Over that last ten years since having kids I had gained 25-30 pounds and was in the worst shape of my life! The last thing I was doing was staying in shape. I found myself so frustrated at times over the weight gain and the lack of being in shape. During that time frame we had four children, I got my Masters, we moved four times and I changed job four times so needless to say it was also a stress filled time. Over the last year Amy and I have gotten back into shape and lost weight. To be honest it has felt really good. So how did we finally do it? Here are some tips for staying in shape with little ones running around.
As a couple commit to staying in shape. (Then do what it takes.)
This seems like a no brainer but you honestly need one another’s support to get serious about getting in shape and staying in shape. Amy and I just had to commit to letting each other work out whenever was best. At times this has meant more burden on one or the other but in the end it allowed us to work out when was most comfortable. A few weeks ago my doctor told me to stop running for a while which I understood I had to do if I wanted to heal. However if I was going to work out it meant waking up and leaving early thus leaving Amy with all the burden of getting the four kids ready for school. She wanted to support me staying in shape so she encouraged me to take off and go. That’s what I mean by being willing to encourage and support each other.
At meals commit to not eating your kids leftovers or order less for yourself.
Maybe I am the only one who does this but I can’t count how many times I have finished the kids plate after eating all my food. This is so bad if you are trying to control portion sizes and your staying in shape. Before you know it you may have eaten three meals at one sitting if you have very many kids. You may not even realize you do it. When I came to understand how many extra calories I was getting because I finished their plates I had to make the choice to start ordering less for myself if staying in shape was going to be a reality.
Keep exercising even if it is inconsistent.
The truth is the most benefit from exercise will be consistency over time but as a parent their are so many things that can interrupt you getting to exercise. Don’t get down or upset just get back to it soon even if it is only once or twice a week when you first start. Realize that seasons come and go quickly as parents and the type of craziness you experience now will not last forever. If you are exercising some now when the interruptions become less it will be easier for you to become consistent.
Loosing weight and staying in shape is not rocket science. For the average American you don’t need fancy diets, expensive equipment or to hire trainers. You simply need to do to things:
Way too many of us get a ton more calories than we need everyday hence the reason we gain weight. Just cut some sweets or late night snacking and you will quickly cut the amount of calories you are consuming. If you want you can get apps for your phone or use a pen and piece of paper to track your calories but if your just getting started you can do a couple simple things and find yourself eating a lot less.
Get out and exercise. This can be as simple as getting out 3 or 4 times a week and going for a brisk walk. Take your bike and go for a long ride. Start running simply do something that gets your heart rate up and last for at least 30 minutes.
Seriously it is that simple to start loosing weight and getting in shape. You will find that one of these two is probably tougher than the other. For me the eating part is really tough and for Amy it is the consistent exercise. This works well for us so that we can encourage one another where we are weak the other is strong.
Parents don’t beat yourselves up. Just do your best to make small consistent changes over time and you will begin to see results. Remember life is a marathon not a sprint so although the results may be small and take a while eventually you will get where you want to be. The important thing is that you will have created real life change.