Prioritizing Health & Shedding Excess Pounds as a Busy Mom
Hi, I’m A Busy Mom. Here’s How I Prioritized Health & Lost 100 Pounds
There’s power in testimony. Sometimes we find the motivation to commit to what’s needed for our health in observing the experiences and successes of others. One of my favorite quotes is “Better than telling others what to do is to do it with them.” So as I sit at my desk, feeling a bit anxious about sharing my weight-loss story and tips for busy moms, I am reminding myself of that point. First and foremost, I’m doing this with you.
I am a working mom of three little people, ages 8, 7, and almost 6, and I’ve been maintaining a 100 pound weight-loss for over five years. What I’ve learned from my weight-loss journey and clients in my last three years as a personal trainer is that there are only three reasons we “fail” to meet our fitness goals. The great news is that time, one of the most commonly perceived fitness obstacles, is not one of them. Time is actually on our side when it comes to shedding excess pounds because it’s with time and persistence that the transformation occurs.
Of course, what works for one may or may not work quite the same for another, but once you’ve made up your mind that you CAN do it just like any other person who has done it before you, then you’re golden. That doesn’t mean that your journey will look like another’s, but rather, it solidifies that there is a path for you despite any obstacles you may face along the way. The key takeaway here is that you are not stuck.
Stuck. Does that word resonate with you? I remember telling my husband, “This is my body now, and I can’t do anything to change it.” In addition to chronic fatigue and blood sugar issues, I was battling with a serious case of post-partum depression and felt exhausted 24/7. It wasn’t until another mother with three kids the same age as mine came along and shared her story that I felt empowered to take back my health.
As mothers, we give so much love and care to our families, but sometimes we forget to extend that same courtesy to ourselves. I’d say the biggest shift in my weight-loss journey came when I realized that being in good health is vital not only for me but for my children and family. Eating well and moving often is not just about a number on the scale, but it’s also about being an empowered woman, wife, and mother. Always remember that self-care is a divine responsibility and the more you pour into yourself, the more you have to extend to your loved ones.
Weight Loss – Getting Started and Making It Count
You’re a busy mom. So any time or energy you expend towards weight-loss and wellness should be both sustainable and effective. There’s no need for two-a-days at the gym, or extreme diets as these kinds of changes do not stick with us, and truly it’s the sticking with it part that’s the big weight loss secret everyone’s been looking for.
Think “slow down” and “start small” rather than go big or go home.
As I had mentioned before, there are only three reasons we “fail” to meet health and fitness goals:
- Digestive imbalance.
- Micronutrient deficiencies.
- Mental/spiritual blockages.
Let’s talk briefly about how each one of these obstacles manifests in our daily lives and what can be done to shift the pattern and move forward even if your time is limited. Set the intention to implement the suggestions that follow with persistence and watch your efforts add up. Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
Digestive Imbalance – The digestive tract is known as “the second mind” in the holistic health world. You may need to pay attention to digestive health if you have an insatiable appetite, intense simple carb or sugar cravings, frequent mood swings or irritability, IBS or issues with constipation, diarrhea, and bloating, poor memory, or you’ve noticed a lack of progress despite eating well and exercising regularly.
Digestive health effects our body’s ability to lose weight on a massive level. First, if you’re digestive system is filled with excess waste then your body cannot properly absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. If your body is not getting the nutrition it needs, then two things can happen. (1) You will always be hungry. Even when you’ve had plenty to eat, chemicals in your gut will bypass signals that you’re full in an attempt to collect vital nutrients. (2) You will experience intense cravings for simple carbs and sugars. The “quick fix” your body needs to power forward.
The busy mom fix for digestive imbalance?
- Drink a daily digestive support tea. Generally speaking, the brand does not matter. Instead look for an additive-free, organic brand you can drink daily and be consistent. Digestive tea blends help your body gently remove waste, creating a healthier microbiome and clearing space for better nutrient absorption. Improved nutrient absorption equals better control over food cravings.
- Take a daily probiotic. Probiotics contain good bacteria that breakdown food and waste in your digestive tract. A study at Laval University revealed promising research, “After the 12-week weight-loss period, the women who took the probiotic pills had lost 9.7 pounds, on average, while the women who took the placebos only lost 5.7 pounds. And then, after the 12-week maintenance period, the women who took the placebo pills maintained a stable weight—but the probiotics group continued to slim down, losing 1.8 more pounds, on average. By the study’s end, the women in the probiotics group also had less of the intestinal bacteria related to obesity in their systems” (Source).
- Drink more water. Aim for at least three liters to a gallon of filtered water each day. Drinking plenty of water on a regular basis promotes healthy bowel movements and helps your body release waste and toxins that stunt the shedding of excess pounds. I’ve had clients lose 5 to 7 pounds simply because they’re properly hydrated!
Micronutrient Deficiencies –
Micronutrient deficiencies can stem from digestive imbalance or consumption of a Standard American (SAD) Diet. Magnesium, iodine, and vitamin D are the three most common nutrient deficiencies in America, and vitamin B12 is worth mentioning. “We want to be clear here—micronutrient deficiency is a form of malnutrition that in the absence of food (calories) appears as hunger, identified by a malnourished, underweight appearance. However, when energy-dense poor foods are ingested in large quantities, the face of micronutrient deficiency changes to that of obesity” (Source).
