How to Stay Healthy without Working Out or Dieting
I have to confess, I have become enthralled with the idea of invisible exercise, weight-loss and eating. What does that mean? It’s the concept that you can exercise and eat well, and lose weight and stay fit, without ever noticing you’re doing it. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not! It’s real! I know because I have experienced it since having my baby.
When numerous people suggested I start a program helping others ‘lose the baby weight’, I thought I’d give it a shot. I sat down to get something on paper, but quickly realised I really haven’t done anything that could constitute a weight-loss program!
I’ve learned the value of fitting in exercise and healthy eating around my baby. To be clear, I’m not saying I do workouts with my baby, or that I don’t have to be healthy to lose weight. What I mean is, raising a baby is my workout.
Other women have to go to the gym and lift weights. I carry a baby around and lift her up and down all day long.
Other women have to do squats and all sorts of core exercises. I rock my baby at random intervals throughout the day and night.
Other women have to watch how much they eat. I only eat when I get a chance, and I eat well because my toddler wants exactly what’s on my plate.
I guess all the sore muscles are proof of the workouts I’ve been doing each and every day. The thing is though, I can’t get around the things I have to do with my little one, so I may as well take advantage. At first I was just trying to be the best mama I could be, but once I realised the benefits I was reaping myself, I began to enjoy and embrace all the ways my baby was making me healthier.
Here are just a few examples:
- I carried my baby instead of putting her in the pram.
- I pushed the pram and got it in and out of the car, instead of letting someone else do it.
- I ate healthy snacks instead of junk food, to get more nutrients while breastfeeding.
- I drank extra water in between breastfeeds and drank herbal tea instead of coffees.
- I did little squats and bounces when I rocked my baby, as that’s what she preferred.
- I lifted my baby up above my head for a fun game, or lifted her up high to show her photos on the walls (etc).
- I sneaked extra vegies into ordinary meals.
- I parked the car far away from the entrance to the shops, to make sure there was always enough space to get my baby in and out of the car (which meant walking further).
- I put my baby in a carrier or pram, and went for a walk to put her to sleep when she needed movement (instead of driving).
- I played on the floor with my baby, which meant getting up and down all day long.
- I took multivitamins while breastfeeding.
- I learned to value sleep, and get as much of it as I could, when I could.
Where can you add in extra little exercises and healthy eating, without really noticing? Where can you embrace being active and eating well, as part of your regular mama responsibilities? I’m telling you, invisible exercise is addictive, especially when your friends and family tell you how great you’re looking, or when you can buy a smaller size pair of jeans and throw out your maternity pants. All I’ve done is kept active and eaten well, and not taken the laziest option when I had the chance.
It’s not just about the baby weight, though. It’s about feeling good and taking care of ourselves when it’s too hard to get to the gym, or go for a walk. It’s about making sure we are sustaining ourselves so we can greet our loved ones with enthusiasm and energy each day. It’s about strengthening our bodies and our minds for the task of raising another human being. And it’s about making sure we look after ourselves, not just because the whole family hinges on us, but because the quality of our own life does, too.
I have worked hard to be healthy, but I also haven’t really noticed, because I was just trying to be the best, involved, mama I could be.
Now I know many mamas struggle with getting ‘their body back’, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about health, not body image. That’s a whole other topic in itself! The truth is, pregnancy and motherhood have helped me to be the healthiest I have ever been. How about you?