Being a mom – at any stage of the game – presents challenges to consistently implementing health and wellness habits. That doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goals, though. Here are 15 tips to help you make gains even if you feel like you don’t have enough time or energy.
I’m supposed to write a strong opening hook here. Maybe a personal story to draw you in. Maybe some hard-hitting fact about motherhood to make you receptive to the rest of the article.
You’re a busy mom, though. Your kid is probably trying to find a way to off themselves right now. In fact, you’re probably not even reading this. I would be surprised if you haven’t already scrolled past this, straight to the tips.
So let’s get to it. Here they are…
Tip #1: Extend yourself a lot more grace and patience.
Our culture seems to push the fantasy of the “Super Mom.”
It’s the mom that can handle everything. The ultimate multi-tasker who is able to avert crises before they happen and effortlessly handle the ones that couldn’t have been predicted.
The result is that moms everywhere are desperately trying to live up to the hype. This means putting everyone else before you. It means running yourself into the ground. It means striving for an impossible standard.
If this is the path you’re on, you will not have the physical, mental, and emotional resources needed to consistently engage in healthy habits. You will not reach your body & life goals.
The solution is to stop striving for standards that can’t be achieved and refrain from beating yourself up when you inevitably fall short of Super Mom status.
Start extending yourself a lot more grace and patience. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.
Tip #2: If you have a spouse/partner, enlist their help.
There are a lot of moms in the Rebooted Body Online Academy. In the early days of working with us, overwhelm is something they talk about frequently.
When asked about help from spouses or other family members, they often say they don’t get very much help. When asked about their requests for help, they often say they haven’t made many (or have made some half-hearted requests).
You can see the issue here, right? It’s not that other people aren’t willing to help, it’s that they aren’t being asked (in very clear and direct terms).
This can directly relate to the Super Mom fairy tale I talked about in Tip #1. Super Moms don’t ask for help, right?
You *need* to protect your physical, mental, and emotional resources if you want to reach your body and life goals. That’s an inescapable fact. So you have to start asking for help. And you must do so wholeheartedly.
Be clear, be direct, and appeal to your partner’s (or whomever you’re asking) empathy.
Tip #3: Schedule your fitness time on a family calendar.
If you have fitness activities that you love to participate in, make sure they’re on the family schedule. Everyone should know they exist. Everyone should be able to see when they’re going to happen.
Protect these times. Don’t get in the habit of moving them too often. Hold firm on them. Drive home the point that they’re important.
Your spouse or other helpers should know about these times and be prepared to step in. This is your time and it’s going to happen. Everyone else can fend for themselves while you invest a little time back into yourself.
Tip #4: Make your workouts more physiologically efficient.
If you’re really pressed for time, it’s important to maximize the results you’ll get from the time spent.
Going on a 60-minute walk or to a 60-minute personal training session is fantastic, but it’s not always practical. Sometimes you have 10-20 minutes and you need to make it count.
The first thing you must know is that doing 10-20 minutes of any type of exercise is beneficial. A lot of busy moms think, “Short workouts won’t really do anything for me. If I can’t do an hour, I won’t do anything.”
That’s false thinking. 10-20 minutes can be just as effective as longer workouts, especially if you take the advice I’m about to give you.
To make your workouts more efficient, focus on intensity instead of duration. You can get amazing results with very little time invested by implementing this simple philosophy.
Tip #5: Invest in a meal/food delivery service like SunBasket.
At first glance, you might think, “Yeah, I wish.”
Your first objection might be, “money.” Your second objection might be, “my family won’t eat that stuff.”
Let me tell you something: Even if a service like SunBasket costs a little more than you’d spend on regular groceries and cooking, it’s worth it in terms of reduced stress, time saved, etc.
Don’t be penny-rich and dollar-poor. Being full-throttle all the time and doing everything yourself costs a lot of money in the long run.
Let SunBasket deliver 3 delicious meals to you every week. In our family, we make the kids something simple ahead of time and then make the SunBasket for ourselves after they’re in bed.
You don’t have to follow the same strategy as we do – just find a way to make it work for you so you can save yourself time and stress.
By the way, this link will get you 3 free meals from SunBasket.
And if you need some help and tips to get started in the kitchen or making your cooking life easier, check out these beginner cooking tips.
Tip #6: Have quick sources of protein on hand at all times.
There are two situations you’ll want to avoid as a busy mom trying to be healthy:
- Getting stuck unprepared with nothing to eat.
- Getting so stressed that you eat the first thing you come across.
Having some convenient protein on hand will rescue you from both of these situations.
Why protein? Because protein is the best satiety trigger with very little downside.
The last thing you want to do is grab high-glycemic carbs. If you do that, you’ll put yourself on a cravings roller coaster.
You could potentially grab some fat (some people will eat avocado, for example) as well, but that won’t provide satiation as long as protein will.
Stock up on things like Epic Bars, high-quality jerky, hard-boiled eggs, tuna/sardines, etc. These can be a life-saver in a pinch.
Also, remember that being healthy doesn’t require perfection. It’s not “bad” to grab whatever is convenient. But if you make a habit out of grabbing what’s convenient, you won’t reach your goals.
Aim for preparedness most often, but don’t beat yourself up if you have to grab something out of convenience.
Tip #7: Young kids? Push a stroller on a long walk or use a carrier.
Fitting in exercise doesn’t always mean leaving the kids behind. If you have young children, invest in a good jogging stroller (for under $100).
