Moms often complain that having children has made it almost impossible to maintain their girlish figures. First came pregnancy, which led to a bunch of confusing extra poundage and droopiness of all sorts…then came nursing, which turns every lactating mom into a ravenous monster whose appetite only grows larger each time it’s appeased…then came parenting, a never-ending project that leaves us moms with just enough energy at the end of each day to choose a TV show to fall asleep to on Netflix. Sure, exercise and nutritious food sound fantastic, but each day has only 24 hours and you’d like to spend some of them sleeping.
Well, ladies, here’s what I say to that: Quit your whining! There are LOTS of ways you can reclaim that statuesque figure you had in college, and it won’t take ANY time out of your day! All you have to do is incorporate these simple fitness measures into your normal routine, then watch those love handles float away!
1. Cardio in the Kitchen
How many calories do you burn while you’re cooking dinner? I mean, you’re just standing there, right? So….why not try jogging in place while you’re preparing the family meal? Or perhaps some jumping lunges? If the average meal takes about 30 minutes, imagine how many calories you’ll burn this way! No more wasted time just standing at the counter. Oh, and this will not at ALL interfere with your ability to sauté onions, chop carrots, or measure out the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies.
2. Playground Time is Gym Time!
When your kids were toddlers, you probably got some mild aerobic activity following them like bloodhounds from one piece of equipment to the next, but if they’re preschool age or older, I’ll bet you just sit on the bench and watch them exercise, right? Well, get off your butts and go join them! Try doing chin-ups on the jungle gym, or doing squats under the slide. You will feel great, and there’s not the slightest possibility that other children will point and laugh, or that their parents will back away slowly, keeping their cell phones even closer than usual in case they decide to call 911 to report the creepy sweaty lady who’s doing weird contortionist moves on the playground equipment instead of watching her kids.
3. Train Your Body while Training Their Minds!
Admit it: reading to your kids is a pretty sedentary activity. Not to knock it or anything, but hey, while you’re planted in one spot, might as well do some core work! Imagine how toned your core would be if you read all your kids’ bedtime stories in a plank position! This will TOTALLY communicate to them the value of reading, and it won’t be the least bit distracting for anybody to watch you perspiring onto the book while you determinedly try to beat your last time by holding your plank until the very end of Horton Hears a Who.
4. Food Substitutions FTW
Mindless snacking is one of the most insidious ways to sabotage that girlish physique, right? Well, tell those cravings who’s boss by choosing snacks that are just as quick and every bit as satisfying! For example, next time the house is a mess and the baby’s crying and you’re tempted to drown your sorrows in ice cream, try some fat-free plain yogurt topped with fresh berries and a quarter-teaspoon of maple syrup drizzled on top. You won’t even notice the difference! Or, if the kids have been fighting nonstop and you’re yearning to soothe yourself with chocolate, just count out seven almonds, sprinkle them with a tiny pinch of unsweetened cocoa, and indulge! You’ll be full for seventeen hours because of the protein, and you won’t even miss Godiva. I promise.
Oh, and remember: most of the times when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty, and all you really need is a nice big glass of water. (If you still “feel hungry,” just pour yourself another glass. Okay, maybe a third. Keep drinking…)
5. Turn Housework into…Houseworkout!
Even if you’re lackadaisical about housekeeping, some chores — laundry, washing dishes, unloading groceries, mopping up puke — are unavoidable. Instead of plodding through your routine, make it fun by burning some calories! Turn on some music and dance while you’re mopping the floor. I’m sure it will get just as clean and not take any longer than when you do it systematically. Or, if your laundry room and bedrooms are on different floors of your house, try returning clothes to the proper rooms one item at a time so you can make multiple trips on the stairs. This won’t take any longer if you go real fast, and you’ll really get your heart rate going! Yay!!!
6. Morning Time is Me Time
The best way to get some exercise into your day is to make some time for it when everybody else is sleeping. You might be thinking, “Hey, you said these tips wouldn’t take ANY time out of my day!”…but if you’ve ever read any advice on how to improve your life, you know that morning hours don’t count. Want to spend some quiet time reading your Bible and praying? Do it in the morning before the household is abuzz and the kids need your attention. Trying to get organized? Wake up before the rest of the family so you can get a headstart on your day by unloading the dishwasher and starting the laundry and cleaning the toilet. Looking for an artistic outlet? Those quiet morning hours are the best time to write, paint, compose, or otherwise express your creativity.
All I’m saying is, you’re probably doing all these things already, so what’s an extra thirty minutes to work out and shower and get dressed? Nothing. In fact, you will probably feel MORE awake after you do this, and you won’t be any more tired than usual for the rest of the day. Seriously. I’m sure of it.
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And there you have it – six simple steps toward guaranteed awesomeness! Why let yourself go when looking as good as Jillian Michaels requires no time or effort or weirdness whatsoever? Yes, my friend: You, too, CAN be Supermom. You go, girl!!!