I'm quite sure that the vast majority of you are motivated and ready to roll with this Fit Friday project. But I venture to say that no one is more excited than I am about it. I am PASSIONATE about proper nutrition and exercise, and ultimately, health. (And, yes, I do drive my family crazy with it. My dad is about ready to commit me.)
Here are a few tips to get you started on your fitness journey. Consider it a gift--from me to you.
First of all, this is an opportunity for you to change your life. And it's not just your life you'll be changing. It's the lives of your entire family. You, your husband, and your children. You're adopting a healthier lifestyle, and a side effect of that healthy lifestyle is a happier mommy who fits into a teeny tiny little pair of really cool jeans. SO, in summary, first lesson: It's for your health. And it's a family affair. And the family has to like it...Because you're the mommy.
If you'll go back in my posts and read the one about kids and childhood obesity, you'll understand why it's so important that we make these lifestyle changes not just for us, but for our spouses and kids, too.
Now, for the meat and potatoes of it, so to speak.
This weight loss thing is 60% exercise, 40% diet. So, my suggestion is that you start with exercise. Don't try to cut calories dramatically. It will only serve to cause your body to feel like you're starving and hang on to the extra fat.
One major complaint I have with Weight Watchers is that I think they over-emphasize portion size (although that is important!) and very much under-emphasize the importance of physical activity. And I think they subscribe to that ridiculous notion that you shouldn't eat after a certain time at night. Pet peeve.
So, on the eating front, I recommend you start making small changes. Small. Really small. Try replacing that Dr. Pepper with a glass of water. Switch to whole wheat bread and skim milk. Your family might not even notice, especially if you make the changes a little at time and don't just go into your pantry and have yourself a major cleanout. It's too shocking and it won't stick. And your family will notice what you're doing. They don't have to know that you're making healthy changes. (Yeah, there's a certain amount of sneakiness to this whole thing, but come on, you're a mom. You're no stranger to sneakiness.)
One more thing you need to know about eating. You need to eat ALL THE TIME. (Wow, really???) Yes, really. I eat constantly. You just have to eat the right things. So, have a snack! Have a bunch of snacks! (Mental note: Do blog on how to eat the right foods.)
Now, on to exercise...
First thing you need to know is that this exercise thing isn't really all that time-consuming. Well, it is time-consuming for me, but that's because I'm a bit obsessed and over-the-top, but that's beside the point.
You need about 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week in order to be healthy. By the way, healthy doesn't necessarily mean skinny. I know you moms are busy, so I'm telling you right now that it doesn't have to be 30 continuous minutes. Ten minutes here while you're waiting for the dryer to finish and ten minutes there right before the baby gets up from his nap will do just fine. Grab a jump rope (or just fake it!) and get with it.
If you're lucky enough to fit in a trip to the Y, grab an eliptical cycle, recumbant bike, or treadmill and do some interval work. Intervals are shown to give you more cardiovascular (yeah, health again) benefit and burn more fat than just your run-of-the-mill straight 30 minutes of cardio training. Try this:
- Five minutes at a brisk pace to warm up.
- 30 seconds of sprint--as hard as you can go without having to call an ambulance to cart you off to the ER.
- 1.5 minutes of what I call "working recovery." A brisk pace, but let your heart rate come down.
- Repeat 30 second sprint and 1.5 minute recovery until you're up to a total of about 25 minutes.
- Five minutes to cool down.
These intervals actually give you more of an "afterburn" effect. You'll burn more calories throughout your day than if you just did straight cardio work.
I have more cardio workouts, and I'd be happy to post them upon request.
You can also adapt this interval technique if you're doing the 10 minute spurts at home. Easy peazy lemon squeezy, as my daughter would say! (Yeah, she learned that from her British friends across the pond. So cute.)
That should be enough to get you started on your fitness journey. I'm trying to get ready for my nursing entrance exam on Saturday (prayers appreciated!), so I'll post more next week.