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:
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.
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!
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.
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’.
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!