Every challenge has its obstacles. Weight-loss, ESPECIALLY for moms, is a super difficult challenge. Not only are there time and freedom restrictions- eg, you can't just go running when you're free because there are two little ones attached to your leg- but also, if you're overweight, ,there are physical and mental obstacles that you must conquer. I'm going to share my 3 biggest obstacles that stood in my way when I first started on this journey towards getting healthier, and how I dealt with them.
Some of my issues will resonate with you, and others may make you roll your eyes but the reality is that all of us have a different lifestyle, and so all our challenges will be different. The trick is to recognize your obstacles and troubleshoot them, so that they're not stopping you before you even get started.
Roadblock #1: TIME
My BIGGEST obstacle when I started off was time. I never felt that I had the time to exercise or meal plan, or cook healthy food or be active. My time was so saturated with caring for my kids, any off hours I got, I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep.
SOLUTION: I had to really stop and think what was important to me. Was it more important that I get healthier and stronger, which would in turn give me more energy to be a good mom? Or keep going as I was and fall flat one day because I ran out of steam, and coke.
When I did make the decision, I pared down my life and I asked my husband for help. He travels 4 days a week, but he is home 3x so I made Saturday a workout day so he could watch the kids. We also hired a housekeeper who comes in twice a week to clean and also watch the baby so I can go work out. It's not cheap BUT we cut out other stuff to make up the shortfall (more on that in point #2). Finally- I put that expensive Baby Jogger City Elite to use and started walking with the baby. He loves his walks because he gets to babble at the birds and the trees, and I get some “me” time where I have the baby but I don't have to be fully engaged with him because he's engaged with what he's seeing around him.
Roadblock #2: MONEY
Like I said previously, hiring someone to watch the baby while I go workout, and then paying for the gym membership and other miscellaneous costs like workout clothes, shoes etc can be significant. You have to figure out what's important and worth your money and what's not.
SOLUTION: The reality is that you have to make compromises. When I started my gym membership and had all the start up costs, I had to look at what we could give up to make up that difference. My small group fitness gym is PHENOMENAL (check them out here) but they're not cheap. I had buy proper shoes because my cheap and pretty cross trainers were useless and provided no support. I needed gym clothes that didn't leave me feeling self-conscious. The costs added up. .
In order to make this work, I looked at what I could give up. I went on a month long Target moratorium to see if I could cut back on useless spending. It helped me figure out where I was wasting $$ and what was essential. We got rid of cable and cut back to eating out every couple of weeks. We stopped buying junk food when doing groceries (so important for so many reasons) and also started price matching and using coupons for groceries. And most importantly, I started looking for cheap and free ways to be active. Walking in our local forest preserves, doing some of the free exercises videos included with your Prime subscription, signing up for free 30 day trials of things like BeachBody were all things I used to jump-started my activity. There were other small changes we made in our old lifestyle to make my new lifestyle sustainable, and affordable.
There are two points to this. 1. IF something is important enough, you will make changes to make it sustainable. 2. Getting active and healthy doesn't have to mean spending a fortune. If you can't afford a gym, go outside and walk or run. If you can't afford a pair of lululemon leggings, go to Ross and buy a $10 pair that will get you motivated to move. Walking is free and most of us have sidewalks around our home that allow us to just get up and go. GO. The first walk might be hard but the more you do it, the better, easier and more enjoyable it will become.
Roadblock #3: ENERGY
Let's face it. After running around after 2 kids, managing a home and trying to get some work done, there's not a whole lot of energy going around to exercise or eat healthy. The name of the game is survival and that often includes a gross amount of McDonald's takeout. I found this the hardest obstacle to overcome. Being physically and mentally tired is a natural consequence of having young children. Waking up at 7 AM to go workout when I could sleeping in was a difficult sacrifice to make. Spending Sunday afternoon chopping vegetables for next week's meal prep was just not that enticing when I could be using that child free time to watch some Office reruns.
SOLUTION: The solution to this obstacle was actually in simply stopping the excuses and doing it, despite being tired or feeling lazy. The interesting part was that the more I did it, the more energy I had to do everything else. Being overweight is so hard on your body. It makes you tired to just do basic things. And when you start shedding that weight, your body LOVES it. I found I had SO much energy, even on the days that I worked out after the first couple of weeks. The first weeks were HARD. I'm not going to lie to you and say they were easy. I felt like I was hit by a truck the first time I worked out at 5 AM. But honestly- it was also an amazing feeling to hit my 10K before noon. And I adjusted my lifestyle to suit it. On the days that I worked out early, I went to be early the night before and the day of the workout. I made sure I drank lots of water- cut back on sugary drinks that give you temporary highs but leave you drained by the end of the day. It became that the energy I had was pushing me to do the workouts, rather than me trying to find the energy to do them. It's an AMAZING feeling.
I hope that this was helpful. I would love to hear what your obstacles were when you started on your journey towards becoming healthy, or what obstacles are currently holding you back so please leave a comment below.