Ask Jillian: How can I Eat Well and Exercise When I'm on the Go?
Q: Being a mother makes planning really difficult. What are your suggestions on how to set and follow a meal and exercise plan when you are constantly on the go? – Claire Wilson (via Facebook)
A: Claire, you are definitely not alone on this one. In fact, I have only recently begun to truly understand what moms mean when they say this. So, let me guess, your schedule is crazed and unpredictable, right? I totally get it and can appreciate that! However, what I’ve found — and personally experienced — is that being on-the-go is not the only thing making most moms struggle.
Many of the moms that I know often feel like they need to be a “superwoman." It’s as though they feel like it’s their job to be everything for everybody: a loving considerate wife, selfless mother, devoted daughter, loyal friend — heck, maybe even a caretaker for their coworkers and neighbors.
America is a country that celebrates rugged individualism and a can-do attitude, but we often take it to extremes, which can result in many women feeling weak or guilty if they ask for help.
Have you ever heard the old adage “It takes a village”? That is a common saying for a reason. It does! So, here’s my advice: shift your perspective.
1. Ask for help! Life has a natural ebb and flow to it, an energetic karmic currency of sorts. As much as you give you must also receive, and in receiving it facilitates your ability to give back. When you’re happy and healthy, you’ll be a better mom, wife, daughter, co-worker, neighbor and so on. See? So call a few friends and family members, and especially recruit your significant other, to help you make a little “mom time” so you can get in a workout or just rejuvenate. Maybe they can help you with carpooling or watch the kids once a week so you can hit the gym? You get the idea. Make three phone calls to three people in your life and ask them for help in facilitating this for you. And be sure to divide up responsibilities at home. The kids and the hubby will get used to it. Plus, when they see how happy it makes you, they’ll be even more willing to do their part.
2. Learn the power of “no.” As women, we have the hardest time using this word. We worry that we’ll come off as bitchy and mean when we do. The truth is, learning to utilize “no” properly is critical in your self-preservation and well-being. It doesn’t make you a bad person to set boundaries. People who love and respect you will understand when you tell them that you wish you could do something, but you’re overextended. If they don’t, you might need to reconsider those relationships.
3. Put it in pen. After you’ve lined up your help, reprioritized your schedule a bit by saying “no” to unnecessary obligations, and scheduled some time for yourself, ink it in on your calendar or in your planner. Make an official date with you — and keep it! Show yourself the same respect that you show your family. If you promised your kids you’d be at their recital, I bet you’d move heaven and earth to be there, right? However, when it comes to following through on time you make for yourself I’d also bet that’s the first thing to get compromised. That, my friend, is unacceptable.
4. Keep it simple. No one (especially not me) says a workout has to take place in a gym. When all else fails, pop in exercise DVDs. I can’t tell you how many moms post pics on my Facebook wall of their toddler doing one of my exercise videos. (Hence my new-found use of the kid-friendly word “bummie” in my workouts.) Exercise videos are quick and effective, and you can do them in your home — alone or with your tots. They’re perfect for squeezing in an a.m. workout or a before-dinner p.m. one. No babysitting or driving necessary.
Look, I’m not gonna blow smoke up your bummie. These things aren’t easy to do. They are going to make you very uncomfortable at first, but you’ve got to fight through it. Try it for a week. It’ll get easier and easier to do as you begin to reap the positive benefits of your behavior changes. And know that almost all of the other mommies out there are struggling with this too. You aren’t alone, but by taking these steps you are inspiring others and setting a brave example!
Hi I'm Kelly Richards Mulloy a stay at home mom of 6. I am on a journey to change my life inside and out. Health and fitness, staying young, join me.