The idea solution would be to do less, obviously, but that doesn’t appear to be an option for many of us (or perhaps we just fear missing out on life too much to slow down?).
No wonder everyone is getting fatter and more unfit – we just don’t have time to look after ourselves; put thought into what we are buying, cooking and eating, walk instead of drive, or set aside time to exercise.
I empathise completely, I really do – I’m a stay at home Mum to a toddler (whilst running The Fit Mum Formula from home), with another young child at school 9-3, and a home to run. I expect there are many of you who can out-busy me by double too.
(yes I know it’s upside down……)
BUT here’s one thing I’ve learnt, summarised, which I will expand on below;
In other words, time spent on you is well spent.
You could spend hours jogging every day,
You could do 20 minutes of sprinting at intervals a couple of times a week.
You could do a few low grade resistance exercises for 45 minutes that make you a little tired, several times a week,
You could spend 15-30 minutes doing intense body weight training so that your muscles are drained of all energy.
You could count and cut calories,
You could eat in a way that makes you so full and gives you so much energy that you automatically eat fewer calories, so don’t need to meticulously count.
This is a bad habit the developed world has picked up as a result of being able to have pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want them. Little things like a biscuit are so easily available – we want it, it’s there, we have it. Do you think people can reach for a chocolate Hobnob whenever they feel like it in poorest parts of Liberia?
What you want now might be a scone with jam and cream. If you don’t get it, will you be aching for it nor the next week? Probably not.
What you likely really want, and have done for some time, is to feel great, look great, have boundless energy and optimum health, with a body, good skin and sparkling eyes that show this off.
It’s like saving for a car/house etc. You could buy another pair of shiny stilettos, or you could put the money in your savings account and buy a home that’s all yours instead of throwing money at your landlord each month.
There’s a playing field behind the local primary school with a playground we often go to after the school run.
Every morning, a group of local ladies (and sometimes men) gather with a personal trainer to do a 30-45 minute Boot Camp style workout, with all sorts thrown in from sprints to kettlebells to rugby. I’ve also seen many of these locals out jogging, at the local gym, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen them not wearing workout gear!
Do they all look like athletes? NO! Do they have skin glowing with health? NO! Are they slim, toned, a healthy weight as well as strong? NO! Is their performance in their workouts improving? Can they lift heavier, run faster, last longer? Not as far as I can tell.
Now far be it from me to judge but they’re keeping their trainer in pocket here as well as using up hours of (precious) time each day and I can’t actually see any progress.
This is what I think is probably happening, because it usually is:
With the best of intentions, they purchase a box or organic wholewheat muesli or porridge, and a huge carton of skimmed milk, knowing it’s a ‘healthy’ breakfast. They eat a huge bowlful (muesli is very high calorie for a small bowl – weight it yourself and see), with a large latte made with skimmed milk (which still contains calories), and thus begins the start of what becomes a high calorie day.
Or they start ‘clean’ by having a simple green smoothie of spinach, grapes and almond milk, because they’ve read that they’re the best thing for health right now. Very low calorie, very low protein.
Result? Starving hungry post morning workout; and in goes the large cappuccino and carrot cake.
Or maybe they eat pretty ‘normally’ – family meals, balanced food groups, mostly fresh and home cooked. But they eat too much, often arising from hunger after working out, and a lack of knowledge about calories and portion sizes.
You’d be amazed how many calories are in the average bowl of spaghetti Bolognaise, even though most people would have no problems finishing it and some garlic bread to go with it too.
They also might neglect NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis; the calories burnt during normal daily activities like getting dressed and doing the washing up.
A person can spend an hour in the gym every day, but if they sit down for most of the remainder of the day, their daily caloric burn could still be pretty low. Don’t underestimate the power of NEAT.
If you really are very busy and have no time to exercise (and that’s true for most Mums),
You need to start focusing on only the things that really matter, and nothing else.
Focus on your long term goals instead of instant ‘I wants’, and use your precious time wisely to get maximum results without sacrificing the rest of your life.
Work smarter not harder!