I have been doing some research the past couple months, trying to determine what it is that prevents women from taking care of their bodies.
When it comes to their fitness and overall health, I have found that the majority of women face the six following challenges:
1. No motivation
The demands of motherhood can make it very, VERY easy to have difficulty finding the motivation to exercise.
But often what holds us back is the way we look at exercise — as something we do to lose weight. A short-term fix.
Exercise is so often viewed as a means to an end when in reality, exercise is something vital to the health of your body AND YOUR BRAIN.
This is one of my favorite memes:
THIS PICTURE SHOULD BE THE MOTIVATION FOR US TO EXERCISE.
Exercise is not something we do simply to fit into our old jeans.
It is something we do to help ourselves deal with stress, it’s something we do to keep all the parts of our body as healthy as possible, and it’s something we do to improve or maintain our quality of life when we are older.
2. Consistency And/Or Inability To Stick With It
This is a tough one.
It can be so hard to stay on track with exercise.
Establishing some form of exercise into your daily routine can be a really hard habit to develop.
I think the biggest thing that trips most of us up is that we bite off more than we chew. We set goals that are too big, unsustainable, unmanageable, and then when we “fail”, we totally give up.
The key to incorporating exercise into your life is to develop very small, manageable habits.
Making habits manageable is the biggest key to ensuring that they stick.
I get it.
TRUST ME. I GET IT.
I am certain if you had asked anyone who knew me five years ago if they thought I’d have given up booze voluntarily, they would have laughed at you.
Like snort laughed.
But a year ago that’s exactly what I did.
Alcohol was getting in the way of not just my health but my overall happiness.
So I got rid of it.
It hasn’t been easy.
Alcohol is so embedded into mom culture that it’s everywhere.
Mom’s nights out, play dates, whatever… Alcohol is everywhere. Wine memes are everywhere.
Stopping drinking is probably the best thing I ever did for a whole bunch of reasons.
Two of them are that I don’t have to eat a bunch of crap in the morning to feel better after a night of drinking, and I never miss a day of exercise because I’m hungover now.
4. Sugar/Sweets/Junk/Carbs, Snacking, and Emotional Eating
I TOTALLY GET THIS ONE, TOO.
This is by far the hardest one for me.
Harder than quitting drinking. Harder than quitting smoking. Harder than anything.
Food is always there!
And with kids, it’s even more of a challenge to stay on track.
The way we buy and prepare and view food as an American society does not make this any easier for us.
Convenience is a hard habit to break, especially if you were raised eating lots of easily accessible and quickly prepared processed food.
Changing the ways in which you view and prepare food is hard, but once you get that ball rolling, you’d be surprised at how the food you start craving changes also.
There is never enough time in the day for anyone.
But this is especially true for moms.
One of the hardest things for us to do is acknowledge that we can’t do ALL THE THINGS.
We just can’t.
The other thing that often hinders us is the belief that if we are going to work out it has to be for big blocks of time.
You don’t need two hours. You don’t need an hour. You don’t even need a half hour.
You need twenty minutes.
If you have spent twenty minutes on Facebook today or twenty minutes watching TV today or 20 minutes playing Candy Crush or whatever the latest game is, if you have spoken on the phone for twenty minutes, then you definitely have the time to exercise.
We can all find 20 minutes in our day to give our bodies what they need.
6. Guilt — Making yourself a priority with the demands of your family/job/etc.
This may be the biggest one for women.
We are so used to taking care of everyone else.
We schedule, we plan, we make appointments, we take care of breakfast, lunch and dinner, we remember birthdays, we buy the Christmas presents, we keep track of everything and we drive, and we drive, AND WE DRIVE — holy shit there is A LOT OF DRIVING — and once we have done all of these things, there is nothing left in the tank.
What we so often fail to remember is that when the captain of the ship becomes unable to function, the whole ship goes down.
Finding a way to put the oxygen mask on yourself FIRST is a big paradigm shift for so many of us.
You can take care of yourself and your family.
It can be done.
But it takes a paradigm shift.
A shift in priorities, a shift in the way you view exercise, a shift in the way you manage your time, a shift in the way you treat your body.
When you manage to make changes — no matter how small — that chip away at any of these six major challenges, you will be making progress toward a healthier present, and a much healthier future.
A bucket fills drop by drop.
If you are struggling with how to make that shift, Not Your Average Fitness Course may be just what you need.
Not Your Average Fitness Course helps you develop and establish small, manageable habits that help you change your lifestyle in a manageable, sustainable and totally doable way. Even with kids and jobs and husbands and well… life.
It is a flexible program that works for all ages, all sizes, and all levels of fitness. You benefit from daily emails, daily support, and a closed Facebook group which provides you with invaluable support, accountability, ideas, feedback and validation.
The next course begins on Monday, July 17th, and this will be a brand new six week course, with more of a focus on two of the key challenges most women face: motivation and consistency.
If you have taken the course in the past, this next one will offer new mini challenges, new prompts, and new daily messages.
Not ready to pull the trigger yet but could use some support?
Join Not Your Average Fitness Group. It’s a closed Facebook group of women who all support each other in making their health and fitness a priority.
Because it doesn’t take a village just to raise a child.
We all need a village.