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A ray of hope for all those excuses for being unhealthy, unfit and over-weight

Muffin Top From Above

Muffin Top

 

Yesterday I asked what I thought was a pretty innocuous question on facebook and twitter ” I’d love all the reasons / excuses why you ended up unhealthy, unfit and overweight?”.

I was just looking to finish a list for my book, and expecting a couple of reasons.  I must have had 100 answers by the end of the day!

I was so inspired by the number of answers that I decided to change what we talked about on Radio Verulam’s drive time show with Danny Smith and discuss this instead.

 

 

Whilst there were the typical ones:

Timing – basically having too much on and being unable to focus on one more thing

Lethargy  and lack of prioritising- not being able to get motivated and never putting themselves first

Circumstances – Financial problems, and lack of support at home or with childcare

There were also a HUGE number of mums with illnesses, diseases, injuries, disabilities, mental health issues, stress, exhaustion etc.

Actually this makes sense.

Giving birth is tough on the body.  It’s also tough on the stress levels and mental health.  So it makes sense that actually there might be more mums struggling with these sorts of challenges.

 

Listen here for the re-run:

 

 

Timing

I totally agree with this.  There is no point adding another stressor to life by feeling guilty when you can’t prioritise getting healthy and fit at the same time as already having an overloaded life.  It would actually be ‘unhealthy’ to add more to your plate.

As long as you know you won’t leave it too long; i.e. no longer than a year or two, I think this is a perfectly reasonable ‘excuse’.

Also it doesn’t have to be so black and white.  Rather than aiming for some image of amazing ‘health’, why not try a couple of things gradually added over a 3 month period?

I would suggest:

1) Drinking more water and being thoughtful about how many cups of coffee you drink

2) Going for a 15-30 minute walk once or twice a week

3) Eating 5 fruit and veg a day

4) Stretch for 5 mins a couple of times per week

I would like to lose half a stone at the moment.  My body is focussed on getting healthier.  I look MUCH healthier, but the weight loss as you can see from my vlogs is going at the amazingly slow pace of 1lb per month argh!  Guess it knows best ;o)

 

Lethargy and Prioritising

We get tired.  We put the family first.  We get more tired.  It’s a vicious circle.

It does seem to get easier when the kids are all at school – you can tell the school mums who’s kids are all school age and who still has little ones by the muffin tops!

Eventually it’s time to break the circle, and luckily I have loads of tips on how to get your head and heart up for losing weight.  It’s an easy mental exercise to link all the things and people you do love to getting healthier, fitter and stronger.

Remember the reason for doing this is not like it was at school; it’s not about being good at sport and winning.  It’s about having some fun, and feeling better in ourselves so that we can enjoy life more.

If you don’t want to use my exercises to sort your motivation out, then hows about trying one of the hypnotherapy apps available for phones (I like Andrew Johnson’s because of the scottish accent!).  Or EFT (tapping on the meridian points while discussing a problem) can be very helpful in breaking down barriers to weight loss.

 

Circumstances

I was surprised that not as many people as I might have expected blamed finances on not being able to afford healthy food.  But it is definitely a problem for example I saw an organic apple was 50p the other day.  So in a family of 4 it would cost £2 per day and £730 per year – that is ridiculous!

Luckily there are all sorts of blogs appearing on a daily basis with hints and tips for feeding a family on a budget (feel free to add yours in the comments).  There are also food banks and options appearing in many cities where you can buy a bowl fool of fruit or veg at massively subsidised prices.  For anyone struggling to buy food I would ask you to put aside any guilt / pride you might have and take all the options available to you.

Luckily walking is free (although if you have an injury you might want a pair of trainers).  Aim for 10,000 steps per day (check out my Fibromyalgia posts for the supplement lists that helped me to manage to walk every day).

Playing with the kids is also free – mine will play tag every day if I offer.

If you have no child care, then it might be that you need to explain to your kids that you are going to exercise for 30 minutes a couple of times a week and they either join you or play on their own for a bit.  You can always steal the kids xBox or Wii and do an exercise game!

 

Illness/Disease/Injury/Disability/Stress/Exhaustion

When the body is stressed it releases sugar into the body – not helpful for weight loss.  It also shuts down all non-neccessary functions e.g. digestion and focusses on what it needs for ‘fight or flight’.  If this goes on for too long, then it can definitely make healthy weight loss more difficult.

So I don’t want to add extra stress by making you feel guilty heh!

But I also don’t want you to stay a ‘victim’ of the problem for the rest of your life.  I totally understand how difficult it can be – I whined about having PCOS for 10yrs before losing the weight, and have certainly been upset about the chronic pain from Fibromyalgia.

So let’s look at it this way:

It may be more difficult.

It may mean working our way around limitations and challenges.

But if we don’t do it, things will only get worse.

So it’s worth the effort?

Loads can be done purely with nutrition and hydration if you are physically challenged.  You can definitely get to a healthier weight purely using them.

It might be also be worth focussing on the problems causing the exhaustion and stress first, and putting in things to reduce them first.

There are also professionals who can help you with tips on supplements and exercise e.g. health food shops, nutritionists, naturopaths, physiotherapists etc.  This is especially important if you have an illness or medications which actually affect your weight and hunger levels.  But it’s always important to check with your doctor, especially if you are already on medication.  For instance I take 5-htp for my sleep, but it can’t be mixed with certain anti-depressants, and things like epilepsy meds are extremely vulnerable to supplements.

