Post-baby weight gain. The ultimate “Welcome to motherhood” gift basket. I’ve always been pretty healthy and active. So when my weight started to yo-yo dramatically following my daughter’s arrival, I was surprised and frustrated, especially since I would gain and lose without changing my eating or exercise habits. When Lorelai became fully mobile, I saw a dramatic weight loss, thanks to the rarely eating, disrupted sleeping, constant breastfeeding, non-stop toddler chasing regimen I survived on. But once the weaning began, the sleep became more consistent and hot meals were more regular, the weight started creeping back up.
Now that our schedule has normalized, maintaining a healthy balance has become the challenge. I refuse to diet because I’ve historically found them to be unsustainable. Additionally, I don’t always have the time or energy to engage in a full-hour workout every day. So during the week, I have to be subtler about maintaining a nourishing lifestyle.
Here are a few of the ways I incorporate healthy habits into my daily routine.
Incentivized water consumption
I don’t like water. Never have. But I know its good for me, so I give myself incentives and rewards for drinking it. I make myself drink a big glass when I first wake up, before I’m allowed to have coffee. The same goes before I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. I typically end the night on a high note with hot water and lemon.
Include toddlers in exercise
I’m addicted to the Physique 57 barre technique, so I try to do a few routines every morning. At first, my daughter balked when I tried to work out and demanded that I hold her the entire time. But once I started asking her to “exercise with mama,” she began to love it and imitates the movements. Even if it’s only 20-30 minutes a day, it’s a chance to stay active and set a positive example about the importance of taking care of yourself.
Get up extra early
I won’t lie to you – I can’t (read: won’t) wake up at 5am every single day to exercise before my family awakens. But once a week or so, it’s nice to get up this early, lose myself in an intense workout and have some time to drink coffee and make breakfast by myself.
Add something pure to every meal
I’ve made a habit of adding something fresh and wholesome to each meal I consume. By pure, I mean completely unadulterated by dressing, sugar, oil or other condiments. A French carrot salad, roasted vegetables, fresh fruit bowl and steamed broccoli make frequent appearances. Breakfast is typically my biggest meal of the day, so I’m no stranger to eating dinner leftovers or a large salad and roasted carrots when I wake up instead of traditional breakfast foods. To hell with social convention, right?!
Eliminate junk from the pantry
If there is processed junk food anywhere in my home, rest assured that boredom, stress or laziness will encourage me to devour said food. So I remove the temptation by stocking our home with fresh fruit, quick cooking veggies and healthy(ish) home baked goods. It’s a foolproof guarantee that everyone gets enough produce each day and becomes accustomed to choosing healthy snack options. When we do bake – which is pretty frequent – I sub out eggs, butter and sugar for more natural alternatives such as coconut sugar, chia seeds, coconut oil and maple syrup. It allows me to bake little indulgences for my family without feeling guilty about the ingredients.
What are some of the ways you stay healthy during the week?