• Donae

Staying fit as a mom

Updated: Jul 10

Before having children, especially boys, I did whatever I felt like doing. I ate all I wanted to, exercise only when I felt like it, and didn't really care much about the need to exercise.


Fast forward to having two adventurous, mostly outdoors kinda kids, I was struggling to keep up with them energy-wise. I don't know what it is like with girls, however, I do know for the boys, I have to keep up with them, mentally, emotionally, and physically.


So here's how I have adapted to staying fit while raising boys that require me as a mom to keep up at all means necessary.

Are you also struggling to keep up with your kids, especially the boys? Please feel free to add to my list, or ask your questions or concerns in our FORUM section. I would be happy to help you!


Exercising while the boys ride their bikes
EXERCISING WHILE THE BOYS RIDE THEIR BIKES

"Staying fit as a mom is necessary for me to be able to keep up with my kids energy while keeping myself healthy."


EXERCISE

I realized when my boys became more active and wanted to do more adventurous things outside, than the usual stroll through the neighborhood in the stroller that I was out of energy for the most part and couldn't keep up with them.


I wanted to be able to do more activities with them, however, I had to get myself into a better position to be able to help them also with their journey into doing more activities.


The way to get energy as a mom is doing exercise. I know of this as a health care professional, but sometimes it's easier said than done.


I'm not a gym fitness junky. I don't like going to the gym at all. I rather do my walks, which I enjoy doing. So I do what I love to do and that helps me to get my energy levels up on most days.


So walking for me has been not only helpful with energy levels but also keeps me going alongside my boys daily activities that they like to do, such as bike riding or riding their scooters.


I choose to do walking, or sometimes I get adventurous just as my husband or boys are, and do some of their activities as well.


Sometimes we will play basketball as a family or do hiking trails, swimming, skating, trampoline gyms, kayaking, you name it we will sign up for it.



Going kayaking with the family
KAYAKING WITH THE FAMILY


So instead of sitting on the sidelines watching them get in on the action while I just watch and sip my latte, I rather join them in on the fun too and get some exercise in for me as well. It's a win-win situation for everyone!


For more ideas about activities to do outdoors with kids, or as a family, visit my blog post on:



HYDRATION

I am not a fan of water, but I know that hydration is key to staying fit as a mom. Water is so essential to our bodies and helps us to function optimally. Think about it, our body is made up of roughly about 60% water anyway.


Water is therefore vital to our bodies and keeps not only our self hydrated but also our skin, immune system, and organs functioning at best.


So don't skip out on your daily water intake, but rather find ways of keeping that required eight 8oz glass of water daily, by drinking smoothies, fruit-flavored water, coconut water, fruits etc. Whatever you can do to get the water in is perfectly fine.


I know it's hard for some of us to just drink water daily like that, so like myself, I try anything that has a lot of water to help me out a bit.


However, if you’re ok with drinking water just like that, then you could purchase those water bottles that I see out on the market, that motivates you to drink more water and gives you an idea of how much water you drank for the day. Some are available on Amazon. Try it out and let me know!



I also highly recommend this Body Armour electrolyte drink that I purchased in Costco. It has coconut water added that helps with great hydration. It's also flavored, so like myself, it's so much easier to drink. It's also available on Amazon.




DIET

"Diet", that word I do have a "love" and "hate" relationship with all at once. I love cooking foods and trying different recipes, but I hate being “restricted” or “put into a box” with what I can and cannot eat. It baffles me to be honest with you all these diet plans. I actually call it the "waiting to die yet plans" because that is just how dieting feels to me.


I want freedom when it comes to a diet regimen that is wholesome and includes a variety of everything. I have tried some "diets" before in my lifetime, such as a gluten-free diet when I was struggling with thyroid issues before.


I absolutely hated it! I had to stay off of anything that had gluten which honestly is everything. Can you imagine all the bread, pasta, crackers and just about anything that has flour in it not being ok?


I kid you not, I starved during this diet fad and I had to quit it cold turkey, right before I went to go to visit Ghana (my husband's hometown) for the first time.


I would have completely starved in that country because everything had gluten, and I have to eat what was available at the time (no gluten-free bread, pasta, or any food whatsoever), or starve to death.


I never ever did diets again. It just made no sense to me and still doesn't anyway.


So what do I recommend as a mom when trying to stay fit. Don't overcomplicate things, keep it simple.


Fruits

Have a variety of them. Don't limit your diet to the same fruits all the time. Try anything and all things that are available in its season.


In my household in particular, if you leave it up to the hubby, you will only eat bananas, pineapple, and apples. But for me, it's every kind of fruit. Even the ones that I don't know of, I will try. I love all kinds of fruits!


So get some fruits and also try some exotic fruits such as lychee, or chocolate fruit (from my uncle's backyard). Mix it up, and make a fruit salad, with peach, grapes, mangos, pineapple, plums, and pears. Just don't think about it and get them all.


Yes, fruits can be expensive, especially organic ones. However, there's always a sale somewhere at some point. I like to for example during the strawberry season here in Florida, purchase huge boxes of strawberries and freeze them.


They typically last for about a year, until the next season, and I like to make fruit smoothies with them. I also purchase bananas, and when they get spotted, I also freeze them and add them to my smoothies if I don’t get to make my famous (according to my family), banana bread.


I however love to make my smoothies with my Ninja auto IQ blender that makes the most smooth textured smoothie ever! I purchased this years ago and still have the same one, even though I don't see it on the market anymore. However, here is a similar one, from the same company that can be found on Amazon.


Fruit smoothie made with my ninja blender
FRUIT SMOOTHIE MADE WITH MY NINJA BLENDER



I also found out about this cool product that my sister has at her home which is on my next "what to splurge on list" which is a nondairy, nonvegan fruit soft-serve dessert maker. Her kids enjoy making their own soft serve fruit deserts with frozen fruits, which is a hit!




Vegetables

Just like fruits, don't skimp on vegetables either. Eat a wide variety of vegetables that you can find in season. Mix it up and include it in every dish that you can prepare.


I know you're probably thinking, "I have kids that don't eat vegetables, so what do I do?"


Honestly, my kids don't even know sometimes they are eating vegetables. Whenever I whip up foods in my favorite instant pot, that pot just crushes all the vegetables up that you can't even pick it out anyway, so they eat their vegetables, all of them. They just don't know! I sometimes add them to my smoothies, especially, spinach that they don't even recognize. It's a win-win situation for us all.


For help with picky eaters, read my blog post on:


I love purchasing the mixed vegetables that I get from Costco. The big bags of frozen stir fry vegetables and seasonal vegetables that I use in practically every meal. They have a wide variety of vegetables in the bags which ensures that my family is getting all the required nutrients that you can think of. It's also more cost-effective than buying them in the fresh produce section if you ask me, and also more convenient for us busy moms.


Sometimes I just stir fry them with some leftover chicken, sausage, or meatballs and just serve them for dinner. That has actually become one of my hubby's favorites surprisingly.


Stir-fry vegetables served with baked tilapia and potatoes
STIR-FRY VEGETABLES WITH BAKED TILAPIA AND POTATOES

I also like purchasing mixed raw salads that also have everything in them and I don't have to even think about it. My kids actually like them with the salad dressing added and I give them more of it because, I don't have to think about it, especially when it's busy during school times.


My favorite is the mixed kale salad that you can find in Costco. It has everything that you can think of veggie-wise. This salad is also available at Walmart


A mixture of poultry, fish, and meat

Becoming vegan is not in my forecast anytime soon. I am quite ok with eating my meats every now and then. I love exploring foods, especially when I travel to other countries. The thought of not getting to just experience what the world has to offer frightens me (I am sure my once vegan sister and cousin can totally relate). So I don't think I would ever want to be vegan, and that's ok with me.


I think variety and portion control is key with these foods as well. Have some fish, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, have beef which is rich in iron and B vitamins, and have chicken, which is also rich in both nutrients.


Serve fish, meat, or chicken periodically throughout the week. That also provides a balanced diet as well. Most vegetarians complain about iron deficiency which technically is a result of not providing enough of the nutrients that they need, which surprisingly comes from meat.


The biggest problem with food, in general, is when we over-consume it and not just provide our bodies with a balanced correctly proportioned diet. That is key! Just a well-rounded mixture of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, and poultry, meat, or fish is all that’s required.


Rice, Pasta, and Starch

This is the most controversial part of all diets out there in the world, which I am a victim of when I tried gluten-free, diets. I would have starved to death not having some form of carbohydrates to keep me going.


Once again I do believe, that proportion and balance is key to any diet. Therefore I suggest mixing this up as well, and you won't have to struggle with carb overload.


Do a variety throughout the week. You can serve sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, rice dishes (brown or white), and wheat or potato bread. That way, you won't just be having one predominant carbohydrate but rather a mixture of different ones, which have their own nutritional values as well.

Then proportionally have more vegetables and a smaller amount of carbohydrates.


The "other" stuff

Yep, I have to mention the other stuff. The sugary stuff that we can get away with, and don't really think about it much of the time. That is junk food or processed foods.


I am not going to tell you to throw them out and don't ever eat them whatsoever, because I'm not like that. I have my stash of "those foods" too. I confess I am a rum and raisin ice-cream addict, and also a Doritos addict. Yep, I'm guilty, so I won't tell you what not to do.


I will tell you, once again that it's okay to have a little snack here and there, as long as it's not substituting your balanced diet. There's no need to get rid of it, however, just be understanding of it and keep it to a minimum. An ice cream treat once in a while, and not every single day is absolutely fine in my world!



SUPPLEMENTS

I have a doctoral degree in Pharmacy. I am not an advocate of taking medication, strange but true. I don't like taking pills at all, especially the huge ones, like those prenatal vitamins, yeah, I hate them.


I, however, do believe that the pills that I will allow myself to take daily are vitamins. I am an advocate of vitamins, especially for moms.


The reason why is that, let's confess, we sometimes get busy and forget about our own health. I don't want you to miss out on your own health by also not having the nutrients you may need, especially when you really don't have the time or energy.


Vitamins

So I highly recommend a one-a-day vitamin supplement to help you during those periodic busy times.


I prefer the gummy multivitamins that I purchase at Costco, because of my hate for pills.

I use Kirkland's signature one-a-day gummy vitamins, that I purchase in Costco. These help me on the days when I know I didn't prioritize my health first.



It doesn't really matter what brand you use. To me, they are all the same, so use what you already have and is comfortable with taking.


Probiotics

I also recommend taking probiotics, especially for digestive and reproductive health. I currently take Natures Bounty acidophilus probiotic that can be purchased in your local pharmacy over the counter.



I like probiotics because they help to keep my digestive system in good health and also helps to keep my reproductive system healthy (helps to prevent yeast infections).


Therefore, anything that can help me to be my best optimally as a mom and woman is key!

Other supplements

Only take additional supplements if your doctor has diagnosed you with any additional problems, such as anemia which can occur in women, especially during our monthly menstrual periods, or vitamin D deficiency.



ANNUAL MEDICAL VISITS

Sometimes we may not know what's happening to us on a daily basis, especially with our bodies.


I do believe in having annual physical exams and also OBGYN visits, eye exams, etc.


I am not a person that likes going to the doctor, I will be honest with you. However, I do believe that the stigma most of us have about going to the doctors is that they are going to give us bad news.


I think being aware of what's happening in our body is more beneficial than any bad news a doctor can give us. Most times it's after having avoided our annual checkups, that many do get that bad news because we knew we were not feeling our best but we refused to check what was going on. Sometimes it turns out to be too late for some of us.


However, I don't want to be that person who waits to continually ensure that I am in optimal shape and therefore, I really don't have to be taking any medication later on because I didn't stay on top of my health.


I have been on that personal journey before and I would recommend staying on top of your health journey at all times, no matter what.



MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is key when trying to stay fit as a mom. Why do I say this? If you're in a good state of mind both mentally and emotionally, it will also drive your wanting to stay fit as a mom.


It works both ways when trying to be your best as a mom. You can tell with how your family dynamics change when you are not in your best health.


Everything gets overwhelming, tiring, and frustrating. We also tend to take it out on our dear spouses and children as well.


My bit of advice to ALL moms is to really see what is happening in your daily life that frustrates you the most and look at that aspect of it and find a solution that will benefit not only you but your entire family. For more information on finding balance read my blog post on:


For me, that was my workload as a pharmacist in my prior career. I could not balance it as a wife and mom and still find time for myself to grow as an individual. I end up despising that time in my life and wanted nothing to do with it.


Therefore based on my past experience with trying to balance life, being a wife, and motherhood, I have had to make drastic changes that benefit not only me but my family as well. That career, I left behind but found a new purpose in what I do now, which also gives me balance.


My mental health improved dramatically and my love for life and freedom became known in this pursuit. I therefore truly encourage anyone who is struggling to take a pause and see how you can make the right changes in your life. Remember balance is key!


My favorite spot for relaxation, the beach
MY FAVORITE SPOT FOR RELAXATION: THE BEACH

For more information about my personal journey of re-discovery, get a copy of my book available on Amazon: I am Who God Says I Am (Always be inspired to live the life God has planned for you). It highlights how I was able to transition from a dysfunctional life to a purposeful one.



There you have it! Everything that you need as a mom in order to be your best self and stay fit for the journey ahead. Your family and kids need you to be there for them and to be your best self.


Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? What were some of your favorite tips? How have they worked for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.


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