We have discussed why homeschool moms need to make time to get fit to better care for our families and our God-given tasks. Now here are some resources to help you get on your way!
10 Resources for the Mom who wants to get fit
1- Start with NEAT
What is NEAT? Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. In other words, your daily movement needs to increase. Burning more calories and increasing your metabolism by simply incorporating more movement into your day will drastically change how your body uses fuel. To track this, you can use your iPhone but I prefer dedicated tracking devices, and fitbit is my favorite.
- fitbit one – Basic and it does the job. You can set silent alarms, track steps, flights of stairs (it counts uphill hikes, too), calories burned, and it synchs with your iPhone app (and 150ish smart phone models). It also tracks sleep if you remember to set it, and I usually don’t. I’ve had my ftbit one for a few years and it’s great, but the fitbit Charge HR is on my Christmas list 😉
- fitbit Charge HR – Everything the one does and more! It monitors your heart rate, gives you call alerts, daily stats, and time of day on the display. It synchs with over 150 smart phones. It also comes in purple. That’s the one on my wishlist because I love purple!
- fitbit Surge Superwatch: I think these are incredible, and my brother in law loves his. It’s just more than I need. If you’re a tech lover or a runner, this may be the one for you! GPS tracking, monitoring of route, elevation, and distance. Workout summaries and tracking. Sleep and heart rate monitoring. Synchs with 150 smart phones. Call and Text notifications. See? It’s pretty awesome.
Before you focus on adding in exercise routines, increase your daily movement. Try a standing or walking desk for working time, add in a morning and afternoon walk with your kids, do lunch outdoors after a hike to a picnic spot, go up and down the stairs in between lessons. Just up your movement and keep track of it. After 2 weeks of 5K steps a day, make your daily goal 6K steps, and keep increasing in small increments till you hit 10K steps a day. You’ll be amazed at the difference your non-exercise movement will make.
2- Meal Planning and 3- Grocery shopping
You can’t out exercise a bad diet.
I’m sure you’ve heard about shopping the perimeter of the store. That only works out well for your health and budget if you’ve already done meal planning.
Meal Planning is an integral part of making sure you’re consuming good food in good quantities. I plan out 1-2 weeks at a time, occasionally a month if I know our schedules are going to be extra busy. It takes 30 minutes to an hour when I do it with a few new recipes because I compile my grocery list at the same time. The cookbooks I use most are Whole30 Recipes, Fixate, Eat Like a Dinosaur, and for baking fun America’s Test Kitchen How Can It Be Gluten Free. We eat a mainly paleo diet because of the boys having multiple and some severe food allergies, which is why I love Whole30 and Eat Like a Dinosaur.
Meal planning also allows for left over nights, saving money eating out because you already know what’s supposed to be for dinner and have planned ahead, and allows for more family dinners which are a great time to bond, to reflect, and to enjoy the company of your family. Keep your meals simple! One meat/protein, and two veggies or one veggie and one fruit are a great way to keep the balance and not feel overwhelmed!
You can do this with paper and pencil or electronically, I prefer the old school method. Once your meals are all laid out and you have your grocery list, check your pantry for staples. Finish up your list and then get ready for grocery shopping.
Grocery Shopping Online and In Store
We shop online for several items like cultured ghee, quality grass fed meats, gluten free flours, snacks for Mr. F for preschool, etc. These items are generally less expensive to purchase online from places like Thrive Market and US Wellness Meats. If you have a good farmers market or international market near you, then you may be able to find them there. As a homeschool mom, I feel like spending a few extra minutes researching to keep our food budget in check really helps our family. Once you know what to purchase online, it’s time to head to the store.
- Don’t shop hungry. You’ll be the proud owner of aisle 4 and your list will have been for naught. This goes for online shopping, too. Trust me.
- Work your list in the order you prefer to shop the store. Produce first, then meats, then dairy, etc.
- Skip the cookie aisle! ‘Nuff said, right? I don’t believe in total deprivation. BUT if you have a sugar addiction, now is the time to break it. Consider a Whole30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox. Even too many bowls of banana “ice cream” can be a sign you have a super sweet tooth. Heal your taste buds, then you can see if you are able to indulge with moderation.
