Discovering how to get fit and eat healthy as a busy mom can seem overwhelming. You’ve already got so many things on your plate that you are trying to juggle. Here is a list of 66 tips for busy moms that make a huge difference. Topics include:
- Finding inspiration
- Changing mindset
- Healthy eating tips
- Exercise secrets
Find the Fun in Exercise
Some people think of exercise as a chore or activity that has to be done. Remember when you were a kid and never considered of all that running and jumping as exercise? It was just fun. Here are ways to help you get back to the right times from back then.
1. Play with your kids more – Chances are if you’ve got kids they are always creative and playing. They automatically do a whole bunch of activities that burn calories. Why? Because they are fun. Try your hand at playing tag, riding bikes or wrestling with your kids. You’ll burn tons of calories and won’t even realize it.
2. Park farther away – When you are running errands and have a whole bunch of stops that you’ve got to make – park farther away. It might not seem like a lot, but if you add 40 more steps to each errand and you have six stops to make that is an extra 240 steps.
This doesn’t sound like a lot, but then times that by running errands twice a week. The total at the end of the year is an extra 24,960 steps. To give you reference 10,000 steps is 5 miles – so you’d be walking almost 13 miles more just by parking farther away when you run errands.
3. A small burst of exercise- Are your kids watching TV in the living room? Try surprising everyone and tell them it is time to get up and move. Put a timer on for two to five minutes. Turn on the music or race them around the house. Get your body moving. That is the goal.
You can even do this when your kids are not home. For a mid-morning break take a five-minute walk or stretch. The goal is to do short bursts of exercise so that you’ll feel better all day long.
4. Commit and schedule exercise – Tell yourself you are going to improve your health and then plan exercise. Put it on your calendar right now. Even five minutes will make a massive improvement in your health.
Schedule two to five small exercise bursts in your day. Why? You’ll get into the habit of making exercise a priority.
5. Have more sex- You know that sex burns calories, plus it strengthens your relationship. Make sure you make it part of your regular week. Scheduling it in advance is recommended.
With children or busy schedules, this might be your only way to make sure that you are meeting the needs of both of you.
6. Challenge kids to a game on their gaming system– If your kids have a game system like the Wii, then you can easily buy a game that helps you stay active and fit. Then challenge your kids to a game. They will not take it easy on you, so you’ll get a great workout.
Plus they’ll love the chance to show you how good they are at the game. Not to mention gloat when they beat you.
7. Make a list of 5-minute exercise- Not sure what exercises or activities to do during your five minutes of exercise bursts? Make a list. Sit down with your kids and ask them about the games they play at school. They will most likely name games that you used to play as well – tag, hula hoops, hopscotch and jumping rope are a few.
Get their ideas and then think of activities that you can do by yourself. Put them in a jar. A few times a day take a slip of paper out of the pot, turn your timer on and do the exercise. No thinking involved, just get it done.
8. Walk after dinner- One way to get active daily is to take a walk around your neighborhood after dinner. After a long day, this would be a time to unwind and relax. Spend time with the family.
Walking is another way to start exercising. It is low impact and doesn’t cost money to start. All you need are two feet and the motivation to put one foot in front of the other.
9. Make use of the idle times in your schedule- Do your kids have any practice or clubs they attend? Think about what you do during these times. Most likely you are sitting and watching them. Instead of waiting for them training go for a quick walk around the block.
You could comfortably fit in an extra half an hour of being active, but more than likely it will be closer to an hour. Especially if you attend more than one activity a week.
10. Walk instead of drive- Do you pick up your kids every school day and the school is around the corner? Walk or bike to the school instead. Make sure to bring helmets if you are biking. Your child will be excited, and you’ll have particular uninterrupted time with them during the time it takes to get home.
Create a Different Relationship with Food
1. Practice Portion Control- While most people think they can determine what a correct portion looks like – the fact is they can’t. Portion size has gotten so out of control that the only way to know for sure is actually to measure your food. Learn what a portion is and measure it out. Or take a smaller plate and don’t overfill it with food.
2. Learn to read labels- Reading labels is one of the best ways to help with getting healthy. Most packaged foods have more than one serving, so knowing that will help you determine if you are overeating. Look at calories, fat, and fiber. These amounts will help you see if you should be eating it and how much you can eat.
