I belong to a group on Facebook; it’s a group where women can go to post their vents mainly about weight loss struggles, but also about fitness, health, relationships and any other issue they want to talk about. It’s a great place to get encouragement and support. Most of the women in the group are younger; many of them are married with young children.
I’m probably one of the oldest members of the group, so I’m at a different place in my life. My kids are grown and have their own lives so I find myself with more free time and am able to focus more on my health and fitness. I’ll be 50 in July and am getting to that point where my girls are going to be married in the next several years, will start having kids, and then I’m going to be a grandma! I look forward to it, but I see the years quickly slipping by and the last thing I want is for my health to deteriorate and not be able to enjoy the rest of my life, you know? I want to go on adventures and travel and be active and be able to run around and play with my grandkids, so I’ve spent the last six years or so improving how I eat and working on my fitness. I’m kicking myself for not doing this sooner. And that’s why I’d like to tell the younger women in this Facebook group:
If I could go back, I would have focused on taking better care of myself sooner. I totally get where you’re at in your life right now. Your days consist of caring for your kids, your husband, your job, and everyone else around you – except you. By the time you have even a second of free time to yourself, usually late at night after the kids are in bed, the dishes are finally done, and maybe a load of laundry done, the last thing on your mind is exercise. You’re exhausted and stressed. You just want to take a shower and go to bed, right? And get up early in the morning before everyone else to fit in exercise? Yeah right. Those extra 30 minutes of sleep are precious. The alarm goes off and you just can’t fathom the thought of crawling out of bed and doing any sort of exercise unless it involves picking up a cup of coffee, am I right?
I get it, I was there once. I think I did a pretty good job as a mom. I have two grown daughters who have grown up to be smart, kind, hardworking and responsible. I can’t tell you how many things at school I volunteered for, but if something needed done, I was usually in that group of parents who were helping out. I never missed a game, dance competition, or recital. Exercise? Who has time? Eating healthy? Processed, convenient foods and ordering pizza was all I could muster the energy for.
Am I on point here, ladies?
Making time for me would have felt selfish. I would have felt like a bad parent. On the rare occasion that I did try to establish a workout routine, I would feel guilty the whole time and my brain would be running through all of the 100’s of things I should be doing instead.
If I could go back, I would tell myself this: fuck the housework. Dishes can wait. Your kids (and husband) will survive for 30 minutes while you get in some exercise. Spend a couple of hours on Sunday and do your food prep – roast a bunch of chicken breasts, make a big batch of rice and some beans if you want to skip the meat, and then make up your dishes for the week: protein, grain, and veggies (frozen veggies are perfect for this!). Wash up some fruit and salad greens and then those are ready for when you need them throughout the week. Seriously, this will take you two hours at most and then you have healthy meals to eat throughout the week.
I promise you, doing these things: taking 30 minutes a day to exercise, meal prepping on Sundays, will help you lose weight, will improve your health, which will give you more energy. You’ll sleep better and most likely, getting up in the morning won’t be such a chore.
The best part? You’re being an example for your kids on how to live a healthy lifestyle. They’ll appreciate the extra energy and improved mood you’ll have. Mom won’t be so tired all of the time. Mom seems to have more self-confidence and feels good about herself.
If I could do it all over again, I would have started this healthy stuff a LOT sooner. I’m at a healthy weight, I’m getting stronger every day with fitness goals and achievements, I sleep great, and I have lots of energy. My self-confidence has improved.
And my girls tell me how proud of me they are. That I’m their hero and role model. Wow. You can’t get a bigger compliment than that.
So ladies, I get it. I’ve been there, done that. You can do so much better than I did. It’s never too late. You’ve got this. It will be so worth it and you’ll be so much farther than I am right now at the age of 49.
But this applies to anyone, at any age. It’s never too late. Start now. Make your health a priority. Remember: Put on your OWN oxygen mask first.