You can push your kids on a long walk or a run. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, put this stroller to use for increasing the intensity (see Tip #4). You can a great workout from investing 6-10 minutes in mastering the mile.
If you want to use a baby carrier or wrap instead (for younger kids), you can still get a good walk in.
Tip #8: Use smoothies for convenience.
I’m a proponent of eating real, solid food the vast majority of the time. But I’m also pragmatic. A smoothie is way better than McDonald’s.
To make the most out of a smoothie, use a high-quality protein powder, a low or no-sugar base, more veggies than fruit, and toss in some healthy fat.
Here’s the recipe for the official Rebooted Body Power Smoothie if you need some inspiration.
Tip #9: Stop micromanaging your food and eating habits.
Micromanaging your eating (counting calories, portion controlling, tracking points, etc.) adds a lot of unnecessary stress to the idea of eating healthy.
While you may think those tactics are necessary to reach your goals, they aren’t. Your body has a much more accurate internal food calculator that can make managing your eating and reaching your goals feel effortless.
Tip #10: Cut some things from your schedule.
If you’re playing the Super Mom game, I can almost guarantee that your schedule is way more full than it needs to be.
Again, I have a lot of experience in this area. I’ve seen the schedules of moms working through our online programs. In fact, this is one of the areas where I’m able to create some very quick wins and recover a lot of physical, mental, and emotional resources right off the bat.
If I sat down with you right now to audit your schedule, I have no doubt that I could recover a significant amount of time. And doing so would lift a significant amount of mental and emotional weight as well.
This recovered time and energy could be immediately invested back into *you*.
This is something you can do on your own, by the way. Audit your schedule and then commit to saying “No” more often.
Oh, and stop lying to yourself about how you don’t have enough time to be healthy. Everyone has the same amount of time. Whenever you feel like saying, “I don’t have enough time for that,” translate it to, “that’s not a priority right now.”
It doesn’t mean you have to do the thing you said you didn’t have time for, it just means you have to stop lying to yourself about the reason for not doing it.
Tip #11: Actually play with your kids.
There’s a reason active children are at a naturally a healthy weight – they’re very active!
Sure, their body invests a lot of food resources into growth as well, but there’s no denying that most kids are much more physically active than adults are.
If you want to enjoy many of the same results that children do, play with them.
Instead of sitting on the bench at the park looking at your phone, play with your kids.
Instead of sending your kids outside to play by themselves, play with your kids.
You don’t have to always be playing with your kids, of course. I get that you want a break. But many parents never play with their kids in any physical capacity.
Start playing with them more often. Not only will you benefit, but they’ll benefit greatly as well.
Tip #12: Join a sport or activity you can participate in with your kids.
Most parents sign their kids up for sports that involve other kids. That’s a great thing, but it’s not your only option.
If your goal is to be more physically active, consider signing your child up for sports that involve you as a parent.
Many martial arts schools, for example, have parent/child combo classes. Some yoga places do this as well.
Even if your child is enrolled in a sport that they only play with other kids, you might be able to play the same sport with them outside of their regular class/training times.
Tennis, soccer, swimming, baseball, and lacrosse are all examples of sports you can play/practice with your children. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be a warm body with great intentions.
Tip #13: Use your children for resistance training.
You can use this trick with babies all the way to pre-teens (depending on how strong you are).
For babies, put them in a carrier and then do conventional bodyweight exercises such as squats and lunges. They’ll add some extra weight to what you’re doing and bond with you at the same time.
For older kids, have them be a human backpack (or front-pack). They’ll get a kick out of it.
You can also incorporate your older kids into the workouts. Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (great martial arts for weight loss and fitness) both have some really great partner exercises that you can do with kids as well.
The options are only limited by your creativity. The point is that you can get a great workout in WHILE spending quality time with your kids. Who doesn’t have time for that?
Tip #14: Use your crockpot more often.
This is pretty low-hanging fruit when it comes to being healthy on a tight time budget but you’d be surprised at how many people aren’t utilizing it enough.
There’s no shame in having a slow-cooker meal every single night for a week if that’s what needs to happen. The variety of flavors and meals you get from a crockpot are endless.
Here are some of our favorite slow-cooker recipes to get you started.
Tip #15: Give intermittent fasting a shot.
What’s Intermittent Fasting? It’s hard to pin down a solid definition because there are so many variations and philosophies. As Wikipedia confirms, “Intermittent fasting (IF) is an umbrella term for various diets that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting.”
For the purposes of this article, just think of it like the strategic skipping of a meal. Not scheduled, just random.
Let’s say you get into one of those periods where you’re caught unprepared and can’t find any reasonable food options. What do you?
Most people take the approach of, “I have to eat something!” But that doesn’t have to be the case.
If you’re truly healthy, it should be possible to skip a meal without any physiological issues. During this “fasting” period, your body will access stored body fat to help you get to the next meal.
Instead of putting garbage in your body for convenience, you’re letting your body consume stored body fat for fuel. In other words, you’re turning a potential setback into a really productive thing.
If you can’t easily skip a meal without repercussions (blood sugar issues, headaches, low energy, etc.) that’s a sign that you have some work to do in terms of diet, metabolism, etc. You’ll want to look into doing a Total Body Reboot to get yourself into a position where your body is working like a well-oiled machine.
It’s tough being a busy mom, but you *can* still reach your body and life goals. Hopefully, you found these tips helpful. If you did, please share. And make sure you’re on our email list so you can get more helpful tips and advice like this going forward.
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s worked with thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and programs like Shut Down Your Sugar Cravings.