Living a healthy lifestyle is something that many people find daunting, overwhelming and just unsure how to do. One of the main questions I receive is “how do you keep fit and healthy whilst being so busy” and “how do you stick to it?”. There is so many areas to answering that question so here I have written my guide to implementing a healthier life and living it long-term! I want to change the way you view being fit and healthy and shifting the focus from quick fixes to long term sustainable lifestyles. One very important view I want to shift is to start focusing on the emotional benefits of exercise and healthy eating and not just the physical. This is where the real long-long change will happen!
We are all guilty of doing this; thinking excuses are valid reasons WHY we “can’t” exercise today or why we “have to start Monday” and not today. Excuses and Reasons are two very different things;
“I only had a few hours sleep last night so Ill just exercise tomorrow”- exercise gives you more energy!
“I already ate some chocolate so I may as well keep eating unhealthy options”- the past is the past move forward, the time will pass anyway
“The kids are being hard today so I couldn’t be bothered to exercise today” -take them outside to play and do a 20 minute bodyweight session
“The toddler is teething so I’ll just have chocolate cause I deserve it”- fuel your body with healthy snacks for more energy, why reward yourself with unhealthy unfulfilled foods?
“Oh I exercised yesterday so Ill miss today”- Everyday is a chance to move closer to your goals
“I’m working later today so I won’t go for a walk on my lunch break I deserve a rest”- Use your work breaks to get out get some energy an fresh air
“I’m a busy mum I don’t have time to eat well or exercise”- Busy mums deserve to look after themselves too!
“My kids won’t nap today so I can’t workout”- make them part of your workout take them to the park!
You have to work at 12pm so therefore can’t make to lunchtime spin class- BUT you can exercise before or after work
You have an injury that prevents any type of exercise
You have a virus or flu- its important your body recovers with healthy food and rest
You are postpartum and do not have clearance to exercise yet- keep your immunity and energy up with heathy prepared meals
You have a newborn that isn’t sleeping and need to catch up on sleep when they nap- YES VALID REASON recovery is important (I feel ya girlfriend)
As you can see reasons and excuses are two very different things! Excuses are just lies you tell yourself to make yourself feel better about not following your plan an trying to reach your goals. When it comes to reasons it of course depends on the situation however there is usually a way around your valid reasons to make it work! When it comes to living a sustainable healthy lifestyle you need to give yourself a bit more tough love and realise when you are just being full of shit or you actually have no way of moving closer to your goals today.
Goal-setting is such an important step that many people overlook when starting out on their healthy lifestyle journey. Make sure your setting realistic goals because if you set goals that are too high or unachievable for your lifestyle you are just setting yourself up for failure! I see many women set high goals which aren’t achievable in that timeframe and when they don’t get there they usually just give up. We want this to be a permanent change not just a temporary fix! One VERY important aspect you need to include in your goal setting is to set at least one EMOTIONAL goal. When I started focusing on how healthy eating and exercise made me FEEL that is what keeps me going back for more daily! Exercise has never been more enjoyable for me since I became a mum because I get that little bit of “me-time” everyday which releases stress and helps manage my anxiety. Remember you need to look after YOU in order to look after anyone else!
Examples of Realistic Goals
Beat my record of 10 pushups this month
Work towards loosing 2kgs this month
Beat my 2km run this month
Implement heathy snacks this week
Drink 2L daily
To feel distressed after each session
To feel calmer and have more patience
These small but realistic goals all add up to bigger achievements!
One main area where so many people go wrong when trying to change their lifestyle is starting a “diet” and exercise routine that is not sustainable. When we restrict and deprive ourselves it is only natural to want these “bad foods” even more. You will find when trying to continue with a restricted diet and routine that after a couple of weeks the novelty and motivation that kept you going will wear off and this is when people essentially “fall off the wagon”.
7 years ago when I decided to make my lifestyle change and lose 25kgs I knew that if I didn’t make smaller changes and set in place a REALISTIC routine that I would fail like all the other times I had previously. Instead of slogging myself in the gym 7 days a week I set aside 3 times a week to go which kept me happy and was more than effective. In terms of food each week I set a goal to try a new healthy meal and just basically cut out the crap food; this alone was enough to loose 25kgs in 6 months. YEP I managed to loose all of that in only 6 month just implementing an easy going routine and eliminating the crap food- NO insane 500 calorie diet or counting macros or working out all day! When you decide to be healthy you need to see it as a sustainable lifestyle not a 4 week diet! (Check out my weightless ad fitness journey blog series here)
Now I’m not saying doing these things you will loose all the weight or get fit in a short amount of time but I can guarantee you that when the motivation wears off that you will be more likely to sustain the lifestyle because the routine isn’t unrealistic. Now this is where discipline comes in.
