A good health regimen.
Susan over at One Woman Show asked me recently what I did to stay healthy and have lots of energy.
She knows that I am a stickler for natural medicine and exercise. And we all know that single parents don't always get the sleep we need.
Let's start with what we put into our bodies. My advice? Two words....
Let's face it. We don't always get the chance to sit down to a good healthy meal. I try to get good stuff in my body anyway through high quality vitamins.
There are tons of synthetic vitamins on the market but none will work as well as any made from whole food concentrates. What this means is that they are actually made from food so your body ingests and processes them as such. I noticed a difference when I switched to whole food vitamins and I LOVE them.
I take fish oils and a calcium/magnesium supplement as well. I am very particular and take high quality brands of both. I try to get a good balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 with cod liver oil and flaxseed oil. Here's a quick reference.
I make smoothies at least 3 times per week (a fabulous time saver) and add lots of other great things such as echinacea (10 days on, 10 days off), carrots, fruit, vitamin c, protein powder, flaxseed oil, honey, and other things that help muscles after working out. I also add juices like pomegranate, acai berry, and aloe vera to my smoothies. Or there are juice concentrates in capsule form that you can buy at the natural foods store too.
I try to watch my budget but I don't skimp on vitamins for me or my girls. I shop at a natural health foods store for all my vitamins.
Every one is different so its best to know your body well. I am very aware of certain foods and how my body reacts to them. I can't do caffeine or I will get a headache. I don't do well with too much sugar in my diet so I try to have small portions of it. I drink LOTS of water during the day and I avoid sodas. I try to buy organic when I can. To buy healthy and stretch your dollars, here is a list of fruits that you don't have to buy organic and those that you should. I try to buy meat from our local butcher rather than the grocery store. I prefer higher quality meat (what little meat that we eat) so our bodies are getting the good stuff.
I am also an avid label reader at the grocery store. As stated above, the closer the food is to its natural state or the closer to whole it is, the better your body will process it. I stay away from high fructose corn syrups and trans fats. I shop the perimeter of the grocery stores where the food is less likely to be heavily processed. I could write an entire post about this alone. If you have any more questions about this, email me.
I think everyone should do yoga. But then again, just as with food, every body responds to certain exercise differently too.
I used to run 3 miles and lift weights for 1 1/2 - 2 hours 5 days a week and I was 40 lbs. heavier than I am now. I couldn't lose the weight for anything. It was when I was gentler on my body with yoga that the weight just began slipping away. I'm fortunate that there's a yoga studio walking distance from my office. I take a yoga class 2-3 times a week during my lunch breaks. Yoga videos are also very helpful.
After watching my soldier in a triathlon before his deployment and then cheering him on in the NYC Marathon, I realized that I should add more cardio into my workout routines. I actually bought myself a bike for my birthday last December and began training. In May, I completed my first major ride, 160 miles, and whew! After that, I was pretty much an expert cyclist. Again, I could devote an entire blog to cycling. I am amazed at how many calories you can burn while feeling like you're 12 years old again!
I have my girls most of the time so I invested in a bike trainer. My bike actually sits next to my bed and I watch TV while riding. It allowed me to get used to the bike seat and I still get a good workout without leaving the house. I usually get on the trainer after the kids go to bed, again about 2-3 times per week. When I have my weekend free, I try to get in a good ride with a cycling group (available usually through a local bike shop) of at least 20-30 miles. Or I will take a 20 mile route that I have mapped out around my town.
I have now added running back into my routine and hope to add swimming within the next 6 months or so. I try to run when the ex has the kids during the week and on the weekends I have free. I have a treadmill in storage and I'm considering putting it in the garage so that I can get in runs when the kids are in bed asleep. I'm still working out the logistics of when to squeeze in some swim time.
I also own a rebounder and try to bounce on it a couple of times per week as well. I learned that I had a sluggish lymphatic system (most Americans do) and that bouncing on a rebounder is really good for you. I love it. And so do my children. I keep it in the living room and they jump on it every day while telling me about school. I like knowing that its keeping them healthy too.
I am actually going to do my first triathlon next June. I was always that person who would say, "Good luck with that" when someone told me they would do a triathlon. I never thought I'd say I was going to do one. The funny thing is, I am constantly amazed at how the human body can be trained. I think yoga helped me to understand that better. I will be 39 in December and I'm more fit and healthy than I have ever been in my life. And I am constantly learning more ways to stay that way.
A BONUS: We may not always get the amount of sleep that we'd like but with the additional exercise, you will definitely get better quality sleep.
A HEALTHY ATTITUDE
Much of how our body feels has more to do with our thoughts than anything else. I do what I can to stay positive. I also allow myself to feel less than positive if I have to. We have to be gentle with ourselves. Just as I had to learn to be gentle on my body with yoga, I have to gentle with myself emotionally as well. Yoga helps me do that. I would also add the support of friends or therapy, faith, writing, meditation and complementary therapies like homeopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture too.
Yeah, ok, vodka helps too! *giggle*
In moderation, my friends. Everything is OK in moderation.
If we can be more pro-active, we will be healthier, stronger and better parents for our children. Think of how you'll inspire them to have their own good health regimen!! Its easy to use the lack-of-time excuse but I'm telling you, if you want to do it, you will make the time for it.
I think a healthy sex life would help too. I'm hoping to add that to my good health regimen real soon!
Chime in: What do you do to stay healthy and keep up with the kids? How do you squeeze in exercise?