As a 27 year old mom of a two year old, a four year old and a three week old baby girl, I know what it’s like to be busy and distracted. Along with having three children, I’m a cheerleading coach, a macro nutrition coach, a wife, and full time homemaker.
I’m also getting back to tracking my macros again after taking a break during pregnancy (hello, food aversions and nausea) and implementing a fitness routine again. Many people are under the impression that because I’m a macro nutrition coach myself, tracking macros is a natural way of life that comes as easily as breathing. I am here to tell you, that is SO not the case. Tracking is never easy or natural by any means in the beginning. Not even for us coaches! After taking a short break, it’s as if I’m starting from scratch again. As coaches, we love you because we ARE you. We struggle, we go through hard seasons of life, we juggle children, spouses, careers, household duties, life changes and circumstances and all of the things too. So, how do we take care of business while also prioritizing our nutrition, fitness and overall physical and mental health? Let’s talk about that!
Many clients will ask us coaches, “How do I get motivated to workout? How do I get motivated to get back to tracking?” The answer is probably going to disappoint you: you don’t. You can put on the cute workout gear, buy new tennis shoes, drink some preworkout, but ultimately, motivation is always going to be fleeting. Motivation is described as “The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.” The problem with motivation is that it’s based on our feelings. Feelings wax and wane with life and seasons. As women, we are like flowers, constantly going through different seasons of life and not always feeling our best. I know this may come as a disappointment, but the good news is that there is something we can always rely on, and that’s our dedication and determination. Dedication is defined as “The quality of being committed to a task, goal or purpose.” Dedication is commitment based. As long as we are committed, our dedication won’t fail us. This is great news! As long as we are willing to keep going, our dedication will never fail us.
It isn’t easy to make ourselves do the things that we aren’t used to doing in the beginning. But, the more often we make these healthy decisions, the more our brain wants to do them. Coach Jamie said it best when she said, “Our brain has multiple pathways that it can take. The brain naturally wants to take the easy path that we are used to. We have to rewire our brains to WANT to do the healthy thing that produces better, new results.” This is where habits are formed, good or bad. No one wakes up and says, “I really feel like planning out my menu and preparing my protein sources for the week.” Not even us coaches! It takes time out of our already busy lives. But, ultimately it is the healthy choice, both physically and mentally. It feels so good when I know I have protein sources in my fridge ready for my family and I, so that I don’t have to make fresh protein in the middle of the day while I’m working, nursing, cleaning, etc. I also don’t want to have to go to the grocery store multiple times a week with three kids. Meal prepping and planning allows me to make less trips to the store, and waste less food. It’s also nice to refer to my best friend and planner, MyFitnessPal, and see what I’m eating for the day. I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to question if I’m getting the right things for my body as a postpartum nursing momma, I just know my body is getting what it needs per the guidelines set by my own coach (it’s true, us coaches need our own SFM coach too!) As long as I meet my numbers, my body is getting everything it needs to grow a human baby, workout and thrive. That’s why developing the right habits through dedication and determination is actually very freeing, you no longer have to guess if you’re doing it right.
A question we all need to ask ourselves is, “What is my identity? What do I want to be identified as by those who know me?” I identify myself as a fit mom and wife. Excellent nutrition and regular fitness and activity is important to me. I want my kids to possess the same values, as well, so I lead by example and talk to them about these things, even as young as they are. As☠yourself, “Do my everyday actions align with my ideal identity?” If not, don’t fret! You can develop new habits to live out a new identity at any point in time, if the will to do so is there.
If you are postpartum, or even just going through a life-change that takes up a lot of your time or energy, I want to offer you my best tips that have really helped me prioritize myself in the midst of this busy life season:
- Ask for help. And take any help that’s offered to you, from those you feel comfortable around. We can’t do it all, and it’s okay to admit that!
- Don’t let anyone tell you when it’s time to get back to this or that, or when it’s time to start tracking or exercising again. Only you know when the right time is to start doing these things again. As a coaching staff, us coaches have all been completely different as far as when we started tracking again, when we started exercising again, etc. Do not put pressure on yourself to be “back” by a certain point. You have to feel ready, or you will feel overwhelmed and resentful.
- Put your oxygen mask on first. Remember, you were a person before you became a momma. You’re still that person! Make time to do the things you enjoy. For me, this is running, shopping, taking bubble baths, reading and coaching. I have to make time for these things or I just feel like nothing more than a milk machine. It’s important to remember that you matter too, not just your baby and your family.
- Nutrition and water ALWAYS come first. Prioritize nutrition before you worry about exercise. You cannot out-exercise a lacking or bad diet. We eat every few hours, and we need food to survive. A healthy diet and tons of water is also essential for healing after giving birth. If you aren’t healed, exercise isn’t good for your body to begin with. Exercise does not come before the things we put in our bodies. Get healthy movement and exercise when you AND your body are truly ready, but above all else, chug your water and eat well!
- Get sunlight and healthy movement. Data repeatedly shows that taking a walk in the sunlight every day will do wonders for our mood and mental health.
- Finally, talk to a loved one and your OB/GYN if you are feeling frequently sad, anxious, mad, resentful or just “off” in general. As a woman who suffers from Postpartum Depression, I am here to tell you that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. You are so loved, you are an amazing mom and you DESERVE to be happy and healthy. Mental health is an important aspect of overall health too. Your OB/GYN will be there every step of the way to make sure you feel like yourself again, with a little help and TLC.
Here at Stay Fit Mom, we love you and we are rooting for you, Momma! Soak in those baby snuggles because this new season in your life is very short and sweet. Try to take every moment in, and remember, you’re doing great!