Between taking care of kids, managing a household, and doing everything else, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can sometimes seem impossible. But I have good news for you, it doesn’t have to be.
Today, I’m sharing some personal insights I’ve learned after having three kids that have helped me live a happier and healthy life. Yes, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle after you have kids!
- Why maintaining a healthy lifestyle important
- What factors contribute to a healthy lifestyle?
- Best fitness routines for busy moms
- Exercise ideas for hectic days
- Why sleep is important
- How moms can practice a healthier sleep routine
- How to add healthier foods into your diet
- How being positive affects your entire lifestyle
- How to destress so you can live healthier
- Last tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle
I have three amazing kids that we even homeschooled for several years, and I run my own business. Life never seems to slow down around here, but taking time to ensure I’m managing my own life in a way that is positive and good for my health is a must. Even on the busiest of days.
Why maintaining a healthy lifestyle important
Keeping your health in check with eating right, regular exercise, and getting enough rest promises a quality of life to be enjoyed both now and later in life.
However, we all know that when it comes to being a mom keeping up with all of these is downright challenging.
Why maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital for moms
When you become a mom, it can be tempting to look at self-care from everyone else’s perspective.
- I should take care of myself for my kids
- I should eat better for my family.
- I should lose the baby weight.
- I should, I should, I should.
But the reality is that self-care starts with S E L F = YOU.
It begins with you committing to doing whatever it takes to take care of yourself because YOU are worth it.
Our kids and our families are important and we’ll do anything to take care of them and make sure they are living happy and healthy lives too, but ultimately, we must take care of ourselves.
You are WORTH fighting for.
You DESERVE to feel your best.
You CAN live the life you’ve dreamed of.
That’s right, you deserve to be at the #1 spot in your life.
What factors contribute to a healthy lifestyle?
Exercise, sleep, proper nutrition, and a positive outlook are the winning contributions to a healthy lifestyle, but making sure you cover all the bases is easier said than done. Knowing how to make each of these a part of your daily life will help you to make it less of an effort and more of a way of life. Below I’ve shared my best tips and wisdom 12+ years of parenting has taught me.
Best fitness routines for busy moms
For moms squeezing in a sweat session can seem impossible, but don’t let the time crunch discourage you. Exercise is so important and not just for the waistline. It releases endorphins which help to reduce stress, boosts mental clarity, and productivity. I don’t know about you but I could definitely use a little more stress reduction.
Exercise should be energizing, make you feel good, and keep your body healthy. If you want to stick to a routine choose something you like doing and you can stay consistent with. You can read more about choosing the right exercise routine for you here.
Depending on your circumstances, you may have very little free time to workout or your level of fitness disappeared 2 kids ago. I get you but there are other ways of finding the right routine for you.
If you’re short on time or constantly running on little sleep, you might want to think again about that 30-day body boot camp with its 45-minute sweat fest 6 days a week.
Not that I don’t want you to get a good workout in, but consistency matters. Choose something that you know you can maintain as part of your lifestyle and work your way up to that boot camp when the kids all start sleeping through the night.
For now, a 20 minute HIIT can pack a powerful sweat session. Couple that with walking the dog a few times per day your well on your way to creating a fitness regimen that easily fits into your daily routines.
Maybe, the very idea of loading everyone up and going to a gym stresses you out. If so, sign up for a home workout tutorial or use some free exercise videos on Youtube.
These can be super effective and it’s a total judgment-free zone. Several programs offer different workouts at any intensity level, so whether you are a beginner or advanced, yogi or kickboxer, there’s something for you.
Related: Read about how I started running at 40 here!
Exercise ideas for hectic days
On days when you’re pressed for time, workouts like HIIT and AMRAP are two great options. But be prepared to sweat!
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is composed of short, intense bursts of activity with even shorter rest breaks. This type of training burns more calories in less time than steady state cardio (i.e. walking or jogging).
There are several work-to-rest ratios of HIIT like Tabata which is 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds or a 1:1 ratio which is 1 minute of 1 work and 1 minute of rest for 8 rounds. For more information about HIIT and workout ideas go here.