Always listen to your intuition as well.  For instance, my body is NOT the kind that enjoys fasting, in fact ‘boom and bust’ is a bad habit of people with Fibromyalgia.  However one of my best friends felt at her fittest when doing a diet that meant eating less for a couple of days per week.  There is also the concept that come of us are more suited to certain foods, and I think that there maybe something in that: my husband is definitely better with more protein for instance.  Never ignore that small voice inside, but question it if it is suggesting something extreme, fadish or ‘quick fix’.

 

A note:

I am not a nutritionist.  I’m not a personal trainer.  I’m just someone who has struggled with health, fitness and weight for years, and happened to learn the ‘secrets’.

My aim is to help the mums who are ‘under average’ healthy to improve their health; not to make them the healthiest in the world.

Someone rightly mentioned that there are many versions of what is considered ‘healthy’.  My version of what is ‘healthy’ is a well balanced meal, including all food types.  I’m a fan of moderation and balance.  There are MUCH ‘healthier’ options out there.  I just don’t think that they are practical for everyone.  But I’m hoping that some people will learn the basics from me and then go on to learn even more.  Meanwhile the rest of us will be much healthier than the average person on the street, with enough energy and vigour to enjoy being mums.

We have all used excuses/reasons to avoid getting healthier and fitter (apart from a few!) – but we don’t have to do it forever!

23 comments to A ray of hope for all those excuses for being unhealthy, unfit and over-weight

  • Good timing as I linked to you’re blog earlier as I’m getting on top of my health lol
    I have issue with weight more than anything but keeping it on. I can quite easily go days without food and have spent the past 6 or so years getting from a size 4 to a 10/12 and then staying there. I am quite muscular because of gardening, hooping etc so ignore weight. I also ignore BMI my GP said I need to lose at least a stone, I said no.
    I can come up with loads of excuses not to keep healthy, physical illness, mental illness, time, the trick is I think to concentrate on the reasons why I should choose to make the effort, more energy, helps with mental and physical illness, healthier me means being a healthier mum. I need to look after me in order to look after small boy so you can’t really get a better reason than that, especially as if I’m ill I don’t have anyone to look after me

    • MummyWhisperer

      @greenfroggyfae I saw your recent post where you started to appreciate how tough it is looking after small boy, even though at the same time he is wonderful and amazing too – I’m glad you are asking for some help and really hope that you get it. That BMI is a pants method of measuring weight, the hip-waist ratio is a much better one. You are doing a REALLY REALLY good job.

  • Great post, I am a fan of balance too, I don’t like ‘diets’ because they make you focus on what you can’t eat, or ‘exercise regimes’ because they quickly become like torture, but we can all find fun ways to exercise by ourselves, or with friends, and we all have healthy foods that we do like, so I think being gentle on ourselves and finding simple non-stressful ways to be healthier is something we can all manage, self-belief is where it starts, we musn’t criticise ourselves, we just need to do our best, and the rest should take care of itself… Cat Williams

  • glad it isn’t just me! I have been sending myself mental postcards to myself from my jogging, a kind of message to myself to remember how good it felt once I got out there. It helped, although I am trying not to see it as the end of the world if I miss it, just a blip I can get past!

    • MummyWhisperer

      @alexanderresidence have you tried vision boarding? It can be a fun way to build up a picture and remind ourselves of what we are aiming for – I must write up a blog post about it soon, as I’ve even got the kids doing it.

  • Wandered over via WobblesWednesday, great thought-provoking post! X

    • MummyWhisperer

      Thanks @jeanette, I tried to put a comment on your blog, but there was a problem with my wordpress login – probably a glitch argh!

  • I’m @catstaycalm if you want to find me on Twitter, I am the recently published author of a book on staying calm, and am trying to learn how to blog, I think your blog is great, so thanks! x

  • What a really fantastic post and so positive, there is always going to get in your way but i think being honest with yourself about what you eat, what exercise you do is massively positive, you cant hide from honesty xx

  • Love your solution orientated attitude. Really happy that I’m ticking most of your health points, although I definitely need to drink more water :)

    • MummyWhisperer

      @Jen that water is important – it makes sure the body gets all the nutrients in that healthy food you are eating and makes the kidneys and liver work better for you! Just take it gently – adding a little more each week and it will become a normal habit for you.

  • [...] How to Get Over the Excuses for Being Unhealthy, Unfit and Overweight [...]

  • Very good points. In my case the weight gain is caused by a sugar boost that I need on a daily basis, as my older son who has autism has sleeping problems. When he’s not sleeping, I’m awake as well, and to keep myself on the go during the day I keep munching on chocolate, which is clearly not a good idea.

    • MummyWhisperer

      @Galina oh I totally understand. For you it’s probably about keeping your eye on a window of opportunity where you would have the time to get into a new habit with easy to access healthy snacks available and more stuff to deal with the stress of it all. I love dark chocolate – a square of that tends to last longer for me than milk chocolate.

  • Losing weight shouldn’t be a chore or a system that keeps us shackled. It should be fun and liberating which ultimately makes us feel good and confident. I often hear and read about “listening to your body”. I thinks it’s a good advice. I also believe in “listening to your heart”. Are you enjoying your journey to your weight loss goal? Getting fit and healthy should be just like any of our endeavors…our hearts in it.

I love hearing what people think about my posts!