3. Use smartphone apps- Your smartphone is always with you, so take advantage of it. Some apps will help you track your food or figure out what to eat.
Check out Fooducate. This app will scan the food, then figure out if it is a good one for you to eat. They base their findings on calories, sugar, fiber and how the food was made – the techniques. Then they score it.
4. Food journal- One of the best ways to get fit is to record vital information and eating healthy isn’t any different. There are many reasons to journal about what you eat. The main reasons are accountability, knowing what you eat when you eat it and why you are eating in the first place.
5. Plan meals ahead- When you leave your house take a cooler filled with the right kind of snacks. This will help you from making bad decisions while you are out running errands and will tide you over until you can get something more.
Also planning a weekly menu will help. You’re less likely to stop for take out in the middle of the week if you’ve already done your planning and grocery shopping.
6. Stop buying junk food- An easy way to eliminate junk food is to stop buying it. This might be hard if you’re not sure what to replace it with. So instead of microwavable popcorn that is heavy with butter, salt and oil – try air-popping your popcorn. Not only is it better tasting, but has fewer calories and fat.
7. Make healthy snacks or keep on the go snacks readily available– One way to have healthy meals is to make them. During the weekend whip up a batch of protein banana muffins for the week or homemade granola bars. You will find that it takes less time to make then you think.
Another option is to keep secure snack packs on hand. Grab and go bags full of healthier choices. You can keep baked chips in them or whole wheat crackers. They work for snacks in the fridge as well.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: CLEAN & HEALTHY SNACK RECIPE IDEAS IN UNDER 5 MINUTES
Cut everything up and put them in the bags. Your family is more likely to grab a healthy treat if it is already packaged and ready to go.
8. Have someone else make the menu for the week- Making a weekly list is something you’ll want to get into the habit of doing. But the reality is that doing this can take time. You’ll have to find the recipes, write down all the information and then make a grocery list.
If you are short on time, you might want to consider buying a service that will do all the hard work for you.
9. Don’t Skip Breakfast- There are a lot of people who don’t eat breakfast for whatever reason – they are not hungry, or they forget. This is a mistake. If you don’t eat for an extended period, like when you are asleep, your body communicates to your brain that you are starving and will store those fat cells instead of using them.
Don’t forget breakfast. You want to make sure your body is operating at its optimal performance. Eat even if it is just a little one.
10. Hydrate Your Body- Make sure that you are getting plenty of water. Drinking more water is the best habit that you can establish. It gets rid of the toxins in your body and makes sure all of our body functions correctly.
ALSO READ: FRUIT INFUSION WATER PITCHER REVIEW
11. Pack Your Lunch- When lunchtime rolls around, and you haven’t packed lunch you’ll likely head to one of the local restaurants or fast food joints. This is not the way to a healthy lifestyle.
Some restaurants offer one or two choices for a meal, but most do not. You’ll rack up the calories and fat by eating out. If you pack your lunch, you will save thousands of calories a year. You’ll be able to control everything that you eat and won’t have to rely on a restaurant that might don’t have your best interests at heart.
12. Don’t finish your kid’s food- This is a big one for moms. Don’t conclude what your kids don’t eat. You might not think this adds up, but it does. This is especially the case if you have more than one child. Throw it out or put it in the fridge for them to eat later – but do not finish their food.
13. Make more soup- Soup has fewer calories than a traditional meal except for a few exceptions – like creamy soups. Not only that, but they usually have a lot of vegetables. Even if you have a small bowl of soup before the main course, you’ll eat less of the entree.
One bowl of soup can contain so many vegetables. As well as fiber if you add the right ingredients – beans work wonderfully. Just be careful of the sodium (salt) content especially if you are buying can soup. Use salt sparingly – to get more flavor use different seasonings and a good stock base.
14. Use a Different Cooking Method- Try to cook using various techniques and methods. Grill in the winter, use the slow cooker in the summer and bake your food instead of frying it.
There are many ways in which to cook your food that does not involve cooking it in fat. The less oil you fry it in, the less fat that is clogging up your arteries. Your goal is to find ways that work for you and that your family enjoys eating.
Change Your Mindset
1. Take a few minutes to think about the process to reach your goal each morning. If you take a few minutes in the morning to think about your day ahead, it will help you make better choices. What foods will you eat? When will you exercise? These are a few questions that you can think about.
