At the beginning of my weight-loss journey, my life coach, Kate Larsen, asked me to fill out a life balance wheel with eight different sections: career, money, health, family and friends, significant other/romance, personal growth, fun and recreation, and spirituality, ranking each section from one to seven. The premise of this exercise? If the sections of the wheel weren’t in balance, I could expect a bumpy ride.
And, frankly, my wheel was out of balance. During my first session with Kate I had several “ah-ha!” moments. It was no wonder I’ve struggled with my weight over the years—I’ve been putting everyone else’s needs before mine, especially my health and fitness goals. As a mother, of course, the children’s needs come first. But in the big picture, if parents aren’t taking care of themselves, then the children’s health and wellness can be jeopardized.
I want to be the healthiest, happiest, most energetic, and most fun mom possible. However, if my health is being challenged, I can’t be at my best. Since I’ve started this weight-loss journey I’ve been making an effort to ensure that my life is set up for my success and I’m still able to be a dedicated mother and wife. Now I:
1. Go to sleep at a decent time. Quality sleep is important for weight loss since a lack of zzzs can mess with our metabolism and make us hungry the next day. Before I went to sleep around 11. Now my goal is to be in bed by 10—sometimes I’m under the covers as early as 9.
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2. Include my workouts in my schedule. This is still a challenge for me, but it has helped me ensure that I make time for exercise every day. I used to never schedule my workouts; now it’s just part of my day.
3. Plan my meals. I told my dietitian, Lauren, that when my husband is out of town I don’t plan meals out. She said that I was doing myself a disservice. Now I try and figure my meals out the day before—whether he’s in town or not—to ensure I’m not scrounging for food in a hungry state, tempted to eat anything.
4. Buy foods that will contribute to a healthy body. Purchasing healthy food certainly isn’t always the cheapest route, but it pays in the long run by supporting good health. Before I rarely bought organic foods; now it’s the majority of what’s in my shopping cart. Both my husband and I are having fun trying new things, and my children are warming to the idea of new foods. I tell then that they don’t have to like it but they have to try it.
5. Take time on the weekends to work out. Weekends can be totally crazy in our household, so it’s always easy for me to fall into the habit of skipping exercise. My goal is to get to the gym at least once on the weekend.
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Kate warned me that when people begin re-prioritizing, there is sometimes backlash from others. I was worried that putting myself first was going to cause some rift in the family, but luckily my clan has been supportive.
Stepping back and looking at my life, I now realize I was living day to day without much intention as far as my health and fitness was concerned. Making myself a priority is a challenge, but being aware and writing down my goals is helping me follow through and I know that will lead to eventually reaching my goals.