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Fitness & Mental Health for Mom

As moms we have many different hats that we wear. We play the role of chefs, nurses, cleaners, counselors and SO much more. Whether we stay at home or work outside of the home, we are all working moms. It’s a job that we have 24/7 and by far the most amazing job there is. Being a mother combined with everything else that we do can be stressful. As a mother of three small children, that also works, I can say this from experience… It can be challenging at times to consistently make time for myself and be mindful of how I can effectively manage stress in a positive and beneficial way.

Something I strive to do is focus on both mental and physical health. Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. When we exercise endorphins are released. Endorphins are hormones that the body releases in response to stress such as physical pain or intense exercise. After these chemicals are released, they cause feelings of well being and euphoria. Finishing a workout gives a sense of accomplishment and boosts energy.

When paired with eating a balanced diet, there aren’t many activities that make you feel that good. The recommended amount of exercise each week is either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Exercise can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Here are some tips to make this a regular practice for yourself.

 

  1. Do something you enjoy: This looks different for everyone. If you find it challenging to figure out how to incorporate it into your schedule, think outside the box.
  2. Workout ideas for your moms:
    1. Take your kids out on a walk or jog around the neighborhood while pushing the stroller.
    2. For those of you that have kids that are a little older, make it a fun family challenge and workout together at home. Physical activity doesn’t require you to go to the gym or a fitness class, you can do workouts at home too.
    3. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, try to exercise early before the kids wake up or during nap times.
    4. If you don’t work from home, take advantage of lunch breaks or any time that you have before or after work.
    5. Your workouts can be spread out in multiple mini sessions throughout the day instead of one longer session. It’s perfectly fine and still counts if you do two 15 minute sessions a day or three 10 minute ones. It all adds up and will make a difference.

 

SAMPLE AT HOME WORKOUT: INTERVAL TRAINING:  A workout I like to do at home, when I can’t make it to the studio to train, is interval based training. This is accomplished by establishing a set amount of time to perform the exercise(s) followed by a set period of time to rest and repeating the sequence. I like to choose at least 1-2 upper and lower body exercises, 1-2 core exercises and at least one cardio intensive exercise and end it with some stretching. This method helps keeps my intensity higher and lets me accomplish more in less time.  For example, do 4 rounds of squats, push-ups, lunges, bicep curls, jumping jacks, and a plank hold. The work : rest ratio for this would be 30 seconds on : 60 seconds off. 

 

Whether it be Zumba, Yoga, weight training or a great walk with the kids, just keep moving. In order for us to continue all that we do and have peace of mind, we HAVE to take care of ourselves and make it a priority. Your kids will be so motivated and inspired by this.  So the next time you feel anxious and stressed, remember that you are only one workout away from a good mood!

UC

Moms, Do you know how your daughter sees herself?

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness week and the National Eating Disorders Association’s (NEDA) 2017 theme is “It’s Time to Talk About It.” We are thankful to have a mom who is willing to share her story and talk about her daughter’s battle with eating disorders. With Kristen’s permission, we’d love to share her story and insight as a mother:

 

Dear Girl Moms,

Isn’t it fun when you are scrolling through Instagram and come across a picture with your daughter posted by one of her friends? Your eye is immediately drawn to her and I imagine like me, her smile makes you beam. You couldn’t love her any more. To you, she is perfect.

Only that’s not at all how she sees it.

Even if she “likes” the picture, on the inside she can’t believe her friend chose that one to post!  She scrutinizes every detail. Everyone else looks perfect, but not her. By comparison she is convinced she is fat, not as pretty or whatever else. And the longer she stares at the picture, the more down on herself she becomes.  In her mind, everyone perceives her in the same way she sees herself.

I’m telling you this because this is how it was for my daughter.

I had no idea she felt the way she did about her changing middle school body. It never entered my mind to even ask because at the time nothing about her demeanor let on to the deep dissatisfaction she felt. She was beautiful; still is.

A year or so later when she began trying to lose a little weight, I didn’t initially see anything wrong with her desire to eat healthier and to be more active, especially since her swim team season had ended. But as weight loss became noticeable and others began complimenting her on how good – how skinny – she looked it strengthened her resolve to keep going and her new found discipline became obsessive. (This is why I’ve learned to stop giving the “You look so skinny!” compliment to anyone.)

What started out as a little dieting quickly turned to sever food restrictions and major calorie-counting. I feared anorexia setting in. But she couldn’t see it, at least not yet.

Months later an extremely low resting heart-rate scared her back into eating, but as is the case with many who battle eating disorders it can quickly swing from one extreme to another.  Nearly a year later bulimia had become a controlling secret.

Finally, she admitted needing help and from there it was a two-year healing process. At times it felt like a never-ending road, but the care and counsel she received from Banister Nutrition was instrumental in her ultimate recovery. No longer is she held captive by the negative body image, comparison and eating disorder that characterized her high school years and for that we are eternally grateful for Carol at Banister.

Early in her treatment I struggled with my own worth – as a mom.  I felt like I had failed for not knowing the intense struggle going on inside her head and behind closed doors. It was especially hard to reconcile because we had a close relationship (even more so today) and talked freely about seemingly everything. But I now better understand the shame and guilt coinciding with an eating disorder which makes admitting the problem extremely hard. It is the reason far too many people suffer silently and even the ones being treated often hide behind a mask.

This is why my daughter and I both talk about eating disorders openly on social media and elsewhere. We want to be resources and encouragement to anyone living enslaved by an eating disorder or a false sense of worth from body comparisons and shaming. In fact, this part of my daughter’s story is also what has led to my upcoming book. Though not specifically about eating disorders, it is the reason why I felt it necessary to write a book for teen/college girls on identity and worth.

I hope to spare you moms the pain of walking this road with your daughter. I want to help your daughter know her worth secure in Christ.  Please don’t assume you know what she thinks when she sees herself in a picture. Start the conversation. Ask heart-penetrating questions and always, always point her back to who Christ is for her. Her identity is only secure in Him.

And if you do find yourself in my shoes, you are not a bad mom. Christ was perfect for you too. So, don’t hide in shame or fear of what others will think. Reach out and let someone bear your burdens with you. And if I can be that friend, I will.

Growing in Grace Together,

Kristen Hatton

 

To read more of Kristen’s blogs, learn about her book, or see her speaking events calendar go to http://www.kristenhatton.com/. More eating disorders resources, screening tools, and ways to get involved, visit www.nedawareness.com. Keep talking about it and be screened. -HM