If you are like most parents I know, you probably strive to be perfect. Your trying to be the perfect mother, the perfect friend, perfect spouse, etc. And on top of it, you are trying to eat perfectly and be in perfect shape. STOP TRYING TO BE SO FREAKIN’ PERFECT! 🙂 It’s doing more harm than good. This is the #1 mistake I see my clients make when trying to lose weight. If you just relax, except the fact that you can’t do it all and you will never be perfect no matter how much you try, you will feel so much better! Trust me- I am farrrrrrr from perfect and I have embraced it with open arms 🙂
Think about it, how many times have you started a diet where you followed it to the letter? I mean, you wouldn’t even take a small lick of your daughter’s ice cream cone. How long did you stay on this plan? How long before you had one slip up and figured you blew it, and went right back to your old behaviors?
Don’t feel bad if this sounds like something that has happened to you over and over again. It happens to us all (myself included). It’s hard to not think of weight loss and dieting as an all or nothing approach. But do you want to know a secret? My clients that do everything perfectly all of the time are the ones I worry about the most. Why? Because no one can be perfect all of the time- especially when it comes to food! You are going to slip up at some point, and you should! I want to share a funny story with you about when my husband was diagnosed with high blood pressure. As we left the doctor’s office, he told me he wanted to go to the grocery store. So we went and as we were there, he asked me to help him find only the foods with the absolute lowest possible sodium content- we even found zero sodium bread (yummy right?).
For about a week, he lived on salads, zero sodium bread, and a few other flavorless foods. I also prepared everything from scratch for him, right down to homemade dressings and condiments, to keep his sodium as low as possible. Now, let me just interject that as I was doing this for him, I was also preaching the benefits of moderation and how some sodium is OK with high blood pressure. But he wouldn’t listen. Why? Well partly because I’m his wife, but mostly because he was in an all-or-nothing mindset. He was sure the answer to reversing his blood pressure issues was in eliminating sodium, and because of that, he couldn’t just slowly lower his intake. He had to be perfect. He had to have as close to no sodium as possible. Does this sound familiar? Can you guess the outcome? Yup- after about a week and a half he splurged on take-out pizza and some beer and gave up. Sound familiar?
Depriving yourself or trying to be perfect is, in my opinion, the #1 reason why most people are unable to lose weight and keep it off. Eating to lose weight and get healthy isn’t about deprivation and perfection – it’s about improvement! That’s it! It’s a learning process, just like anything in life. If your son came home from school and said he received a C on his algebra quiz today, would you tell him to just give up because he clearly will be unsuccessful at the class the rest of the semester? I sure hope not! Then why would you “give up” on your weight loss efforts because you had a slice of pizza last night? Are you really never, ever going to have a slice of pizza again in your life? I sure hope nope (I know for a fact my husband wouldn’t find life worth living without this staple!).
Losing weight and improving health is about improvement, not perfection! Today, just think of one simple thing you can do to improve your eating habits from yesterday. Could you eat one extra serving of vegetables, drink an extra glass of water (hello metabolism boost!), or walk for 5 minutes? Every little change really does at up to big results! What will you do to improve today?
We all have that one friend, the one who can eat anything she wants, never counts a calorie, and never worries about her weight. She just looks good all the time. I have a friend like that (maybe more of a frienimy since I secretly hate her at times). We were recently shopping together when she was discussing how it can be hard to find clothes because many times everything in the store is simply too big on her. Did I kind of want to slap her –yes! But in watching her and listening to her, there’s a lot of takeaway messages we can all learn from these seemingly “effortless” skinny people.
For one thing, just because you are skinny doesn’t mean that you love your body or that your life is any better or easier than someone who is overweight. Sure, I haven’t experienced this myself, but I could see how it may be upsetting to try and shop for clothes and everything you liked is just way too big and doesn’t look right. It can be just as hard as when everything is too small and too tight. We all want to look our best, and when we can’t, it impacts our confidence. So, let’s not be too jealous of skinny people- they have clothes shopping problems too.
But the biggest thing I have learned from this friend as well as working with clients who are thin, is that being skinny isn’t something they were necessarily born with. There’s a reason they don’t gain weight easily. So here are the top three lessons you can learn from skinny people if you want to be one yourself:
#1: Skinny people are some of the slowest eaters you will ever find! The slower you eat, the sooner you feel satisfied on less calories. Give it a try- take at least 30 minutes to eat your meal or snack. Put the fork down in between bites and rest a bit before diving in for the next. You will be amazed at how much less you eat.
