I gained 7 pounds this summer. There…I said it! After working to shed the last of my baby weight for the 9 months Greg was deployed, I was feeling more energetic, my clothes were looser, and I was finally feeling like my pre-baby self. But then summer rolled around, and you guys…it totally kicked my butt. Between juggling kids home from school and shuttling them around to various activities, our house being under construction from a flood, traveling a few times and trying to squeeze work in between it all, I unwittingly let my healthy habits take a back seat to our busy life. In fact…for the first time in almost 15 years, I went weeks on end without exercising. I’m pretty embarrassed to admit that since I am a self-proclaimed “health nut” and even have graduate degrees in both Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. Embarrassment aside though, I know I’m not alone. I’m certainly not the first to let a busy life and busy kids and busy work interfere with a healthy lifestyle, and I know I am not the only one who is ready to right the ship now that school has started! You all seem to really enjoy it when veer slightly off home decor and organization to share various aspects of my personal health journey so I thought I’d pop in today to chat about the 3 ways I’m re-prioritizing my health this new school year!
Re-Committing to Exercise
I can’t believe how little I exercised this past summer; and frankly, I’m pretty disappointed in myself. As much as I want to blame my lack of exercise on my work, the kids being home, or the unbearable summer heat, the reality is I just didn’t make it a priority. I chose to sleep in, work, or go on summer outings rather than schedule in a workout, and my body (and weight and heart rate and sleep) have certainly paid the price.
Although I love the routine the school year brings to our whole family, more than anything else I couldn’t wait to get back to a more structured exercise regime. I have an easier time fitting in exercise with just little Sam in tow (rather than both boys), so starting on the first day of school I re-committed to exercising Monday-Friday right after school drop off. I’ve written it into my schedule, I’ve told my friends and family, and I’ve scheduled our other outings and appointments around this workout window. My 1-hour workout is no longer negotiable.
You may notice that my exercise goal is nothing crazy, intense, or all-consuming. Not only is that in line with my general approach to health and fitness (e.g., manageable, balanced, health-focused) but it’s also due to the season of life I’m in right now. We are in a particularly busy time with kids in various activities, several leadership roles, and consuming jobs. If I tried to get back to teaching at a gym or start training for a marathon, it would easily take our family’s bandwidth over the top. So instead, I’m choosing exercise modes that will fit into my busy work-at-home-mom lifestyle. Walking with Sam after school dropoff is good cardio exercise, but I also know I need more than that to look and feel like my best self. As much as I’d love to add a weight training video or class to my weekly routine, it’s just not happening right now. Recently though, I discovered this awesome 4-Week Fit & Strong Workout Plan by Emma and Rose, and instantly knew this was something I could make work.
I have the skills and expertise to design my own workout plan, but sometimes it’s just really nice to let someone else tell you what to do (that’s why people hire trainers after all!). This 83-page, beautifully-designed and well-thought out fitness plan is perfect for the person on-the-go who doesn’t have time to plan or obsess over their workouts. Not only is the exercises plan sound, safe and accomplished in just 10-minutes a day, but the expert advice and motivational thoughts sprinkled throughout the workbook make this an easy-to-use, one-stop-shop for getting back into shape. Each and every workout for each and every day is written out and very easy to understand, and its pretty workout trackers certainly captured my design-loving heart. I sent mine off to the printer today and will be getting started on Monday!
Re-Committing to Clean Eating
A few months ago, I shared with you all the 7 eating strategies I used to lose the last of my baby weight. These habits were and are easy-to-implement and are based on a solid healthy foundation. Like many habits though, they slipped away during the lazy days of summer and vacations. But with the return of the school year and renewed energy to focus on my health, I’m ready to return to these simpler, cleaner ways.