Researchers estimate that as many as 80% of Americans are not getting their recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium. Symptoms of deficiency include facial tics, anxiety, difficulty falling or staying asleep, chronic fatigue, and constipation. Magnesium is vital in neurological health, muscular function, bone health, and energy release at the cellular level.
An estimated 40% of Americans are vitamin B12 deficient. Symptoms include low energy, brain fog or confusion, diminished strength, and tingling in the arms and legs. Then there’s vitamin D deficiency, which has become common because Americans don’t get outside as much as they need to. Symptoms include being overweight or obese, head sweating, seasonal depression, and achy bones. Finally, we have iodine deficiency, which may cause weight fluctuations, regularly feeling sluggish or tired, dry skin, puffy face, and sensitivity to cold.
So why are these particular deficiencies pertinent to weight loss? Besides being the most common deficiencies in America – meaning that most of us can benefit from intake of each one – these nutrients play a key role in the regulation of energy levels, mood, weight, and digestion. Getting enough of these vital nutrients helps bring us (mentally and physically) into the space to eat well, move often, and release excess pounds. A holistic health practitioner can test you for nutrient deficiencies and prescribe a custom nutrition program based on their findings. However, we can take steps to feel more energized and boost our body’s ability to shed excess pounds with whole foods and holistic supplements immediately.
The busy mom fix for micronutrient deficiencies?
- Add more nutrient dense foods to your diet. And not just your diet, but your entire family’s diet – they need these micronutrients too! Foods to focus on for the micronutrients I’ve mentioned include almonds, black beans, avocado, spinach, cashews, salmon, raw cacao powder, pumpkin seeds, bananas, 100% dark chocolate, figs, grass-fed meats, seaweed (think miso soup or sushi), eggs, tuna, and raw milk. I start each day with a micronutrient smoothie that includes unsweetened almond milk, collagen peptides, raw cacao powder, spinach, and banana. It makes a huge difference!
- Try one holistic supplement at a time. Whole foods are the best source of nutrients for our bodies, so the addition of any supplement should be considered temporary until your daily eating habits can be adjusted. Chelated magnesium is best for correcting magnesium deficiency, and there are plenty affordable holistic iodine supplements out there. I’d suggest that you read more about the symptoms of each deficiency I’ve mentioned and then have a chat with the herbalist at your local natural goods store. Remember to introduce one at a time, so that you can identify what’s working and what’s not.
- Give collagen or bone broth a try. Collagen is where it’s at, especially for moms. The nutrition in collagen-based protein powders and bone broth nourishes and supports the body in a profound way. Benefits can range from improved digestion and gut healing to decreased appearance of cellulite and a boosted metabolism. The brand is not important, but the quality is. Currently, I use Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (best value), but I’ve also used Golden Ratio and Ancient Nutrition Chicken Bone Broth Meal. If you’re not a smoothie kind of person, try this one-minute homemade bone broth recipe from Dr. Isabell Wentz.
Years ago, I met with a healing arts practitioner and she mentioned that as soon as I healed and released past hurts the excess weight my body was holding would just “fall off.” I laughed, but today I can look back and understand that what she said was true. It may not be true for all people, but it is true for many. In the yoga world, certain physical ailments are associated with spiritual or mental blockages. Excess fat stored around the midsection, for example, is associated with the third chakra and our sense of self. Excess weight stored in the lower half of the body is associated with the first chakra and our sense of security, and so on. If you are holding on to and absorbing things that happen in life, then your body will follow suit. If you are releasing mental/spiritual waste, then your body will also follow suit. That is if this topic applies of course.
The busy mom fix for mental/spiritual blockages?
- Start your day with gratitude and affirmations. We become what we think. So it’s important to set the tone for your day with a quick gratitude practice. It doesn’t require much time, simply think of or jot down ten things you are grateful for each morning. Then say five positive things about who you are or who you are to become. One of my favorites? “I have the energy I need to care for myself and my family today.”
- Get outside (and pay attention) for 10 minutes a day. Interacting with nature reduces cytokine levels, which reduces stress and inflammation in the body. As mothers, it’s likely that we spend time outdoors with our children, but what are many of us doing with that time? Are you talking to a friend, browsing social media, or tuning out of your environment? This grounding exercise only works if you pay attention to nature. Close your eyes and feel the sun. Listen to the leaves rustle. Take deep breaths of fresh air. Tune in and be present, even better if you’re walking while doing this exercise.
- Practice Mini-Yoga. I am so glad that mini-yoga is a thing. It’s founded on the idea that we can reap big benefits from short bursts of yoga movement or meditation. If yoga is not your thing, then you can apply this same concept to another form of movement. Turn on a 10-minute YouTube yoga flow or put music on and dance to three songs with your kids every single day. Physical movement gets energy flowing, and that is a key component of weight-loss.
There you have it. These are out-of-the box, but effective ways to shed excess pounds and improve your overall health as a busy mom. Are you ready for your transformation? Make it happen one meal, one movement, and one meditation at a time. You can get started by choosing one or two suggestions that resonated with you. There’s no need to change everything at once, instead focus on implementing a few small changes consistently, then build up from there. The most important part is that you set your intention on being consistent. If you miss a day or fall off – don’t let it hold you. Get right back on track. Remember, time is on our side when it comes to shedding excess pounds because it’s with time and persistence that the transformation occurs.