is to always double up tasks. You can do this for both working out and meals.
Double up workouts
I need to be multi-tasking if I fit the gym or exercise of any type into my life. One way I double up on the gym is I make it social. I always workout with a friend. Therefore, I got my social time in along with my workout.
I know a lot of moms do a girl’s night out but instead try a Zumba class together. I was surprised at how much more fun it was to do something active. We will also try to meet up and go on power walks. We get our workout in and also were able to talk to each other without being interrupted by kids every two seconds.
For me, being social and working out have become musts. I go a little insane without them so I am more likely to have time for both if I double up.
Double up meals
First, I never appreciated how much time and energy went into planning, prepping and cooking meals. Now if I ever cook or make something, I make a lot so that it is more than one meal. I sometimes just make extras of one part such as if I am hard boiling eggs, I make enough for snacks or if I cook chicken, I make enough for chicken salad the next day. This saves me time in the week and ensures we have healthy leftovers.
One of the best ways to meal prep in bulk is to do Freezer Meal Prep. This means I shop in bulk and then make meals in bulk. On a Saturday afternoon, I chop, measure and spice all of the meals for the week. Sometimes I do this with a friend. I store them in the freezer in freezer bags. That day, I can just take one out and cook it.
There is a learning curve. I got a really easy to follow book. The best part of Freezer Meal Planning and Prep is that we eat healthy. There are so many days that I am just way too done to make dinner or we get home way too late to start anything real. Having that easy healthy meal ready to go also has cut back on fast food, which save calories and money. I can just empty a freezer bag into a crockpot and have a healthy meal that if I had to start from scratch that night would have taken me so much more time.
Always bake never buy
If I really wanted a specific sweet or dessert, then I make it. If I wasn’t willing to make it, then I must not REALLY want it. The other reason to do this was I started realizing what was in sweets or desserts. I had a hard time eating handfuls of cookies knowing I was really just eating a stick of butter coated with sugar.
Also, a lot of times I don’t have time so it is on my to-do list but I often don’t actually make them. I either forget about them, I don’t want them later when I can make them or I am just not willing to put in the effort to make them. Whatever the reason, this rule has resulted in me eating so much less sweets.
And, desserts tasted SO MUCH better when I made them that I didn’t want store bought anymore. Also, my kids had a blast helping out in the kitchen making cookies or other deserts. We also now make our own jelly, bread, yogurt and ice cream.
Go to bed early, get up early
Now before kids, I loved to sleep in and go to bed late. I’ve had to flip that. Not only does the day go better if I am up before the kids but also, I am less tired if I go to bed early. I guess there is also some science behind why going to bed early matters.
Basically, you have two types of sleep, REM and non-REM. Both are important and both have health benefits. You sleep in 90 minute cycles. So, 90 minute REM cycles and 90 minute non-REM cycles.
However, as the night progresses, you have more REM cycles and fewer non-REM cycles. And this is true regardless of when you went to bed. So, if you stay up late, you are missing out on non-REM cycles, which are deeper and more restorative.
I think everyone knows that being sleep deprived (a fact of motherhood) contributes to weight gain so try your hardest to get sleep where you can.
Pursue yourself Today
I never really realized the toll motherhood could take on self-care until I had my first child. I also had no idea how to start prioritizing myself again while still being mom. It is such a balance.
One thing that mattered to me is I wanted to look and feel like myself again, which meant staying in shape. These tips have allowed me to get and stay fit. Start by just picking a few and see if they also help you.
I would love to know what tricks you have to staying fit with kids and a busy life, let me know in the comments.
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