This works because you can see yourself making the right choices and steering away from temptation throughout the day. Visualization is one of the best things to practice when working towards a goal. If you can see it, you can achieve it.
2. Positive visualization- Close your eyes and think about what you want. How do you look? How do you feel? What are you eating? How are you getting your exercise? Don’t think in general terms like I want to lose weight. Visualize yourself ten, twenty or even thirty pounds lighter. What health benefits will that have? How will it affect you and your family?
Create a mental image that is so compelling that you have to attain it. Seeing what you will help propel you towards it.
3. Post positive quotes that inspire- Your thoughts and the way that you feel will most likely derail your goal of getting fit if they are harmful. Negative self-talk is one of your worse enemies. You can’t see the words and most of the time you’re not even aware that you are putting yourself down.
You need to change your thoughts – from negative to positive. How do you do that? The easiest is to have inspirational quotes everywhere. Read them several times a day. You can use post-it notes, posters or find a Facebook group that posts images of positive quotes. The repetition of reading positive words will start to replace negative words in your self-talk slowly.
One trick to use when reading the quotes – think of yourself. If the quote says “a man” or “you” change it to the first person and believe it is true. You are capable of more than you know.
4. Give yourself kudos for what you have accomplished– Life can be challenging. So when you’ve made a goal and moved towards it, don’t be hard on yourself at the end of the day. Maybe you didn’t make the right decision every time today, but you did make some. Pat yourself on the back for those.
At night think about all the decision you made that improved your life and made it better. Let them flood your mind – the choice to eat a banana instead of that candy bar or the decision to drink water instead of a sugary drink. You’ve made more than you realize. Everything counts.
5. Know what motivates you- Why do you want to get fit and healthy? You’ll need to know why you do what you do before you stick to your goals. Changing habits will be a struggle some days especially at the beginning.
Everyone is different. Some moms want to be able to keep up with their children without being winded, some had tests at the doctor’s office and saw results they didn’t like. Then there are others who do not want to depend on others later in life. All of these are important – but they don’t motivate everyone.
Find your motivation and then hold it near and dear to your heart. You can do that by writing it down or finding a picture that represents what motivates you. Remember it when the going gets tough, and you want to quit.
6. Take before and after photo- Taking a picture before is a great visual. You can also find a picture from when you were at the weight or fitness level you want to be. Keep them somewhere you can see.
Seeing what you want your body to look like in the future will help you achieve it. Once you’ve been working out regularly and eating healthy for a while take a new picture. Make sure you are wearing the same outfit, and you are standing in the same spot. This will help you get an accurate idea of how far you’ve come.
7. Measure yourself- If you’re not comfortable taking a picture – measure yourself. Measuring is more accurate than a weight scale anyone. Scales discourage because during this process you’ll be losing fat and gaining muscle. Your weight will be almost the same, but those clothes will fit differently, and your body will be smaller.
8. Believe you’ll be lucky- Accomplishing your goal is going to be hard. You can do it and believe in yourself is half of the battle. That is precisely what you’ve got to do though.
You’ve accomplished a lot in your life. You’ve done that through persistence, determination and believing you can do it. Dig into those feelings and think that you can do this as well.
9. Set goals for yourself- Setting goals is a road map to where you want to be. If you don’t plan what you want, then you have no idea which streets to take, how to get there or even if you’ve reached your destination.
You probably know what you want – to write them down. No one has to see them except you. Make goals specific and give yourself deadlines or milestone dates to keep you motivated.
10. Visualization board- Creating a vision board can be fun, as well as inspirational. Glue words, pictures, and ideas on a poster board. Find things that help you see what you want in the future.
The foods you want to eat, the exercise goals you have and the words that describe you in the future. Pick words or pictures that are powerful, and that will trigger emotions. They will motivate and inspire you. Then hang it up or put it somewhere that you can see it daily. Visualizing what you want is a meaningful way to get it.
11. Know your triggers to eat- A trigger is when something sets you off on a course or motion – good or bad. Food triggers can be anything. Stress from the job, sitting in front of the TV or when you get a sugar craving.
