As a mother, it can be easy to ignore your own health in favor of seeing to the health of your kids or the health of your spouse. You care that they get enough sleep at night... You care about whether they are eating nutritious food... You demand they exercise… The list goes on. But hold on a minute. What about you?
What often happens is that mothers neglect their own health while seeing to everyone else's. But if your health goes down the drain, what then? Taking care of your health should be right up there with protecting the health of your family because the two go hand in hand.
If you want to change but don't know where to start, here are 5 simple steps that you can take.
1. Get enough sleep.
Studies have shown that when you don't get enough sleep, there are many downsides. For example, you are more prone to accidents. You are at risk of many diseases. You are more cranky during the day and have less self-control. When you have less self-control, you aren't able to make good choices when it comes to your diet and exercise. So really, the first step in revamping your health comes with putting in some quality sleep time.
Try to go to bed a couple hours before midnight. The hours before midnight are said to contribute to feeling refreshed the next day. If it's too hard to make a huge change all in one go, consider moving your bedtime earlier by 15 minutes every day for the next week. Getting enough sleep will help you transform the rest of your health life.
2. Watch what you eat.
Tired of feeling tired, bloated, dumpy? You can transform your energy levels by paying closer attention to what you eat. If diet plans seem too complicated to follow, just stick to common-sense advice when it comes to meals. Eat lots of vegetables. Eat less refined foods - the end.
People make it complicated because they don't like to eat vegetables, so they look for shortcuts. But there aren't any shortcuts. Vegetables are good for you. Refined foods (anything that is processed or has more than two ingredients on the food label) are bad for you. There you have it.
3. Get moving.
Here too, simplicity is best. You don't need a crazy, complicated plan to hit the US national health targets for exercise. All you need to is 150 minutes per week or 21 minutes per day of moderate aerobic exercise. This can include brisk walking, gardening, mowing the lawn, etc. Leave the car at home, and walk to the grocery store. Lugging all your groceries home is a sure way to get your heart rate up. Take the stairs whenever possible.
For those who feel that starting a fitness plan will be too much for you to handle, just start with being active for 21 minutes per day. Once you nail that for a month straight, move on to adding strength training into the mix. Little wins add up. Once you are riding the wave of success, starting a fitness regime will feel more achievable.
4. Visit your gynecologist.
Keeping on top of your health goes beyond food and weight loss goals. Make sure that you visit your gynecologist once a year for a pap smear to check that everything is as it should be. Some gynecologists, like David Ghozland, offer other checkups and services to make it easy for women to get a lot taken care of in one place.
5. Stay in tune with your progress.
Journaling about where you are in your health journey will help you be more aware of the changes in your energy levels as they occur. Keeping a weight and fitness chart will also be an encouraging reminder of how far you have come. And when you see yourself slip up a little, you will be able to adjust accordingly.
Making your health a priority is not a selfish endeavor. It is part of making sure you will be able to care for your family for years to come.