As a stay at home mom to two young kids I have gone through some ups and downs when it comes to my weight. Today I want to share some tips on how to maintain weight as a SAHM– or even how to lose weight if that is your goal! Technically this is a sponsored post but these tips – and the need to maintain a healthy weight- are all mine and it happens to coincide with an opportunity to try a cool new service for free. Overall I think I have a lot of healthy tips to offer and I hope they help!
So. Here is the background on me. I was overweight most of my school years, with the worst being the end of college. Right as I graduated I suddenly realized that I was treating myself horribly by not eating healthy or exercising. Not only that but I realized one thing: I deserved better.
I started reading up on diet and exercise and I loved it because for once I was seeing results and actually feeling good about myself. I lost about 40 pounds over the next year or so and started training for races. I did 5Ks, then 8Ks, then a half marathon and finally I did a few triathlons. I was the healthiest I'd ever been!
Then….I started dating…got married and had kids. In that time my weight fluctuated. Before each of my pregnancies I worked really hard to get down to a healthy weight and I succeeded.
Fast forward to now. I'm a stay at home mom to a sweet preschooler and a busy toddler. I'm a referee for their fights, the reader of their books, the player of their games, the chauffeur for their activities, the kisser of their boo-boos and much, much more. My focus is on them. And it should be.
I know that what I do is important for our family but here is a confession: I am not treating myself like I am important right now. I grab coffee for breakfast, shove a piece of cheese (or four) in my mouth while I'm making their lunches, hoover up their leftover snacks and finally treat myself to dinner and maybe some wine after they are in bed. My weight is not out of control but I'm heavier than I want to be and I don't feel great about myself or my eating habits.
I don't know what your daily life is like but if you are here reading this, I wonder if you can relate to that sentiment, “I am not treating myself like I am important right now.”
Well. We are both here. Together. Right now. Let's start treating ourselves better! Let's talk about what we can do to feel better and take care of the person who takes care of everyone else! These are the steps that I am taking to lose weight and to get back to where I want to be: maintaining a healthy weight!
Tips for How to Maintain Weight or Lose Weight as a SAHM
Here are the tips that worked for me before, with some tweaking now that I am a stay at home mom. Some are concrete and some are wishy washy get-in-touch-with-yourself kind of things. I think they are all important though!
I should remind you though, that I am a stay at home mom, not a doctor or nutritionist, so this is not medical advice!
1. Find YOUR motivation. Here is the thing about weight loss: You are not going to do it until YOU really want to. You are not going to do it because your spouse wants you to or your best friend or your doctor. YOU need to want to do it. There has to be something that lights a fire in you to do it. Here are a few possible reasons to motivate yourself to maintain a healthy weight:
-Be a good role model for your kids so that they want to be healthy too. The more they see you making unhealthy choices, the more likely they are to follow suit. So be a good example!
-Treat yourself right because you are important. Give yourself permission to be good to yourself. You deserve to be healthy!
-Do it as a testament of love for your spouse. I'm not saying do it because your spouse wants you to. I'm saying do it because you want to do it as part of your love and commitment to a long life together.
-Scare tactics work too- Imagine the worst case scenario of health problems or cutting years off your life and know that if you can keep yourself healthy you will avoid so many health problems! Are you on a healthy path or an unhealthy path in life? What will your choices mean for your future? Will you be there to see your kids graduate or get married? Will you be able to play with your grand kids? The choices you make today will determine the answers to those questions!
2. Create a Mantra. When you are having a crappy day and you want to slip into old habits I found that it can help to have a mantra or saying to help you focus and make a better choice. Channel your best Stuart Smiley and create a personal statement that embodies your motivation.
-This choice will keep our family on a healthy path!
-I am doing this for me because I deserve it!
-Making this choice will make our family stronger!
-I will not let this choice take me down an unhealthy path!
-I want to meet my grand kids one day!
-The choices I make today will determine my health tomorrow!
A bit dramatic? Maybe. But sometimes that is what I need when I'm about swan dive into a bag of chips.
What would your mantra be? I'd love to hear it in the comments. You'd inspire me and maybe other readers too!
3. Find a Buddy. Lots of moms struggle with some aspect of maintaining a healthy weight. Why do it alone?! It doesn't have to be another SAHM, but find someone you trust and enjoy and ask if they'd like to buddy up to motivate each other in your quest to get healthy or stay healthy.