You want to avoid or control them because triggers can lead to overeating food, mindlessly eating snacks or eating food that isn’t healthy. The first step is to know what triggers you. The easiest way to do this is through a food journal. After you’ve to figure it out, you need a plan to get it under control.
12. Don’t expect instant results- Instant gratification is a huge problem in some culture. You want things to happen now and with the best results. This isn’t realistic. It has taken years to get to the point in your life that you are at. Choices you made – both bad and good. Decisions you’ve made. Habits you’ve gotten into.
You can’t expect yourself to automatically make better decisions about your health if you’ve been making bad ones for a long time. Habits come slowly and through a lot of choices that we make unconsciously. You can start doing better practices daily, but you won’t get fit or become healthy overnight.
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Surround Yourself with A Supportive Team of People (Including Yourself)
1. Involve family- Talk to your family about your decision about getting fit and eating healthy. This is going to affect them as well. They might surprise you and join in your efforts. Let them know how they can help you with your goal.
The big one is not to bring in junk food or unhealthy foods that you love. You don’t need it around to tempt you. You might not have the willpower to say no.
2. Find a local group- You can get support from people in your local community. Check to see if there is a group that talks about healthy eating or getting fit. They might share recipes and tips on how to get the rest of the family involved. They can be a resource in your journey and help you through the tough times.
If you don’t want to go through this with strangers ask your friends, neighbors, and family if they would like to join you. You’ll be glad you have someone to talk to when all you want to do is stop for fast food.
3. Facebook friends- Friends that you’ve met on Facebook might be a great way to buddy up and find an accountability person. Look for someone who is trying to reach the same goal as yourself. Establish guidelines and goals for the partnership.
For example, if your goal is to exercise for 10 minutes a day, be accountable to your buddy. Contact them through email, text message or instant messaging and let them know you are done. Talk about what challenges you were facing or how you felt. You’ll get more done if you have to let someone know when you are done.
4. Join a Facebook group- One of the beautiful things about Facebook is the ability to find like-minded people, and there is a group or page for almost everything. See what groups you can find. Is there one that gives motivation, tips, and recipes? That would be a good one to join.
You don’t necessarily have to post anything, but reading about what other people are experiencing and how they are working through their challenges will help you find a way that works for you.
5. Find a mentor- A mentor is someone that has either accomplished a goal like yours or someone who knows a lot about health, fitness, and healthy eating. You can find them in multiple places on Facebook, through a website or even locally.
6. Find people to walk with at work during breaks- Is there someone in your office that walks every day? Ask them if you can join them. You’ll enjoy getting out of the room and talking while you walk. The fresh air will revitalize you, and you’ll be able to focus on your work more when you get back.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others- Do you see those gorgeous women on the front of the magazine cover? The perfect one who are the ideal weight and have no flaws? Don’t compare yourself to these women. Their circumstances are different, and they are not you.
If they are fit – that is their industry, but they also struggle with their weight and images. They have developed the habits to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
But the biggest reason not to compare yourself to those women on the magazine covers is Photoshop. Yep, chances are they don’t look like that in real life either. The graphics software can make anyone look skinnier, sexier and more vibrant.
Don’t compare yourself and try to achieve something that will never happen.
8. You can be your biggest cheerleader- You encourage and support your kids and your significant other. That is a given. Now you need to take that cheerleader mentality and do it for yourself.
Give yourself pep talks when you are down or feeling like you can’t do it. Encourage yourself when you are making the right choices. Do backflips (figuratively) when you reached a milestone.
Moms tend to be harder on themselves. Don’t do that. You deserve the same kind of support and encouragement you give to others. Stand up and cheer for yourself. Be proud of yourself. Celebrate the small victories, as well as the big ones.
9. Don’t beat yourself up- Are you having one of those days? Nothing is going right. You went to a birthday party and ate the cake plus the ice cream. Now you are calling yourself all kinds of names. Stop that right now. Know that you are going to have sick days.
You are working towards having more days when you make better choices. Your job isn’t to berate yourself and make yourself feel bad because you are human and gave in to temptation. You wouldn’t talk to others like that, so stop talking to yourself like that.
You’ll have days like this. Dust yourself off and say I’ll do better the rest of the day or tomorrow. Think about the healthy decisions you did make and concentrate on those.
