Making healthy changes…

I have had to face a hard reality. My babies are no longer babies. Therefore, I can no longer justify carrying around baby weight. It is long past time that I start investing in myself, my body and my health. It’s not just that I want to lose weight, I want to feel better too. And I want to set a good example for my boys; I want to teach them the importance of good health by leading by example; no more “do as I say, not as I do.”

The key for me has been to start small. I’m not going to go out and train for a marathon tomorrow, I’m not going to stop eating chocolate (God forbid), I am going to make small changes and commit to those changes. One small step can lead to another, and so on. And I am going to share those steps here, in part to help me be accountable, but also to hopefully help others who find themselves in the same situation as me, finding it hard to get out of the rut I have created to lead a healthier life.

Drink more water
I hate to admit it, but I honestly think I’m better at drinking water now than I was when I was breastfeeding, which only goes to show how bad I have been about making sure I take care of myself. Up until recently, my go-to beverages were coffee and Gatorade, with a little water mixed in because I knew it was good for me. Ugh. Now I have cut back on coffee (more on that in a moment), and my go-to drink is always water, at any time of day or night. I am doing my very best to avoid Gatorade, juices, sodas, anything other than plain old H2O. Not only do I feel much more hydrated, but I think about all the extra calories and sugar that I am no longer consuming, a definite plus.

Drink less coffee
Not only does caffeine hinder all that good hydration I’m working on with the water, but it is also a huge calorie addition to my day. Or at least it was because I would always put cream and sugar in it. At two-to-three cups a day (after the boys’ weaned), I shudder to think about all that sugar. So now, I am down to one cup of coffee a day, and I am using monk fruit as an alternative sweetener. Honestly, I don’t enjoy my coffee like I used to, but maybe that’s the point. I would much rather coffee serve a function as a pick-me-up, and get my high-calorie treats somewhere else… like, from chocolate.

Get more sleep
Hahaha, that’s funny, right? I have three boys who still do not always sleep through the night, who still sometimes come into our bed in the middle of the night, or else we lay down in their rooms… I have not known quality sleep since sometime before October of 2009. But knowing that my nights will often be interrupted is no excuse to further compound the problem, if anything it should be a stern reminder of why I need to make sleep a priority. And lately I have been failing miserably at that, laying in bed for five, maybe six, hours a night. And I say laying in bed because there’s a good chance I spent the first 30 to 45 minutes awake, allowing the wheels in my mind to spin. So my new goal is to make sure I am in bed, lights out, for a solid eight hours every night. That means I have to be better about shutting it down in the evening, pushing work aside until tomorrow, for the sake of getting rest. But I know my body needs it, so I will make it a priority.

Whole-food nutrition
I am quickly learning just how amazing fruits and vegetables really are. Of course I always knew they were good for me, but I never really looked into the science behind it. Well, I’ve been doing just that lately, and I am making a much more concerted effort to get our whole family eating better. This is no simple task with the picky eaters I serve three meals a day to, but I am refusing to back down. I am now reworking menu plans to incorporate more vegetables, and I am making sure we have more fresh fruit on hand each week, so that produce can be incorporated into every meal and snack, something that wasn’t happening before. Do the boys still refuse to eat some of the vegetables I offer? Oh yes. But I won’t give up, I will keep offering, or else I will just hide them in their food somewhere. I am not above doing that, no way, no how. And in the meantime, the boys are also getting a wonderful nutritional supplement that is packed with fruits and vegetables, but look and taste like gummy snacks. So I know that even on the worst day, at least some good stuff is getting into them!

Become a more conscious eater
Part of my problem is that I don’t put enough thought into what I eat. Even thought we sit down to family meals, I don’t eat much while the boys are eating, I’m too busy trying to correct table manners, help them if they need help, clean up messes, etc. So my biggest food times have been right after I put them down for their nap, scarfing down whatever is closest and most convenient, and late at night, when it is all too easy to reach for junk food. So now that is changing. I have begun doing protein shakes for breakfast, and I sit at the table with the boys and drink my shake while they eat. I try to sit down and eat lunch and dinner with them too now, though my meal is still often interrupted, at least it is there in front of me and I will eat it eventually. And if I get the late-night munchies, I am now trying to reach for healthier snacks and control my portions better.

There are many more things I need to and want to be doing (I need to figure out how to work an exercise routine into my schedule, so far that isn’t happening), but the items I listed above are a good start. And honestly, the results are already beginning to pay off, both in my energy level increasing, and the number on the scale beginning to decrease. Like I said, small steps to begin with, starting slow will eventually pay off big.

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