How to Stay Healthy When You Have a Family

I see you Mama. You know how important it is for you and for your family to stay healthy. 

You know that if you take care of yourself, you’ll have more energy.

You know that you need to role model healthy behavior for your kids.

But you’re SO tired. And pressed for time. And stressed out. 

You’re trying to “eat healthy” or follow that diet, but you still have to feed your kids. 

Everyone wants something different for dinner. You’re constantly being asked questions and to do things for others from the moment the kids wake up til the moment they go to bed.

Or if you have an infant, you’re just not sleeping. Ever. (And your partner is complaining that you woke him up when you came back to bed after nursing 🙄)

All of this may be true. But I promise, you can make it work. Somehow, someway. You’ll find a way to stay healthy that works for YOU. And what works for you, will be what’s best for you family as well. 

And that’s the first step to making this work- Focusing on your values as motivators, and not the frickin number on the scale. And not how many calories you burned during your workout.

Lifestyle vs Fads

One of the first things some of my clients say to me is that they don’t want to make something different for themselves than they make their family. They honestly think that they’ll have to in order to be successful in their goals. But this means you’re dieting. And that means it’s not a lifestyle. Plus, you’re showing your kids that dieting is OK and that they shouldn’t accept their bodies. I don’t really think that’s the message you’re going for, mama!

One of the biggest red flags that you’re on a fad diet or a crash diet or any kind of diet instead of “lifestyle”- is that you can’t feed your family the same food as you feed yourself. You should be able to make one healthy meal for everyone and feel good about it for yourself and for your kids. Your portion sizes may differ. You may choose more of one thing than they do, and vice versa. All of that’s ok and will help you stay healthy!

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Making the Right Changes to Stay Healthy

The second red flag is that it causes more stress in your life instead of making your life better. Any changes you make to work towards your goal needs to make your life better in some way– and I don’t mean by lowering the number on the scale. What I mean is this: does it make your week easier to have some prep done ahead of time? Do you have more energy because you’re fueling your body the nutrition it needs? Are your workouts easier because of the choices you’re making? 

You also need to make sure your choices reflect your core values. Your core values are not numbers. Your core values are your kids and family life, your career. What choices can you make that would better these things? Do you want more energy to keep up with the kids? More focus and less stress in your career? More organized at home? Bottom line is that life as a mom means having different priorities and a different relationship to food in general.

Proper Nutrition for the Whole Family

The following is a list of choices you can make nutritionally that benefit the entire family!

  • Choose fresh, whole foods more often than pre-prepared foods
  • Include a variety from all food groups into your day
  • Allow the kids some choices in order to get them involved, but stay in ultimate control. For example, ask “Do you want broccoli or asparagus with dinner tonight?”. Respect their choice, and respect if they deny choosing. 
  • Allow kids to eat as much or as little as they want of each food offered, even if that means they didn’t eat any of it. Forcing/bribing/negotiating with them to eat anything will backfire.
  • Avoid language that implies a food is “good” or “bad”. This only causes feelings guilt. (This goes for both your kids and yourself!)
  • Don’t forbid yourself or your kids of any foods. This only puts that food up on a pedestal and gives it more power over you and over your kids. Simply have a flexible plan that includes mostly nutrient-dense foods so as not to rely on the less nutrient-dense foods for sustenance. 
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Activity for You and the Family

This is for sure going to depend on your everyday routine. You may not be able to exercise the way you used to before you had kids. But you can still find ways to stay active. It does not have to be all or nothing.  Here are some ideas!

  • If possible, get up before the kids for some “me time”. Use this time to do an at home work out, drink coffee, eat breakfast- basically get your self care in so you can feel centered! A quick 20 minute workout is all you need. If this is possible, you’ll feel so much better throughout your day. Focus on how much better your day is as your motivation, and not just “getting in shape”.  Make this your routine. There are some apps that really helped me create a routine that works for me.
  • Take the kids on walks before or after work. On the weekends or if you’re home with the kids during the day, get a couple other moms together for a long walk
  • If your kids are old enough, play active games outside or inside- soccer, basketball, play catch, build an obstacle course with things lying around your backyard or in the house, have a dance party.
  • Take the kids hiking on a weekend
  • Mommy and me fitness or yoga classes
  • Teach the kids yoga
  • Do yoga before bed to unwind for the day
  • Try meditation before or after your workout to help with energy

Busy Moms and Meal Planning

Being a mom is hard AF! Luckily, I created this free download: The Busy Woman’s Guide to Meal Planning Like a Pro

This guide will help you learn to make meal planning a part of your daily life without all the overwhelm of trying to make every meal for the week on Sundays. You’ll be taken step by step and shown how to just make it naturally fit in your daily life.

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