- The first few times, try to go shopping without the kids, if possible. The less distraction and “mommy, puhleeeeeeeze” you have to deal with, the more confidant you’ll get in your resolve and your healthy shopping abilities.
If I’m craving sugar or haven’t gotten to eat yet, I grab a plant based protein About Time Vegan Protein Shake. It keeps me from going bonkers at the grocery store and buying all the sugar.
Accountability is key in beginning a healthier lifestyle. I have an awesome Beachbody coach. Ivette (Ivette Aponte if you are looking for an amazing coach when you sign up!) has been such a great supporter of me and helped me make the jump to Beachbody on Demand, a great way to always have a workout even when I’m traveling and I don’t ever get bored because I can always try a new workout!
Find yourself an accountability partner. Another mom, your spouse, your teen, a friend from church, or a whole accountability group. I am in a challenge group for accountability 🙂 Everyone needs support and we all have bad days. Having encouragement to go on, to not wolf down a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a particularly trying session of All About Reading, to do that workout even if it’s the end of the day and you’d just rather go to bed, it’s priceless. Get an accountability partner! Stat!
5- Fitness Journal
Fitbook is awesome! Record meals, workouts, how you’re feeling, measurements and more. A plain old notebook laying around your house works great, too.
Keep track of your progress, your meals, how you feel, etc. It’s also a great way to figure out if there’s a food or workout type that isn’t right for you. I have hypothyroidism, so gluten bothers me a lot and steady state cardio is NOT a good idea. I also need a decent bit of carbs so I eat a banana daily and sweet potatoes several times a week. I wouldn’t know this without keeping track of my food!
Making a life change to become more fit is as much spiritual as it is physical. The following are books and devotionals I recommend for Moms getting stronger in the Word and in their muscles.
- Made to Crave: Satisfying your deepest desires with God, not food by Lysa TerKeurst
- Cross Training Devos, Vol. 1: 21 Daily Devotions by Michelle Myers
- Reshaping it All by Candace Cameron Bure
- Bible Verses to Get You Moving Free Printable by me 😉
Homeschool lends itself to the house. So for most homeschool moms, going to the gym may not be the best option. If you can get to the gym, great! But don’t do just cardio. Weights are great for building bone mass, for defining (not bulking up), for major fat burning, and, for me, they are a great stress reliever.
If you can’t get to a gym, here are 3 great options!
- The Living and Active 5 Week Challenge from Clare Smith. This book and program are an awesome faith and fitness combo that will have you in better shape and with a wonderful outlook in just 5 weeks.
- Fitness Blender channel on YouTube. There are so many great FREE workouts here! Many different length workouts, too. A big plus if you’re working out through nap time.
- Home Workout programs. I love all my Beachbody programs, but 21 Day Fix and PiYo are the stand out winners for this busy mom and how I’ve lost 40 pounds even with hypothyroidism. Other home workout programs I found effective are Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and Beginner Shred.
8- Get a Good Scale – Use it once a week at most
We have the Aria because it synchs and works with our fitbits and measures body fat percentage. Any good scale will do, but do NOT judge progress by numbers. You’ll only end up weighing yourself to death. The first time I did 21 Day Fix, I only lost 4 pounds. But I lost 12 inches, which was much more exciting at that point. Numbers don’t define you or your health.
9- Get good shoes
Not all workout shoes are created equal or for the same workouts. For aerobics and dance, you need shoes with a pivot point. For cross training you need serious shock absorption. For running, you should go to a reputable running store and get fitted. My favorite shoes are Asics Nimbus, they are perfectly amazing for my high arches.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. Your goals should challenge you, but they shouldn’t be unachievable. They should also be specific. I want to lose 40 pounds is not a specific goal. I want to lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks is not a realistic goal. I want to lose 10 pounds in 7 weeks and I will do it by cleaning up my diet, increasing my NEAT, and adding in a PiYo workout 3-4 times a week is the kind of goals you need to focus on. Set your long term goal, but make step goals to get there.
And have fun! Don’t worry or stress. You will mess up. Workouts will get missed. Events will happen to throw your meals off, but it’s one meal/workout. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! Just keep moving forward, friends. You’ve got this!