Stands for As Many Rounds as Possible. It’s very similar to HIIT in intensity. To create an AMRAP, you’ll select a few exercises such as push-ups, jump squats, jumping jacks.
A sample circuit with a fixed number of reps per exercise can look like this:
-10 push ups
-10 jump squats
-20 jumping jacks
Then, you set a fixed amount of time, 10, 15 or 20 minutes and perform as many rounds as possible of the workout within that time. That’s right, even if you have 10 minutes it will count as a workout!
These mini workouts pack a punch and can be spread across the day for an effective total body workout.
Why sleep is important
Sleep is VITAL to health. While you are at rest, your body is working to digest food, regulate hormones and repair damage from stress.
Since we just finished talking about exercise, let me state if you have to choose between working out and a good night’s rest, go for the snooze. No joke, sleep is that important to your overall health.
We all know that inadequate sleep results in an inability to focus on daily tasks, control emotions, and make decisions but it also messes with your hormones and weakens the immune system making you more vulnerable to common infections.
Do whatever it takes to get into a healthy rhythm of sleep, even if it means going to be early on nights when you know younger kids may be waking up multiple times.
How moms can practice a healthier sleep routine
As moms, we’ve ALL been in that sleep-deprived state before, especially if you have a newborn, and in those cases, circumstances don’t always allow 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night.
I get it. But as soon as your kids are a little older and start sleeping through the night, it’s time to establish a healthy bedtime routine.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Create a bedtime and wake up time
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day trains the mind and body, so you can do it without thinking about it.
2. Power down
Phones, laptops, tablets, all of it at least an hour before bedtime, this includes you! Stimulating activity such as checking emails or getting caught up in the comment threads on the latest Facebook rant can make falling asleep difficult.
3. Create a personal bedtime routine
This could be reading, stretching, praying, meditating, sipping on herbal tea and anything that puts you in a state of ease. Whichever you choose, make an effort to do it each night and in the space, you sleep in. This will help your mind associate the bedroom as a place of relaxation, rest, etc.
How to add healthier foods into your diet
Eating right is something I’m passionate about. Choosing the right foods helps to keep me energized, upbeat, and productive as both a mom and an entrepreneur.
As a mom, whether you are staying at home or working, adding healthy foods into your diet is so much easier with a meal plan. Our family meal plans take the guesswork out of what to make with meal maps and help you stay on top the menu with a completed shopping list and prep guide.
The easiest way to start eating healthier
There’s no denying that eating healthy and making your own meals go hand in hand since you have more control of what’s being served.
I highly recommend you start preparing meals from home, not only will you feed your family more nutritious foods it can help save a lot of money!
If making all meals, 7 days a week sounds daunting, start by preparing 2 to 4 dinners a week and work your way up. The families I’ve seen with the most success in this area opt for meal plans like the Family Kickstart program.
After completing a few Whole30s by myself, I wanted an easier way to share those healthy lifestyle changes with the family. Thus, the Family Kickstart Program was created and it’s been a HIT with kid-approved breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. If you want a further look into all the Family Kickstart Program has to offer, check out what’s included here.
Foods to eliminate from Your diet
Processed, convenience foods, sugary beverages, sodas, snacks, candy, etc. might taste great but do they make you feel like a million bucks? Probably not, which is why it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Don’t get me wrong, an occasional cookie or slice of Double Chocolate Banana Bread is 100% fine and good for your overall health but making a habit out of it isn’t best practice.
If you crave snacks, whether they be salty or sweet try finding a healthy alternative i.e: swap greasy potato chips for homemade banana chips or leftover Halloween candy for Healthy Chocolate Pudding.
Both are ridiculously easy to make and can be prepped ahead of time, so you can keep healthy snacks on hand for everyone in your family, especially you.
Healthy foods to add to your diet
Now let’s take a look at all the delicious food that you can eat as part of you healthy lifestyle:
Fruit and Vegetables – All kinds!
Lean proteins – eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, beef, and pork
Healthy fats – Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, buts, seeds, and nut butter are all healthy sources of fat. Let me add a disclaimer here: fat doesn’t make you fat, if you want to read more about why eating fat is healthy for you, go here.