One of the main questions I get asked ALOT is “how do you stay so motivated?”- the truth is …I don’t! No-one is ever going to be motivated ALL THE TIME!
I like to make people think of it this way; if I asked you
“Why do you brush your teeth?”
You would probably reply with “I have to” and THAT is how I see exercising and eating well- “because I have to”. If I want to feel good, if I want to be healthy, if I want to achieve my goals- I HAVE TO. I know this isn’t what everyone wants to hear but treat your exercise time and meal prep time as you would your job. When you go to work you don’t even think about it do you? You just do it.
This is the same with eating well and exercising. In no way am I saying it’s easy- because it isn’t always easy (same as work) sometimes it gets hard but you do it anyways because you have to. BUT the good news is after a while you will start to feel and see how amazing it makes you feel and you will WANT to feel good every day won’t you?
So next time your laying in bed debating whether you should get up that half hour earlier to squeeze in your sweat session or to prep your meals for the day…DONT THINK, JUST DO!
This is where the magic will happen- planning your healthy lifestyle to fit into your daily life. Now if you’re anything like me you always have a million things to do. Get yourself a planner and write down when you can fit in a workout and have time to prep healthy foods for the week. This may mean you have to get up earlier to go to bed later but this is where you make it part of your routine and treat it as a job- it has to be done so find time and do it. No excuses anymore.
Each weekend when my husband is home to watch Harper I prep my snacks and a few healthy meals for the week which I can grab at any time if I get stuck for time. This ensures you’re not ending up at the McDonalds drive thru! If you have time for social media and going and getting a coffee you DO have time to live a healthy life. Each weekend choose 2 or more healthy snacks you can prep ready to go! Snacks like; protein balls, healthy muffins, pre-chopped veggie sticks. Even getting your healthy smoothie ingredients ready in a ziplock bag in the freezer so you don’t spend time putting it all together each day. I always have my overnight oats ready for the whole week so each morning is made a little easier with a screaming toddler. There is always a way! (Check out my healthy snacks recipes here)
Now here I am talking about exercise quality not food! By putting aside 20 minutes per day to get a sweat up or go for a walk all adds up in the long run. Don’t think your not doing well if all you can manage is 15-30 minutes a day (which you CAN) because that is perfect! Unfortunately I’ve seen many women slug themselves at the gym for hours thinking thats what they have to do to get fit but its not! Quality over quantity!
All you need is your bodyweight or a couple of dumbbells (Kmart has so much exercise equipment) a few exercises and your done! We now live in a time where you can access MILLIONS of free workouts on Pinterest or even purchase an online exercise program you can do at home!
Motherhood can make life bloody tough- your usually eyeballs deep in housework and work and looking after everyone but yourself! Remember your no good to anyone if your cup is empty. Use the time while the kids are playing at the park, in the yard or even watching TV to do a quick workout session. Take your kids for a walk and get all of you out of the house- fresh air does a world of good for not just you but them too! The mundane tasks of the house sometimes need to wait (heck they certainly aren’t going anywhere) so stop feeling guilty for taking half an hour for yourself!
I always hear “I don’t know any healthy recipes” -Ladies we live in the 21st century its called the internet! Google is gold when it comes to healthy recipes! Make a goal for yourself to try one new healthy each week for you and the family to try! If its a hit print it and add it to your own healthy recipes folder! Once you’ve got enough recipes you can have a look through it at anytime for your meal planning! (Check out my healthy recipes here)
Finding a routine that works for you personally can take some time! So if your first few weeks don’t work out how you would like them to don’t be hard on yourself and give up. Some people prefer to exercise in the morning and some prefer at night everyone is different and has different circumstances. Sit back and think of how you can rearrange and change your plan to suit you better!
“Health & Fitness’ is not a one size fits all. People always think someone who is fit and healthy is stereotypically slender, can lift heavy weights, has abs and eats kale….um NO. Healthy means living YOUR best life and feeling YOUR best. Some of the healthiest, fittest people I have met are not a size 8 and don’t live on carrots. Fitness to you could mean a walk everyday, yoga, running around the park with your kids, the gym, home workouts, dancing, pilates even horse riding! Everyone enjoy different fitness activities and thats ok! Don’t force yourself to be someone your not- if you don’t enjoy lifting weights alone try out a pilates class! Keep trying out new activities until you find something that makes you feel good.
Tag me on Instagram showing me your healthy lifestyle changes! Remember it is a sustainable life change not a quick fix!