#2: Take smaller bites. Skinny people don’t just eat slower, they eat smaller too. My friend will go out to eat and order a burger, fries, and a regular soda. This meal probably has over 2000 calories, if she were to eat all of it. But does she? Well by the time she is done taking bites smaller than my toddler takes, after about 30 minutes she is full. And guess what, only about 1/3 of the burger has been eaten along with a few fries and a few sips of soda. It’s not always about what we order, it’s the portion size of it that matters the most.
#3: Skinny people are fidgety. My same skinny friend, if you weren’t already mad enough at her, she doesn’t go to the gym either. Or workout at home. Nope, she’s skinny, eats what she wants and doesn’t exercise. I know, I know- you want to smack her now too! But guess what she does do- she never stops moving! She doesn’t sit when she talks on the phone, she paces. She is animated when she talks. She takes the long way to the bathroom at work and she never uses the escalator or elevator unless she has to. She’s not doing this to burn extra calories, she’s doing this because she feels good when she moves. Even if you workout for a solid hour each day, if you sit the rest of it, you won’t burn as many calories as my friend. You have to make sure to fit in movement at every possible chance during the day.
So there you go. The next time you start feeling envious of your skinny friend, take a look her behaviors and you may just see some of these traits. If you start to adopt them yourself, you may find controlling your weight to be more “effortless” as well.
Joey just hit the big 1-8! That’s right- he’s officially 18 months old, or halfway to 2! It’s amazing how quickly he is growing. And yes, currently his favorite word is “tookie” short for cookie, which he calls almost every food he eats. How thrilled am I that as a nutrition professional all my son requests to eat day in and day out are “tookies” 🙂 Luckily, when he requests a “tookie” it can mean anything from a cracker to a fruit!
Now that he is getting so mature, Joey has been showing signs that he’s about ready to start a career in personal training. He’s getting just a little too big to wear (although he still loves it so we do it for fun at times), so we’ve had to adjust our exercise routine together. My newest strategy is using him as added resistance, and since he is almost 24 pounds now, it’s pretty effective.
He’s loves to jumping on my back when I sit down lately, so I have started to use this to my advantage. I’ve trained him to sit on my back and hold onto my shirt so we can do push-ups and planks together. Now an extra 24 pounds on your back during a push-up or plank can tire you out pretty quick. So, after about 5 rounds of 10 push-ups, I was ready to take a break. But did Joey think it was time for me to rest? No way! He jumped back on and kept yelling “up” at me. I swear, I think he’s tougher than Shawn T.
So if anyone is in need of a personal trainer, we are renting Joey out by the hour. Hey, we have to build up that college fund somehow right? 🙂
If you are looking for an effective and fun Mommy & Me workout, try our routine:
- 10 slow pushups with baby on back
- 30 second rest
- 30 second plant with baby on back
- 30 second rest
- 10 pushups at a moderate pace with baby on back
- 30 second rest
- 30 second plank slowly rocking hips side to side to engage obliques with baby on back
- 30 second rest
- 10 slow pushups with baby on back
Trust me- you will be tired!!
Note: Just have baby watch if they are not old enough to hold on or too heavy to perform this exercise safely!
As parents, I am sure you have days where you feel too tired to even move, let alone workout. But even on these tiring days, it’s important that you push yourself to move. If you skip too many days of exercise, it’s easy to get out of the habit and fall back into a sedentary lifestyle. So to help you stay motivated, enlisting the support of a fitness coach can be invaluable. Now, before you stress about finding the time or money to hire a fitness coach, let me tell you- the best fitness coach is already in your home with you. In fact, he or she may be on your lap as you read this! That’s right- you can’t find a better (or more adorable) fitness trainer than your own little one.
How can my baby “train” me to workout you may be asking? Well first, toddlers LOVE to imitate everything you do. And they love repetition- the perfect combination for an effective workout partner! Invite your toddler to “workout” with you. For instance, I lay on the floor with Joey next to me and do leg raises to tone my core. Then Joey lays down beside me and does performs “leg raises” next to me. Not only is it cute to watch, but his enjoyment of doing them and desire to keep doing them over and over encourages me to keep going. It certainly makes my workout more entertaining! What exercises does your little one like to imitate?