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Five Fitness Tips For Busy Moms

  • Danna Demetre, RN Author of Scale Down
  • 2003 25 Sep
Five Fitness Tips For Busy Moms

You take good care of your kids. You make sure they are cared for in body, soul and spirit!  But do you sometimes forget to take care of yourself?  If so, you're not alone.  Recent reports suggest that obesity may soon overtake cigarette smoking as a serious health risk. And only 22 percent of Americans enjoy the recommended amount of regular physical activity. 

If this sounds like you, take a moment to review these fitness tips offered by Danna Demetre, author of Scale Down. Demetre urges single parents (and other people who forget to take care of themselves) to incorporate these five easy tips into their schedules this week. These simple and realistic tips will help you take small steps which, taken consistently, add up in a big way over time. Your first small step it to start reading . . .

TIP #1: Change Your Thinking
Do you really believe you can get and stay lean for life? If you don' won't! Get in tune with your self-talk. Discover your lies...and replace them with truth! You believe what you tell yourself most often. So, what do you believe? In the human mind, the most dominant thought wins. If you tell yourself a new truth long enough, your behavior will change. Make an audio tape with the new messages you truly want to believe and play it a two to three times each day. You'll be amazed at what can and will happen over time. Within a few months, your new self-talk could reset your "automatic pilot" and lead you down a leaner lifestyle path!

TIP #2: Change Your Attitude
Get rid of your old diet mentality and legalize all foods. If you can have any food you want, any time you want it...then you don't need to have it all right now. Give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite foods without feeling guilty. Chances are your cravings will diminish and your will power will increase. And, while you're at it, get rid of your "all or nothing" attitude as well. It's not either a "diet day" or a "blow out day". Every time you think you've gone a little too far off the path...start fresh right then and there. Don't wait until the first day of the week, the first day of the month or the first day of the year. Restart again and again...right now...even if it is Wednesday afternoon!

TIP #3:  Increase Your Energy
The higher your energy, the less likely you will be to overeat. There are several important factors that will energize you to the max. Each is important in its own right, so make sure you don't neglect any of these critical factors:

1. Eat to stabilize your blood sugar:  Include a good source of protein and fiber in most meals and snacks, especially at breakfast and lunch. Shoot for at least 30 grams of fiber everyday. Try to avoid highly processed or sugary foods until after lunch. This will help you maintain a more stable blood sugar and that will significantly diminish cravings.

2. De-stress your life:  Stress releases hormones and sugar into your blood stream creating a vicious cycle of fat storage and adrenaline rushes. When the excess sugar released during stress goes unused, (since most of us aren't being chased by a wild animal) it ends up getting stored as fat. The answer: Decrease your stress.

3. Sleep until you are rested: Well-rested people have higher mental, emotional and physical reserves. The body regenerates at the cellular level only during deep, quality sleep. Most people need a minimum of 71/2 hours per night. Try'll be amazed at how well you'll perform in many areas of your life...including your lifestyle.

4. Exercise for maximum energy: Don't wait to get up and get moving until you have enough energy to exercise. Get moving purposely every day and you will have more energy. You'll feel better, more focused and have better self-control. Get at least 10 minutes of purposeful activity every morning before you jump in the shower. In seven days, you will definitely feel a difference. The ideal is to work toward at least 30 minutes of purposeful activity (a.k.a. "exercise") most days of the week.

TIP #4:  Burn More Calories
The bottom line to all weight management is simply: Calories In vs. Calories Out. But, most people severely underestimate how many calories they eat and over estimate how many they burn during exercise. If you only eat ten calories more than you burn each day, you'll gain an extra pound of fat every yea. It's the small stuff that adds up over time. So, take action and reverse that equation by burning more calories each and everyday. Just a little improvement can make a huge difference over time!

The average woman eats over 2,000 calories per day, but she only burns about 1,700. That's the perfect formula to gain about 30 pounds in a year. And people wonder why Americans are getting fatter every year-it's simple math.

Here are a few ways to burn a pound of FAT off your body each week:

1.  Eat 500 less calories every day. (That's about 2/3 of a scone at Starbuck's)

2.  Burn 500 calories more every day. (That's about 4 miles of walking or jogging)

3.  Eat 250 calories less and burn 250 calories more each day. (That's a lifestyle change)
4.  Get motivated to burn more calories with a Caltrac activity monitor.
5.  Build two pounds more muscle and increase your metabolism 100 calories a day.

6.  Always park farther away, take the stairs and walk instead of ride whenever you can.

TIP #5: Creative Ways to Eat Fewer Calories

1.Practice portion control: Eat one-third to one-half your normal food portions whenever possible. Leave part of your sandwich on the plate or eat only half of your cookie. You'd be amazed at how this simple technique will work...if you practice it consistently.

Consider this: If you've been eating an average of 2,400 calories per day, a reduction of only 10 percent would result in a daily caloric savings of 240 calories. That's about 24 pounds in one short year. One caution: never decrease your fruit or vegetable servings.

2. Become a daytime eater: Try eating half as much food as you usually do after 6:00 p.m. Most Americans would be much leaner if we simply ate less food in the evenings! Think about it...we burn most of our calories in the early part of our day and eat most of our calories just before going to bed. Go wonder we're getting fatter.

3. Go to "Calorie College":  Buy a good quality "nutritional counts" book and take one month to determine exactly what you are eating most days (not just when you are dieting). Simply knowing what you eat is essential to making wise choices. Once you find out that your favorite scone at Starbuck's is 680 calories and that mocha is 560, you might choose to have them less often. We wouldn't think of neglecting to balance our checkbooks, but most of us don't have a clue how much we are eating or burning.

4. Practice substitution: Find lower calorie versions (not just lower fat) of your favorite foods whenever possible. There are so many tasty ice cream products that have a lot less calories than Ben & Jerry's. Read labels and try new things. And remember, lower fat does not always mean fewer calories.

5. Avoid extremes of hunger and fullness:  Make a commitment that you will never allow yourself to get too hungry or eat until you are overfull. Get tuned into the fact that anytime you have overstuffed your stomach, you will most likely be overstuffing a few fat cells and anytime you get extremely hungry, you are setting yourself up for a binge.

6. Practice the ten-minute delay strategy:  Whenever you have a craving for something and you're not the least bit hungry, don't tell yourself you can't have it. Simply drink a tall glass of water and wait ten minutes. If you still want it, then have half the amount you usually would. This technique works most of the time...try it!

Danna Demetre has been actively involved in the health and fitness industry since 1974. Her professional experience is diverse and includes many years as a registered nurse, fitness professional, corporate manager and professional trainer. For more information and resources, visit her website: