Remember your why

Back in 2014, I wrote an article about taking care of yourself as a parent. I discovered some health issues that required me to start re-evaluating how I was treating my body. Fast forward five years, and I am still on this journey. I don’t have it all figured out. There are definitely areas I still need to improve, but my family deserves me at my best, and I deserve it, too. 

I’ve learned a few things along the way, and in honor of this health and fitness issue, I’ll share what I’ve learned. Please know that I’m not an expert. I do love to research, but please check with your doctor for specific health recommendations that are right for you.

Remember, your family is watching

Your spouse is watching you work hard, despite all that you have going on in your life. The responsibilities, the stress, the tiredness. In this season, one thing that motivates me the most is that my husband wants to work out. He works harder than anyone I know and deserves a nap, but instead, he is motivated to go to the gym when he gets home and on the weekends.

Your kids are also watching. They see you trying to drink your weight in water, they see you trying to make veggies taste edible, and they see you making the most of your smoothies. They see you. Start helping them create healthy habits now. 

Have accountability

If you have an Apple Watch or other type of fitness monitor, ask a friend who also has one if you can share your daily activity (Apple Watch allows you to do this right from the Activity app).

Write down your fitness goals. Share your goals with friends and family and ask them to check on you. Don’t make excuses whenever they do and you aren’t doing your best. 

There are groups on social media and in gyms in town with great accountability partners. I’ve found that whenever I go to the same workout class and miss a week, I get a text from someone asking where I was that day. It also really helps to meet up with someone at the gym or workout class because it feels like someone else is counting on you. 

Be prepared

Plan your meals. Carve out time to prep meals. There are meal programs that can help if this isn’t your thing. Research and find what will work for you. 

Plan your workouts, too. Look at the group exercise schedule and plan what will work best for you. 

For us, our workouts revolve around childcare. We know our gym’s schedule very well and know exactly when we can go together. It also really pays to be prepared when you have busy days or nights. There are certain nights of the week that we have a lot of activities, and if we don’t have a game plan for meals, we find the drive-thru much more tempting. Most of the time, we can see these things coming — they aren’t taking us by surprise — so it’s up to us to be prepared. 

Schedule in rest

The “self-care” movement is huge right now. So much so, that I can’t help but roll my eyes when I see it posted anywhere. For some, self-care means eating whatever you want or buying whatever you want, no matter what the consequences, all in the name of looking after yourself.

The heart of self-care is good. The actual definition is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” If you’ve worked out multiple times this week and are tired, please, rest. 

Ask a friend to go for a walk. Take a long bath and eat your favorite snack. Ask your spouse, or a friend, if they can watch the kids for a few hours so you can get an uninterrupted nap. 

If that makes you feel uncomfortable to ask someone to help you, you need it more than ever. Practice being that kind of friend for someone else, too. 

Have a lot of grace with yourself

Don’t let one slip up, or a hundred, stop you from bettering yourself. It’s not possible to be perfect. 

I follow a lot of health and fitness experts, and the only sure thing is that everyone misses a day. Everyone has treats. Everyone has a balance of some sort. 

I used to let guilt drag me down deep dark holes throughout my journey to be healthy. One cupcake would equal six because I already “messed up” so “there goes the day.” 

It’s not true, though. I’ve learned that when I decide to treat myself, I can start over with the very next meal. When I started having grace with myself, the guilt started rolling off of me because it could no longer stick.

Remember your why

It may be for health reasons. It may be preventative. It may be because you want to look and feel a certain way. There are rarely any wrong answers in why you want to take care of yourself.

Write it on your mirror, create a dream board, share it with your friends and family. Keep it in front of you at all times. 

You will forget. It’s just how life goes. But when you can make it easy to remember, it’s easier to keep the motivation going. 

Brittany Gilbert
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