In addition to making these simple dietary swaps, I also needed to address our family dinners. A few weeks back, I shared with my email subscribers that I had fallen into a pretty good dinner time rut. I was feeling less and less motivated to prepare healthy meals for my family, and found myself more willing to give in to fast food and take out. Although I think I needed a summer vacation from cooking too, it occurred to me that our recipe rotation hadn’t been refreshed in quite some time. As such, I wasn’t feeling overly excited about anything I was making for dinner. I decided to hunt down some new healthy recipes and the results have been a renewed excitement for preparing healthy meals at home!
I’ve been really loving these mix-and-match recipes from Melissa Joulwan. If I can learn the basics of a simple dish and then swap out the sauce to change it up week in and week out, I’m able to keep things exciting without feeling overwhelmed by complicated recipes and tedious ingredient lists! I also love to make sauces in bulk whenever I can so future healthy meals come together even faster!
Her stir-fry combinations work the same way! By mixing various proteins, vegetables, sauces and aromatics in different combinations, you can have different, satisfying and healthy meals week after week without too much effort!
The last strategy I’m using to get my health back on track is to get re-inspired. I’m honestly a little embarrassed at how I could let my diet and fitness take such a backseat when for so long it was the main driver in my life. While I’ve certainly moved toward a healthier, more-balanced perspective on diet and exercise than I had during my younger, fitness-crazed days…somewhere along the way I lost touch with my vibrant passion for wellness. It can be difficult to stick to exercise and diet routines (no matter how gentle, realistic and healthy they are) without knowing and believing in your “why.” As such, I’ve been making an effort to read and learn and simply get re-inspired to live a healthier life…again.
I told you all a while ago that my diet philosophy very much came from Michael Pollen’s book, In Defense of Food. Well, this gem of an e-book, 10 Steps to Read Food is an excellent “Cliff Notes” version of sorts, taking many of the same concepts and breaking them down into simple, digestible (ha! no pun intended!) chunks. This beautifully designed, well-written e-book is a helpful, educational and motivational resource to anyone who is looking move away from fads and trends and move toward simple, clean, and real food.
Another motivational e-book I am LOVING is this Clean and Lean Blueprint by Amanda at Run to the Finish. Without a lot of fuss and frills, she provides 28 days of thoughtful tips, tricks, ideas and motivations related to health and fitness. I put the PDF on my phone and bring it up each morning while I eat my breakfast. It’s been a long time since I’ve read health and fitness magazines full of quick-and-easy ideas, and Amanda’s ideas are just that! This mini e-book is just another fun way I’m re-focusing on my health and keeping it in the front and center of my day!
The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle
All of the resources and products I shared here today (including my own Food and Fitness trackers!) are part of this year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. This amazing collection of 96 e-books, e-courses, printables and more is chockfull of inspiring, helpful, and useful information that can help you start living a healthier life. It includes a wide variety of topics from Healthy Children and Self Care to Pregnancy, Natural Remedies, Diet and Fitness and so much more. Whether you’re looking to simply get inspired or are ready to start changing your habits now, the resources in this digital library can help you do it!
Living a healthy life can be a challenge. And even with all the knowledge and the best of intentions, work, school, kids, hobbies…life…can get in the way of taking care of ourselves in the way we know is right. But why not make it a little easier with some tried-and-true products, created by smart bloggers who are cutting through the trends to deliver sound, quality information. I’ve gone through almost everything in this bundle; and if you’re like me…ready to re-prioritize your health now that school is back in session…this bundle will get you started down the right path! Want to come with me?!?
I realize I’ve been throwing things at you right and left lately between the Toolbox kit on Tuesday and Get Organized HQ going live next week. However, this bundle is only available until Monday night and there are so many wonderful resources included that I wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to get your hands on it before it’s gone! I know you guys will love this, so take a quick minute to check it all out!
I’d love to hear if you’re re-focusing on anything this September, whether you have a New (school) Year upon you or not! Feel free to chime in in the comments!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend! See you back here next week!Posted In California '16, Personal Post, Product Reviews