Maybe it's someone at your gym, a mom you see taking stroller walks in your neighborhood, a parent of your child's classmate or even a facebook friend. You don't need to work out together, make it as formal or informal as you want. Maybe you check in by email once a week to report your struggles or how many times you worked out that week. Maybe you have a competition with your spouse for who can lose more weight or eat more veggies each week. Or if you have a Fitbit or similar device, join a challenge with other users to get you moving more.
4. Make Rules; Start Small. Rules help me stay on track but I cannot just jump in and say “No more than 1200 calories!” It has to be reasonable. My current favorite rule is “I must eat fruit every time the kids eat fruit” You will have to think of your weaknesses and find rules that work for you. I have a hard time making myself eat food during the day, so then I end up starving, stabby and snacky by the afternoon. If I would just sit down and eat fruit every time my kids eat fruit, I probably would not have that afternoon snack attack. It is ONE small rule that I can manage TODAY.
Here are a few possible ideas for rules that might help:
-I can only watch my favorite TV show if I exercise while I do it.
-I can only have a dessert if I have eaten X number of veggie servings today.
-I can eat whatever I want on Sunday if I am healthy every other day.
What rules would help you? I'd love to hear them in the comments! Maybe your rules would help another reader!
5. Get Out of the House. If you go outside rather than stay in your house you are almost guaranteed to burn more calories than if you stay at home. Go for a walk, go to the park, do some mall laps, or even head to the library. As long as you are not at home, snacking or sitting on the couch it is a WIN!
Living in the Midwest this one is a hurdle for me. All winter we stay inside because of the brutal weather but the moment the weather breaks for the better, I NEED to get my butt outside. All of us! This year I have even started walking my daughter to preschool. It feels great to get some fresh air and it is a great way to spend time together.
Is there a regular car trip that you make that is walkable? That could be a great first step on the healthy path!
6. Look in a Full Length Mirror Every Day. Wondering where this tip comes from? It's because *I* happen to live in a vintage house with tiny mirrors. This means I only see myself from the chest up every day. D0 you see your whole body every day? If you took a good look in a full length mirror every day it would help you to recognize when clothes are getting looser or tighter. If your only chance to view your caboose comes during those rare shopping trips where you actually try on clothes, well you may be in for quite a shock!
7. Get Help: There's an App for That! When I was trying to lose weight in preparation for my first pregnancy I got help. I saw a nutritionist who helped me find a plan tailored to my needs. Having the guidance and expertise of a Nutritionist is seriously life changing. Everyone THINKS they know what they should be eating and how to balance your diet but if you already knew then you would not being having trouble with your weight….right?!
You might think “Oh that is too expensive,” or “I don't have time for that.” Right, we are moms, who has time for that?!
Would you believe me if I told you that today in less than an hour, from the comfort of my own home, during naptime I met with a nutritionist!? It was awesome. My session was free due to this being a sponsored post, but the company has graciously given me a code for my dear readers so you can try it out for free once too. Awesome sauce, right?!?!
The way you can do this to download the AmericanWell App or visit the AmWell website. You sign up for a free account and answer some basic questions. Once you are logged on you will see a list of providers, select one and after you fill out the form for the provider you can enter the code MOMSQUAD in the coupon box, hit apply and then wait for your session to start!
There are all sorts of providers actually, Family Physicians, Emergency Medicine, Therapists, Nurses, OB/GYNs and more. So say your kids was sick, you could log on and find a provider and have an appointment right away rather than schlepping the whole family to the Doctor's office! I happened to choose the nutritionist because that is what I need right now.
As for my experience with an AmWell Nutritionist, I “met” via video with Cristina Cavanaugh. Before I met her I clicked on her profile and read about her qualifications and was pleased to see she is also a lactation counselor, which is perfect for new moms trying to lose that baby weight! How cool, right?
We talked for around a half hour. It involved me walking her through a typical day, telling her what I eat and discussing our routines. I told her about where I knew I struggled and she was very helpful in fleshing out the mistakes I was making that led to my weight gain. She did this in a positive way, making me feel very comfortable and at ease. After my confession- I mean discussion of my daily eating habits, she walked through and pinpointed some things for me to focus on.
I had paper and pen handy to write down the tips and suggestions she gave me but as it turns out she also sent me a follow up email, which included my BMI and a summary of our conversation. Now the things she told me were super helpful for me but you should go and have your own session because my struggles and needs are different from yours. A nutritionist can help guide you and get you on the right track. Check out AmWell today…make that the first step on your healthy path!
If you liked these tips, please share them on Facebook or Pin them on Pinterest. What would you add? What are your tips for how to maintain weight or lose weight? I'd love to hear them in the comments!