Healthy carbohydrates – rice, quinoa, couscous, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tortillas, are all excellent sources of carbohydrates and provide long-lasting energy.
Drinking more water contributes to your healthy lifestyle
Water does wonders for your mind, body, and soul. Whatever amount you are drinking now, triple it and tell me if you don’t see improvements in your skin, digestion, outlook, mood, and cravings.
Here are some simple tips I used to increase my daily water intake.
How being positive affects your entire lifestyle
Staying positive doesn’t mean a smile plastered on your face 24/7 but being confident that everything will work out and knowing that you are working hard to build a life that you are proud of. It’s about living your best life, on your own terms.
When you start implementing more of these healthy lifestyle habits, you’ll probably notice yourself automatically becoming more positive about your overall life. Lean into that and continue to create a life of health and happiness.
Why smiling more can help you live better
Did you know that smiling more can make you happier? Sounds a little crazy, but it’s true! According to scientists, smiling during brief moments of stress can help reduce the person’s stress response regardless if they feel happy.
So next time you’re having a particularly rough moment, force a smile, even if only for a few seconds. It boosts your mood and creates a sense of well being. Plus, it just might give you that burst of courage you need to face whatever today is throwing at you.
How to destress so you can live healthier
Stress is one thing moms are known for, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s how we can reduce stress as much as possible:
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff
As mom’s it VERY easy to get caught up in the small details, trying to perfect everything so we can feel accomplished. This can be over commitment at your child’s school, PTA, clubs, or having a super clean, organized house while being fit and stylish. I’m exhausted just typing that sentence!
At the end of the day, these are very, small trivial matters. The only thing you’ll look back and remember is the amount of quality time and memories you made with your family and how hard you strived to do the things that mattered to you.
2. Plan Ahead
Making more time for yourself takes planning and preparing ahead whether it’s for meals or daily activities.
Each week, I use a meal guide to help me prep ahead for dinners and lunches, this saves me ample time in the kitchen during busy weeknights and we can actually eat at a decent hour.
Before I go to bed, I also like to make sure everyone has what they need for school, the gym, or office set out. This includes clothes, bags, and of course, I even prep the coffee!
3. Take Time for You
Allow at least 15 minutes a day just for you. Choose an activity you enjoy or makes you feel refreshed and do that for at least 15 minutes, more would be ideal. This could be a hot bath, a quick workout, journaling, reading, crafting, whatever makes you feel alive. Trust me, this isn’t selfish but a reminder that you are important and to be kind to yourself.
Last tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle
The most important takeaway is knowing how to implement all of these into your daily life and that starts with small steps and creating a routine that works for you.
Take time to assess all that you need to take care of throughout each day and from there carve out the time and place for exercise (even if it’s just for 10 minutes), a healthy meal, and time for yourself.
No matter, how small the steps may seem at first, you’ll be headed in the right direction and I promise you’re worth it.
I have 3 kids and have been successful at staying fit for the past 7 years when before that I had never exercised. My number one advice is to find something you love! Jump out of your comfort zone and try different things to find that one that makes you wake up and excited to go work out. It might change over the years too. I used to LOVE spinning, but after a few years got bored with it and then discovered the Les Mills programs which I live for now! I don’t diet, but I’ve found that when I exercise regularly I choose my food more wisely because I want to fuel my body with protein and good foods before a workout or I notice the workout is not enjoyable because I feel awful. Then after, I am more mindful of what I put in my body since I just took the time and effort to workout. I still eat junk food, but overall choose a balanced diet.
Second, making it a priority. Just like my kids have classes and sports, I do too! I choose their extracurricular activities mindfully, to make sure all of the family can do something they love, but not everything they may want. You’re mind, body and soul will thank you by being balanced and calm ❤️
Thank you for sharing how you’ve found something you love, Ashleigh! It is true, that over time our needs change and it’s up to us to continue to find things we like to do for ourselves and keep our bodies and minds healthy!
Taking out time is probably the most difficult thing to do when you have multiple things already in your to-do list in a day. This is one of the most important and critical points in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
You are right. It’s hard and so needed!