This is a guest post from my friend Tiffany Lee Gaston – she is a National Figure Competitor, freelance writer, Paleo chef, wife and mother of three children, based out of Arizona. She is an advocate for health and fitness and aims to help inspire and educate others along their journey and I truly admire her for that. She’s in wicked shape and is a very successful figure athlete. Enjoy :)
Looking back 10 years ago to a time prior to having children, I was always active, healthy and fit. It has been a top priority of mine for as long as I can remember. There was never a question that after having children I would want to feel the same, if not better and to maintain my active lifestyle for my kids. Now, I have three wonderful kids ages 10, 9 and 4 years old and I still practice what I preach. They keep me young, active and always expecting more out of myself. They help me to push myself harder, constantly improve and lead by example.
Just because you’ve had children and become a “Mom” does not mean that you drop the ball in that department. Making time for yourself to be able to do the things you’ve always done simply becomes a bit trickier. Here are my top 5 tips for getting back in shape and staying there in the busy world of Mommyhood.
1) Be active!
Put yourself first. Now I know this sounds self -absorbed, but hear me out. By putting yourself first, I don’t mean you should neglect your husband or children, rather you prioritize your needs better. If it makes you feel good to workout everyday, then you will need to find a way to work it in without disrupting the flow of things. For me, I wake up before what feels like the rest of the world most days, to get my workout in. There’s no guilt this way and you are free to handle the rest of the daily grind. Some of my favorite workouts are done with nothing more than bodyweight or a sandbag. Functional training can be done right from home and you can get a phenomenal workout in just 15-20 minutes. Strength and cardio all in one! Sounds doable, right?
[Jon’s 2-cents: Tiff’s bang on – you don’t need fancy equipment or an hour time slot to get in a great workout. Choosing the most “bang for your buck” exercises can get you hot and bothered in just 20-30 minutes. Make time for yourself and make the necessary changes in your life to ensure you always come first.]
2) Eat right.
Making healthy food choices serves to reinforce your efforts with your fitness. Get rid of any junk in the house and enlist your kid’s assistance with the grocery shopping. Schooling them on healthy fuel for their bodies can be fun and time well spent together. Better yet, involve them in the preparation and cooking of a meal. You never know, you may just have the next Iron Chef on your hands! In allowing my kids to play and help make a mess in the kitchen, my middle daughter turns out to have quite the love of cooking and baking. Because of this, I’ve noticed her interest in trying lots of new foods she may otherwise not be exposed to.
[Jon’s 2-cents: I couldn’t agree more! Exposing your kids to the process of eating healthy (buying, food prep and the most important, eating) will develop the knowledge and awareness for hopefully better food choices as they age. Instilling good habits at a young age is what all parents should strive for.]
3) Retrain you brain.
As a mom, it is especially challenging to take care of you. Taking care of the house, the kids, the husband, the shopping, the cooking, the laundry and cleaning consume much of your time. Taking time to meditate or relax in any form that inspires you to keep going strong should be an important part of your day no matter how brief. Read a good book, take a bath, get a massage, have a girls night, a date night with the hubby, whatever it takes to focus on what’s important to you. Pampering yourself a little goes a long way since many moms put ourselves on the bottom of the to-do list.
[Jon’s 2-cents: Life is all about balance and at times, I know it’s hard to make time for everything. Being fit and healthy means having balance in your life and doing what you love. Remember to never “look” for time in your schedule, actually “make” time in your schedule. It will take work and more organizing, but it will pay off in the long run.]
4) Treat yourself.
If you’ve made healthy meal choices all week long and exercised, you deserve a little splurge. In fact, your body benefits from it. Refilling your body’s leptin levels by going off the rails for one meal a week helps this very important metabolic regulating hormone. I do this every Saturday night whether it’s a date night with my husband or the whole family. I enjoy indulging with them and my kids really get a kick out of seeing mom off the wagon.
[Jon’s 2-cents: You can’t be perfect 100% of the time. There’s no balance and you’ll probably go insane and go on a crazy binge (that you’ll likely regret). Treating yourself from time to time and indulging in the not-so-good-for-you snacks or foods is part of human nature. Be “good” 80-90% of the time and truly enjoy your treats when you have them.]
5) Play hard!
Being a mom is no doubt trying at times. Never lose sight of the fact that you are the very first and often the most valuable role model in your child’s eyes. Structure is a necessary part of raising responsible, well-behaved little people, but spending time playing with your kids is invaluable. A family hike, camping trip, bike ride or any fun activity together shows your children how to be active, healthy and promotes a greater sense of self. These will often be when some of the greatest memories are made.
[Jon’s 2-cents: Again, instilling good habits at a young age, whether it’s in the kitchen or regarding physical activity, is invaluable for future decisions about eating and exercising. Involve the entire family and make sure to do things you all enjoy. As Tiff said, you’ll create memories that will last forever, all the while, getting and staying healthy in the process.]
In closing, being a fit mom is not finding success in any one area of the above. It is about learning the delicate balance of each element and seamlessly blending it into your own family’s needs. We can excel in one area and be deficient in another, and that does equate to success. A healthy balance is the number one key ingredient to being your best YOU!
Tiffany Lee Gaston is an Arizona based freelance writer, Internationally published fitness model, National level figure competitor, Paleo chef and mother of three. She has a varied athletic background from gymnastics to long distance running and is currently competing on the NPC figure circuit as a Team Bombshell Athlete.
As a health and fitness advocate, Tiffany aims to inspire others to achieve their optimum health goals through proper nutrition and exercise and regularly shares her Paleo recipes on her website www.tiffanyleegaston.com.
Among other things, Tiffany’s greatest passions are living a healthy and fit lifestyle. Her top priority is educating her own children about the importance and benefits of being fit and healthy, as she leads by example. She enjoys inspiring and motivating others on their own journey as well.
Facebook: Tiffany Lee Gaston
Photo credits: Jenna Mayer and Mike Byerly