10. Plan work out dates with other moms- Listen to other moms. They might be trying to get fit and healthy as well. Schedule a work out date at the local park or school. The kids can play on the jungle gym while you take fifteen minutes and walk.
Not only will you be getting your exercise – but it’ll also help you relax. Being able to talk to another mom about life with kids helps you. They can give you tips if you are struggling with potty training or getting your kid to do their homework.
As a mom, you need friends that are moms and understand you. Keep your ear to the ground about other women you think would enjoy walking a few times a week.
Getting a group of women together is good because then if one or even two are not able to make it – you’ll still be able to go and walk with someone.
Learn Positive Habits
1. Slow down; it doesn’t have to be all or nothing– It’s natural to want the results of a goal as soon as you make them. Some people will jump into the action with so much gusto, then something happens, and they quit. This doesn’t have to be you. Take your time with your goals. You’ll still reach them. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
2. Small consistent changes– The most significant impact you can have are making constant adjustments. More than likely if you make a goal of eating more natural food and you get rid of everything else – you’ll fall off the wagon and go back to your old ways.
Getting overwhelmed with all the things you’ve got to do and all the food you cannot eat anymore. Instead of a significant change all at once, take small changes and keep up with them until they become second nature. Then start another one.
Small consistent changes over time will benefit you more than starting and stopping diets. Plus it’ll be better for your self-confidence.
3. Change routines to support a healthier lifestyle- There are ways that you can change your habits or schedules to fit a more robust way of living. Get up a few minutes early to exercise or be thankful for all you have.
Walk your children to school instead of driving them. Bike to work instead of driving. There are a lot of little routines that you can change that will make a significant impact to your overall health. Think about what you can do and then replace them.
4. Focus on how you feel- Once you’ve started exercising and eating right, you’ll notice a difference in how you feel – both physically and emotionally. You won’t be as tired, stressed or irritable. Your body will be more flexible, and you’ll breathe easier.
Be happy with the changes you are going through. You’ve earned it.
5. Stop making excuses- Making excuses is natural and everyone does it. If you want to eat healthier and get fit – start doing it. Don’t give reasons why you’re not going to eat a healthier meal or get out and exercise.
Some excuses might be you don’t have time, you’ve always been heavy, you love sweets, and you don’t like to exercise. Everyone has their own. Discover what your excuses are, then figure out how to overcome the obstacle. If this is important to you, you’ll find a way to make it work.
6. Create a plan- You need a plan. If you’ve never been able to get fit or exercise regularly don’t expect yourself to wake up one day and just know how. Figure out the steps and actions you will need to take to get to your goal.
How will you start eating better? What will you add to your diet? When will you exercise? How often?
These are just a few questions you can ask yourself. You’ll need to figure out an action plan for food as well as exercise. Find things that you like – whether it’s an activities or food. Then go from there.
7. Schedule your training- Chances are if you give yourself a general time frame to do something it won’t happen. For example, you tell yourself you will exercise three times this week. By Saturday you haven’t done one and now figure you’ve already wasted the week and will start next week.
Instead of leaving it to when you get the time – schedule it. Do you want to exercise three times this week? Take out your smartphone, figure out where you can fit it in and then put it on your calendar.
Busy moms who do this one step will exercise more often than those that leave it to chance.
8. Exercise in the morning- The easiest way to get in the habit of exercising is to get it done in the morning. You can get up before the. Start slowly at first. Even five minutes to stretch before the day begins is better than nothing, and it will give you a sense of accomplishment all day.
If you wait until later in the day you have time not to feel like it, make excuses not to get it done or run out of time. Get up in the morning and do your exercises.
9. Keep healthy snack options on hand– One way to eat better is to keep them on the side. Put snacks in the car, at work, and in your purse. That way if you need a snack and don’t have access to a kitchen you won’t stop and get something real quick. This will tide you over until the next meal.
You’ll also be able to eat more fruits, vegetables, fiber, and protein if you have the right snacks.
10. Make healthier decisions each day– Eating right and exercising is a process that you are going to have to work on every single day. The best way to accomplish this is by making healthier choices today then you did yesterday. Eventually, it will be second nature, and you will be eating right without much thought.
These are some of the powerful tips that can help you go from mediocre effort to a successful mindset. Put them into action, and you’ll reach your goals. The more you do, the better your chances. You’ll be happy that you followed the tips provided.