How I Stayed in Shape with Babies, Toddlers & All That Stuff, 10 Tips from Diana Fletcher
Today, as I walked at the track, I started thinking about the difficulty women have with losing weight or staying in shape when they are busy with babies, toddlers, and every other thing that we have to do.
If you are a new mom, a mom with little ones (or even bigger) or you know someone whom this article will help, please send it along.
It has been awhile as my children are now 21, 18, and 15 but I clearly remember the things I did to lose baby weight, stay in shape, and get enough exercise so that I didn't lose my mind. (Exercise helps us mentally and is a great release when you have children.)
My approach was to use what I had. I would take advantage of nap time and get in some exercise, but I had to get creative because as you know...there is no guarantee they will stay sleeping! Here are things I did and perhaps these will give you new ideas of your own.
Use the children. When I had babies, I would lift them above my head, and lower them quickly, but gently, and the baby would laugh. Good for arms, shoulders and back. Note: Do not do this right after feeding the baby.
When baby can sit up, lie on the floor on your back, with knees bent and prop baby on stomach with your bent legs as the back of their "chair." You can do your crunches or half sit-ups and your baby will laugh every time you come up and smile. (You may not want to smile, but you don't want to grimace with your baby looking at you!)
Dance. Pick out lively music for all of you to dance together. (The Beatles were a favorite for us.) The children can jump and twirl while you are doing the same, and everyone gets exercise. If children get to wound up, use slow music as a cool down.
Never munch on their food when you are fixing their meals. Too many calories will be consumed without you realizing. Also, serve them healthy foods and don't get into the habit of the family eating sweets or junk.Eat as much fruit as possible to take care of any cravings for sweets.
Have "water breaks" during the day. Once you get this routine going, your little ones will start to remind you when you forget. Good for everyone!
Walk. Pushing a stroller is good exercise. With my last one, I had a running stroller which was light weight. I would go for a walk every night after dinner, taking the youngest and leaving the two olders with their dad for about 45 minutes. If you do not have a partner, find another mom you can trade time with. Get out for walks as often as possible. (Best sanity saver!)
When the children don't have to be in a stroller, I found that the high school track was perfect to take them to. They could walk on the track with me, or if no one was on the field, they could run around and play. I could see them, I could get to them quickly, and we all had fun.
Start training a mother's helper. A responsible helper, aged 11 or 12, won't cost as much as older babysitters. Have them play with your children while you stay in the house to do a more structured exercise routine. (Make the rule that you cannot be bothered except for emergencies.)
Do not say, "I can't lose this baby weight!" You will attract the very thing you do not want. Say instead, "I am getting healthier and stronger every day!"
This could be the hardest one of all. It was for me, but it is so important. GET ENOUGH SLEEP. You will be fresher, think more clearly and in a sharper manner, and have more energy to stay active. Also, you will not crave as many bad carbs and sweets. (When you do not get enough sleep, hormones get out of whack and you get hungrier...for all the wrong foods!)
Think how wonderful it will be when you feel good, look good and have a good time with your kids!