You make the decision. Maybe it’s New Years and you vow that this year is the year you will make your health a priority. Maybe its March and you suddenly realize that summer is around the corner and you really want to look good in a swimsuit. Maybe it’s a big event like a wedding, a reunion, or an anniversary trip. Maybe it’s a random Tuesday and you’re sick and tired of eating Doritos in front of the TV.
Maybe it because of something hurtful: Your child remarks that your tummy is “squishy.” You sister tells you the dress you’re trying on is too tight. Your husband expresses his concern for your health.
We’ve all been there for one reason or another. We make the decision to put our health first, lose the weight, or simply start exercising. We start day one with the best of intentions. And within 3 days, we give up.
Time and time again, we throw in the towel and claim, “I can’t do this.”
What is this? What is the reason for the failure? What’s stopping us from accomplishing what we want?
I think women are particularly vulnerable to this. This is just my opinion, but I think it’s true.We have a tendency to give up on ourselves and to put everyone else first. We often get discouraged from the media images around us that tell us what we “should” look like. We grow impatient with our lack of results, or life just gets in the way.
The fact is, as moms, we have every excuse in the book not to take care of ourselves.No more. It’s time to shut those excuses down for good.
Problem: Guilt Whether it’s the guilt of taking time for yourself instead of dedicating it to your family, or the worry that your children will destroy something while you’re busy and then you’ll lose it on them and then feel guilty, the mom guilt is real. In truth, I have never really felt guilty for taking some time to myself, but I know many moms do. It’s very natural to always put the kids first and forget about yourself. We love our kids!
Solution: Taking time for your health makes you a better mom. It’s true. Kids are stressful and exercise is a stress relief. A less-stressed mom is a patient mom. Kids can drive you crazy, but exercise produces endorphins. And as we all know from the very wise Elle Woods, “endorphins make you happy.” A happy mom is a fun mom. Exercise gives you body confidence, even when your body is less than perfect. A mom with confidence is an inspiration and model for her children. Forget the guilt. Remind yourself that your children benefit from a healthy, happy mom.
Problem: Time Yes, you’re busy. Of course you are! You have kids, a husband, a house, a job outside the home, church/ volunteer commitments, and the list goes on! I get it.There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all we want to do.
Solution: Prioritize. It’s hard. Boy, don’t we all know it’s hard. You barely have time to take a shower, much less hit the gym or go for a run. But the harsh fact is, until you prioritize your health, you will never have the time. There will never be a day when life slows down and you have all this free time to do what you want and finally think about your health. (At least until retirement, and I don’t wanna wait that long.) So if you want to get healthy now, you have to start prioritizing your health now. Deliberately, plan out how you can fit it in. Even if it’s 5 minutes during snack time in your kitchen. (Sometimes that’s how it gets down in my house, no joke. And sometimes I’m eating breakfast simultaneously.) Don’t allow yourself to give excuses. You’ll find once you start, it gets easier to fit it in and get it done.
Problem: Insecurities I know you know what I’m talking about. You go out for a run and you feel like everyone is watching your giant butt bounce around. Or you take a yoga class and can feel the extra roll of fat creep over the top of your yoga pants. You’re too slow, or too weak, or too fat or too old. Everyone’s staring at you and thinking, “Why does she even bother?”
Solution: Fake it ’til you make it. First and foremost, no one is thinking that. Seriously. And if by chance they are, it’s because they are dealing with their own insecurities, and that has nothing to do with you. There is no magic pill to completely erase your insecurities. All we can do it try and push past them until the confidence is real. Let me give you an example. I have bigger thighs.(It’s a Darling Girl Curse.) Even when I’m at my fittest, they’re still thick. I will never have a “thigh gap.” Ever. I used to hate them and I wouldn’t wear shorts because of them. Then I started running. After a while, my thighs didn’t bother me so much. My thighs didn’t change, but my perception of them did. They were no longer these giant sausages that I felt ashamed of, but muscular limbs that have allowed me to run marathons. That’s what exercise can do for you! Yes, it can slim you down, but the greater transformation happens when we start to take pride in what our bodies can do. Don’t let insecurities stop you! The confidence will come, I promise; you just have to fake it at first.
Problem: Comparison As women, we constantly compare ourselves. It doesn’t help that there is a media frenzy of “hot” celebrity bodies bombarding us at every direction. We are constantly told this is the way a “beautiful” woman is supposed to look, and we fall short. No matter what we do, we fall short. I’m not as skinny as she is. She’s so much faster than I am. My yoga pose doesn’t look like that. Her arms are more toned then mine. The comparisons can go on and on.
Solution: Use comparison to your advantage. I don’t mean compare yourself to other women. I mean compare yourself to you. See how far you’ve come from a year or six months ago. Whether you’ve lost ten pounds, or shaved two minutes off you 5k time, comparison can be a powerful motivator when used correctly. Acknowledge the hard work you’ve put in and take a moment to see the strong woman you’ve become. I can’t compete with Giselle Bunchen, or Shalane Flanagan, but I can compete with me.
Problem: It’s futile. We watch what we eat. We exercise. It’s hard and we try. And then… nothing happens. The scale won’t budge. Can there be anything more frustrating?! I mean, what’s the point? Why should we even bother? If I’m just going to be stuck like this forever, I may as well enjoy my ice cream, right?
Solution: Focus on other victories. We live in a world of instant gratification, but life ain’t actually like that. There is no amazing new diet pill that’s going to help you drop ten pounds in a week. That doesn’t exist. Things like progress actually take time. Time and lots of hard work. Ugh, right? But if we give up within a week, we’ll never see what we are truly capable of. So while we wait on time, we can focus on other victories. A pair of pants that aren’t as tight anymore. Being able to run your 3 mile loop without stopping. Having the stamina to keep up with your kids. Holding a yoga pose for longer. Eventually you will see the scale results, but in the meantime, try not to get discouraged. Stay focused on the other positive changes that come from getting healthy.
The first three days are always the hardest, and it takes weeks to grow accustomed to a new routine. We do ourselves no favor when we give up before we’ve even really begun. Your healthy is important; your kids want a healthy, happy mom. Put those excuses aside and make the commitment to stick with it.