What's one tip you'd give to moms struggling to make time for physical activity?
If you make your health a priority, you will find ways to incorporate physical activity each week. Find an activity that you really enjoy, and then schedule it into your week. You could utilize the gym child care to catch a favorite group class, or take your child with you for a walk or run in the jogging stroller. Walk to the playground and play with your kids, adding squats, calf raises and lunges or swing from the monkey bars.
Once you get into the habit of exercise, the benefits will keep you coming back for more. You'll feel more energized, stronger, more balanced, and will have the satisfaction of doing something for yourself that feels good.
Finally, set realistic goals for yourself and write them down. Have time tables, such as a 5k at the end of the month, or adding one extra day of strength training a week. Record your progress in a journal or an online tool like http://www.sparkpeople.com/ or http://www.dailymile.com/ for accountability.
What's your best advice for moms trying to get healthy?
Share your goals with your spouse, family and close friends so they can support you on your journey. Ask for help so you can carve out an extra hour for a workout, and get their input on healthy meals that the whole family will eat.
Set healthy goals for the whole family, such as evening walks after dinner, one meatless meal a week, and one extra evening without dessert. It's easier to stick to your goals if the rest of the house can join you to some extent.
If you have space and interest in gardening, home grown veggies are an affordable way to get a surplus of vegetables and more interest from the whole family. If you don't want to grow them yourself, look into local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms that allow you to buy a share of veggies, u-pick farms, or make a habit of visiting a local farmers market and getting to know the farmers in your community.
You don't have to be perfect! Aim to eat as many foods as possible in their natural state (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, eggs, fish, etc) and minimize packaged and processed foods. And you should allow room for treats, and don't feel guilty when you fall off the healthy eating wagon.
There are countless ways to "healthify" favorite foods, by cutting back on the sugar, incorporating more whole grains in your baking, and adding extra veggies into pasta sauces and soups.
Planning a weekly menu can help you stay on track, and you could try incorporating one new healthy recipe per week. Create a system to save the recipes you all enjoyed to try again.
What motivates you to stay active while raising a family?
I feel my best when I am active and fit. I have more energy and confidence, and the mood boost allows me to be the best mom I can be- more patient, creative and ready to focus on my daughter.
I love the way that I feel after a good workout, and I quickly begin to feel sluggish if I miss more than a day or two. I am motivated by signing up for races, as it gives me a goal to work towards and keeps my training on track.
I also want to be an example for my daughter. I want her to know that she can appreciate her body for what it can do, not what it looks like. There is a lot of research that connects physical activity among children to greater self esteem and confidence, and I would love for my daughter for find a sport or activity that she enjoys to reap these benefits.