I met Erin 2 weeks ago and was blown away by how healthy she appeared after going through 4 pregnancies. When I met her, her youngest baby was only 8 weeks old and she looked AMAZING. Here is some great advice. Enjoy!
I am 28 years old and have spent the last six of those years pregnant … or at least it seems that way. I have four incredible boys ages 6, 4, 2, and 8 weeks. Keeping up with them is what keeps me the most active. To stay healthy with four boys I do have to be intentional, though. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past seven years of pregnancy and boy raising:
First of all, being active has to become part of your family’s lifestyle. At this stage in my life finding “me” time simply doesn’t happen very often. Which is completely fine, by the way. I have learned to revel in this time in my life, soak up every minute and realize that I am absolutely blessed to spend all my moments loving on these previous gifts from God. Having a healthy attitude about this is just as, if not more important than, actually exercising. I’ve known too many young moms so embittered by their lack of personal time that they are never able to enjoy the time they do have. This stage of life isn’t about me. It’s about raising four boys to want to glorify the Lord with their lives. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but a completely freeing one!
So… now stepping off that soapbox. Lifestyle. If I want to stay active regularly my boys will have to be involved. During the summer this is pretty simple. We live in town and are able to walk just about everywhere we would need to go… so we do! I have a double jogging stroller and my two oldest are most often riding their bikes. We also have a bike path running through town that we take to get to the park. Once we get there I do my best to not just sit and watch the boys. We all have more fun if we’re playing together! So, we take a frisbee, or I just spend my time chasing them around, going down slides, or getting a great upper body workout by pushing every kid in the park on the merry-go-round! We are usually all absolutely exhausted by the time we get home. We also love going hiking; carrying a two year old on your back, even through the easiest terrain, will burn plenty of calories!
When the weather doesn’t cooperate it gets a little trickier. Right before my last pregnancy I started the Insanity workout. (I did not continue it through the pregnancy, but restarted at about week 5 postpartum.) It’s a very intense workout, but still only takes 45minutes to an hour each day. My boys often join along as I’m exercising. Obviously, they’re form is just a bit off, but all that jumping and flailing around really gets rid of a lot of their energy! I usually choose to do this during the babies’ nap times that way I don’t have to stop to feed the baby or take the two year old for a potty break. I also have had to adjust my goals a bit since littlest brother was born. I simply don’t have the energy every day for an intense work out. Currently my goal is 3-4 days a week and that is plenty for now. As we work our way out of the newborn stage again, I’ll hopefully be able to get back to a more consistent schedule.
Another important way for all of us to stay healthy is to choose to eat wisely. I always have a fresh variety of fruits and vegetables cut up and ready to eat in the fridge. The boys know they can grab these for a snack at anytime. I also try to have healthy foods ready to take with us when we’re on the go. Just a little preparation prevents giving into the convenience of pre-packaged foods.
I also still try my best to put into practice a tip that I read years ago: Sit down and eat with your children! Our lunchtime often seems rushed, but I have noticed that if I don’t make a plate for myself along with the boys, then I will eat more. I’ll just grab food here and there or eat the left-overs so as not to have waste. Or, even worse I’ll skip lunch all together and just grab an unhealthy snack that I’ve been craving all day. Making lunchtime as important as dinnertime really helps me stay on track with a healthy diet.
Keeping up with kids takes a lot of energy and I’ve learned that exercise and eating healthy are the best ways to help me keep up. I have also learned to not create expectations that only set myself up for failure. If exercise is new for you, start small and learn ways to involve your children so that it doesn’t feel like a work out!