Recently, a friend posted a shared a link to this article that began like this:
"Does having kids make parents less fit? New research suggests it might. The study found that mothers of young children ate more calories and were all around heavier than childless women. Parents were also less active than adults without kids"
Several moms weighed in on their opinion of the article, and their replies seemed to fall into one of two camps:
1- Since becoming a mom, I don't have as much time to devote to fitness and being healthy, so it has to take a backburner.
2- Fitness and health have to stay one of my top priorities, regardless of the time commitment it takes.
To me, these replies seem to reflect the two extremes: either all or nothing. Some moms say they don't have time to even brush their teeth some days (don't say ewww, you know you've been there!), forget about having time to exercise! Others stay up late and sacrifice sleep to work out while their baby(ies) sleep. Again, it's the two extremes: either ALL or NOTHING.
So I really have been thinking about this all or nothing mentality, and questioning it. Why does it have to be ALL or NOTHING? Why can't something in the middle work just as well? Isn't a little bit of exercise better than none?
There has to be a way to make fitness and healthy living a part of daily life.
And in order to do so, we have to change our thinking.
First, let's get rid of the words ALL or NOTHING. Every single day, we have the opportunity to make choices, whether big or small. After all, it is our lives, our bodies, and thus our decisions, right?
Second, let's stop being so hard on ourselves. Maybe you didn't have a chance to get to that workout class tonight, or to run your 3 miles after work. That doesn't make you a failure! However, it also doesn't give you a reason to say "well, I missed my workout, so I might as well eat this half gallon of ice cream anyways..."
Third, and maybe most importantly, let's start celebrating the small stuff! Maybe you walked 3 flights of stairs today instead of taking the elevator. Maybe you parked in the farthest parking space instead of the closest one. Maybe your ab workout today consisted of lying on your back and lifting your almost 3 year old up with your feet into the air so he could fly like Buzz Lightyear, screaming "to infinity and beyond" as loud as he can (that was MY workout tonight!!) Any of these things are SOMETHING. Maybe they aren't what you consider ALL, but they certaintly aren't NOTHING either. Celebrate yourself for the choices you are making.
After all, standing burns more calories than sitting, and walking burns more than standing. Any moving is good, whether its running a marathon or chasing your Buzz Lightyear (because you are Evil Dr. Porkchop... hey, I didn't choose the characters, clearly...)
In my next post I'll write more about how you can fit in little bits of exercise into your daily life, no matter how busy you are. And I'll write about how those little bits add up!
But for now, just remember: it isn't ALL or NOTHING. There is a very happy middle ground :)