I could talk about this subject for HOURS. I have loved learning about the health, healing and toning of the body since I was really young.
The key word for this subject would have to be BALANCE!!!
I am NOT a fan of fad diets, diet pills or programs that promise to make you lose LARGE amounts of weight in just a couple of days. Not healthy AT ALL!!! What we really want to focus on is making life long changes in our diets.
BUT, as mothers who have had children, we are OFTEN the target for these little “quick fixes.” Why? Because we have most likely gained a lot of weight while having those kids (I will talk more about staying fit while pregnant in another post) and want it to just magically go away without too much effort.
NOTHING WORTH WHILE IS ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT GREAT EFFORT!!!
If you are an EMOTIONAL EATER, take the time to FIND OUT what emotional need you are STARVING to have met. You already KNOW it is not food.
Food will only help you if you are starving physically. You already know that when you are emotionally starving for something, food is the LAST thing you are starving for. (But hey, it’s convenient and doesn’t require you to face the REAL problem, so you keep turning to it)
I know from PERSONAL experience that the emotional need is more often than not LOVE. Instead of turning to food, try snuggling next to your children and read a fun book. Let yourself feel the love that your children are so willing to give you at any moment you need it.
Round up your kids and go serve someone. You will feel love like you have never felt it before when you are in the service of someone else. (You could even have the kids help you do a fun service for daddy while he is at work) It is truly amazing how love will fill that large emotional void in your heart……………no matter what may be causing that void.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!!
How many times have you eaten something and then felt horrible afterward? Well, your body is trying to tell you something. That particular food should be eaten in GREAT moderation or maybe even avoided altogether. It is different for each person (since our bodies are all different) so I am not going to make a list.
I will give you an example though. My sister can NOT eat bread without feeling bloated, gaining weight and feeling tired. It really makes her feel horrible. But for me, I can eat bread all day and feel GREAT! (Without gaining weight)
For me though, I have issues with scrambled eggs. They give me heartburn and they seem to NEVER digest. So, I avoid them.
Eating LOTS of fruit and veggies is HUGE in slimming down THE RIGHT WAY.
Fill your plate with more of these REAL foods and go light on the fats and sugars. I am not a fan of “Fat Free” but I am a fan of simply having less fat. Don’t fill up on “fat free” items. It will honestly play tricks with your mind and you will actually eat more than if you had just had the REAL thing and had it in moderation.
I like to focus on slimming down rather than “losing weight.” Weighing yourself too often can sometimes do more damage than good. Weighing in once a week or even every two weeks is much healthier than every day. Your goal should really be to see that muscle get toned and see less flabby skin, not weighing a certain amount. When you are toned and healthy, your body will go to a weight that is normal FOR YOU on its own.
Eating MORE OFTEN is a GREAT way to slim down. I like to eat about 1 cup of food every two hours. This keeps your blood sugar levels even (which keeps you from those crazy cravings) and keeps you from feeling REALLY hungry. (which can lead to a binge)
Some fun things I like to eat are:
1.) Sliced tomatoes with cottage cheese and chives on top. They are so yummy!!
2.) A GREAT protein boost that I like, is taking half a can of tuna (well drained) and mixing in about 1-2 Tbs. of BBQ sauce. I use this as a dip for my celery or carrots and it is so good. (I know it sounds weird but you have to try it before you dismiss it altogether. It really is yummy!)
3.) Apples are GREAT for heartburn.
4.) Yogurt with some fresh fruit is always refreshing.
5.) Black beans on top of lettuce with a little bit of ranch or salsa is good too.
Because I don’t want this post to be HUGE, I will stop there on the “health” topic.
Just get creative and try new ways to make HEALTHY food fun for you.
If you think you can just eat your way skinny, think again. You can cut down ALL you want in the food department, but that will not help you build muscle and burn fat. Sorry!!
The key is to eat healthy and EXERCISE. (Back to that BALANCE word!!)
When I was younger I thought that the ONLY way you could get fit and toned was by doing those awful exercise tapes that made you jump around for what seemed like an eternity. I DREADED exercising every day when I did those tapes.
Just like listening to your body when you eat, listen to your body when you exercise. It doesn’t have to be something you hate. Have FUN with it!!! Change it up now and then. Don’t let it become a horrible routine you dread doing every day.
I have found that I REALLY enjoy walking. But I don’t just walk, I get the most out of my time. I strap on some wrist weight bands and I pump my arms in front of me as I walk. This works your arms and waist REALLY well.
I don’t walk slow AT ALL. I can usually walk 1 mile in under 10 minutes. (Depending on my energy level that day) So walking 3-4 miles a day in 30-40 minutes is doable.
I also enjoy rollerblading. I like my elliptical and riding a bike.
But even after I do these things, I take at LEAST 20-30 minutes to tone and do yoga.
I really like using the "Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class" book. All of his moves are AWESOME! They really strengthen and lengthen my muscles and he doesn’t get into some of the weird meditation techniques that are out there. By toning AND doing yoga, you will get the muscle you need to burn fat, but you will also have lean muscle, not the big buff looking kind that should only be on men. (My opinion)
You don’t have to hate exercising. Do what makes YOU feel good. If you like the tapes that make you learn a dance or jump around GREAT! If not, try something else you do enjoy. Just make sure you DO IT!! You will feel like a million dollar mom and you will be around a lot longer to enjoy your family to the fullest. :)