By Emily Saunders

Time is an issue for Moms… period! No matter how much planning we do or how much we multi-task there is never enough time in the day to check everything off of the list. Because of this just the thought of implementing healthier habits- starting an exercise routine, eating better, finding ways to de-stress seems overwhelming. I know- I’m right there with you!

To replace bad habits and implement new healthier habits we have to carefully consider the energy involved in doing so. For example, if I told a Mom who resorts to take-out 7 nights per week that she needs to start cooking full-course meals every single night- it’s not going to happen. It might work for one week and then she would likely throw her hands up in the air in frustration and exhaustion.

So how can we make it happen? How can we prioritize health, fitness and relaxation while keeping up with all of our work, family and household responsibilities? Here are my top 9 Tips:

Quit the Gym: That’s right. Do not go to the gym. If it takes you all the energy and time you have just to get to there then it’s probably not going to happen. Invest in 2 pairs of dumbbells and a mat and commit to 20 minutes of full body exercises completed in your living room.

Keep healthy snacks everywhere: If you search my purses, diaper bag, and car you will find protein bars, nuts, and apples in each. I always have a snack ready so I don’t find myself stuck without snacks and vulnerable to temptations.

Prepare for Success: Want to eat healthier? Spend one hour over the weekend preparing healthy meals or snacks for the week. Hard Boil a dozen eggs for breakfast on the go, chop up celery for dipping in hummus or almond butter, cook some chicken breasts to cut up on top of salads and put a family friendly healthy meal in the crock pot. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in one hour! Make an appointment with yourself for both meal preparation and exercise. Make your health a priority- you can’t be your best for your kids without it.

Make one meal and only one meal for dinner:
Have a picky eater? Enabling poor eating habits by providing a separate meal only encourages the behavior to continue. Most kids will eat what’s in front of them if they’re hungry. That’s not to say they won’t complain about it, but put your foot down and sooner than later they will like or at least eat most foods. You will save time, energy, and money and create a healthier and more adventurous eater.

Trade Cardio for Weight Training: I’m going to share a little secret. If you want to get smaller pick up a pair of challenging dumbbells and stop running for hours on end. When combined with proper nutrition, weight training is the BEST way for women to encourage fat loss. Choose 4 exercises that employ multiple muscle groups and set a timer for 20 minutes. See how many rounds of the series you can complete during the interval resting as needed.

Make Family Time Fitness Time: This can be really easy! There are countless games that you can play with your kids that get everyone moving. Something as simple as chasing a balloon around the yard can keep young kids occupied for hours and keep Mom moving too! Another idea: Take a walk as a family and when Mom says “FLOOD” everyone has to find an object (leaf, rock etc) to stand on to serve as his or her “raft”.

Sprint: Want a flat tummy? Rather than doing hundreds of crunches hit the pavement for sprint work. Run or walk as fast as you can for 20 seconds then walk slowly back to your starting point. Repeat 5 to 10 times. Sprinting activates fat burning hormones in the body (crunches don’t do this) while also exercising the full abdominal wall. Try it- your abs will feel it the next day!

Set aside 30 minutes per week for Mom: As busy Moms we rarely take time for ourselves. However, stress is a major contributor to all types of health conditions from suppressed immune systems to weight loss resistance to heart disease. We cannot take care of our families if we are not taking care of ourselves! Schedule at least 30 minutes per week to read, take a bath, get a pedicure or just have some peace and quiet.

Throw Away the Scale: Weight can fluctuate up to 5 pounds during the day dependent on hydration, the last meal, digestion, and much more. Additionally, the scale doesn’t differentiate between fat, muscle, bone, water, and blood. It’s just not objective and it will drive any Mom crazy. If you must weigh yourself then do so no more than weekly. A better tool for assessing results is a favorite pair of jeans. Clothes never lie and the scale can never be trusted.

What are your best tips?

Emily Saunders is part of the Momsanity Team, which is a community of Moms striving to achieve balance through physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. You can read more about this amazing program here, and also get information about the Momsanity Sisterhood here. The Sisterhood is a closed group with nutrition guidelines, workouts designed for fat loss and strength building, daily spiritual guidance, and more!