"Confessions of" ...a Mother Runner

Heifers!  Over on "The Twitter" I  asked a few people what they'd like to read about here on the heifer blog.  My BFF Michael asked me to talk a little bit about how I balance running while having four children, a job, and a husband who travels. I can't lie - it's hard sometimes.  It gets old. I get tired, but it's all worth it.  My health is worth it. And so is yours!

Let me break it down for you!

Be a responsible heifer, RECYCLE!

Be a responsible heifer, RECYCLE!

When I was living my life as an Obese-American (is that a category these days? I'm not Mexican-American, I'm not African-American,  I'm not Venezuelan-American - but can I say I was an Obese-American?)...anyway, let's stop for a minute. Here's me, as a morbidly Obese-American, whose BMI was larger than our National Debt:

The "before" pics - these aren't at the height of my weight but they give you a good idea....

The "before" pics - these aren't at the height of my weight but they give you a good idea....

Anyway... picture life for me, above.  I was basically pregnant for 5 years in a row (I had four babies  in five years, and no I am not Catholic, Mormon, or an Orthodox Jew. Evidently the winters were just cold and boring in Cincinnati...)

I had no greater joy in life (this is sad) than polishing off an entire pint or three of my favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream after my beloved munchkins were in bed for the night.  I woke up LOOKING FORWARD to food.  Let that simmer for a second.  

Food was the VERY FIRST thing on my mind when I woke up. Not my kids, not my husband. I immediately got out of bed seeking the next batch of cookies  (don't judge) or any leftovers I might have not eaten the night before in my nightly fridge-raid.  That's sad. I was food-centric: focused only on food. If you would have told me that I needed to find TIME in the day to exercise, I'd have laughed at you,  I'd have told you that there's absolutely NO WAY a working mom with four babies could find EVEN A HALF HOUR in the day to exercise.  No way. Not gonna happen. Impossible!

I was lying. Not just to myself, but to anyone who might have suggested that to me, regardless of their good intentions. And there were many who suggested it. The list is long and distinguished (like my Top Gun reference here? Yes I know I'm quoting the movie - I'm married to an airline pilot, what'd ya expect?)....

People made comments to me all the time - from my well-intentioned husband, to my best friends who had only my health at heart.  But until someone is READY to change - those comments are just superfluous, painful arrows shot directly into our pie-lovin' hearts. 

One day I decided to make the change. It was THAT simple.  I made the switch from Obese-American to Taking-Back-Control-of-my-Life American (I'm pretty sure that's  an option when you register your kids for school, just under Caucasian. Can someone confirm that for me?)

And just like that - things changed. 

Here's the deal (said in my best Ross Perot impersonation).  You CAN find the time - you can find 30 minutes per day to devote to your own health and wellness.  

Let's take a minute to break down the alternatives:

Heart disease and stroke.
High blood pressure.
Some cancers.
Gallbladder disease and gallstones.
Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea
(when a person stops breathing for short episodes during sleep) and asthma.

Well, now.  Those risks seem pretty attractive, don't they, heifers? Do you want to be at any greater risk for ANY of these?  I don't.  And I knew I was heading down that path. So I made the change.  

Here's how THIS heifer finds the time. I challenge YOU to find the time, too.  We all have the same 24 hours in the day.  It's what you DO with them that speaks volumes on how you really feel about your health and well-being.  

I wake up at the butt-crack of dawn.  I'm talkin' - before the damn roosters.  

I'm never "ready" but I go anyway....and in the winter, I'm c-c-c-cold!

I'm never "ready" but I go anyway....and in the winter, I'm c-c-c-cold!

I wake up daily at or before 4am (yes, I know it's an ungodly hour, yes I know it's still dark out, even in the summer, yes, I know that's abnormal to NON-RUNNERS, and yes, I know it's crazy) I am either running or at the gym by 5am every single day, except Saturdays, because I do longer running or cycling on Saturdays, with friends, so I sleep later.  

Some people will argue that they "just can't" exercise that early in the morning.  I get that. Some people aren't morning people (for instance, my husband - he's a night owl)  So instead of getting up before the farm animals - how about getting in your exercise AFTER work?  For me - it's because I have four (4) kids.  I am the one who drives them to school in the morning.  I have to be mom-taxi by 6:15am every day of the week.  Believe me, I understand that you're reading this thinking, "but I can't! I just don't have ANY extra time!"

Allow me to counter that and say, "But you can and you do!" You can do calf raises while cooking dinner. You can grab a 2L bottle of seltzer water (because let's face it  - nobody's supposed to be drinking Diet Coke  - whatevs.  I like it!) I digress. Grab that bottle and do some tricep extensions while you're waiting on the pasta to boil. Or head over to the wall and do some wall sits.  Better yet, what about a planking challenge? 

If I DON'T get it done in the morning, before dawn, it won't happen. Between robotics, chess club, debate, band, girl scouts, boy scouts, debate club, running club, and crazy-mom club.... we are just over-committed after school. See? So I get it done before the day starts, because it's the only time I can find. I love the philosophy, as it relates to our health, do #whatyoucanwhenyoucan.

If your children are younger - grab a few exercise videos, stick them in their exersaucer (are those still a thing?) and let them hang around and watch you do a video.  We have several videos here in heifer-land, all that can be done from your own home.  They're HERE.  See? No excuses. If your kids are slightly older, you can have them do their homework while you take a few jogs around the block before dinnertime.

You can plank comfortably from within the confines of your 4 walls.  Print this one out and have a competition with your spouse or your kids:

Come on, plank like you mean it!

Come on, plank like you mean it!

You can find so many different 30-day challenges that can be done in even 10 minutes.  That's just 10 minutes, heifers.  Come on, who's going to tell me they don't have just TEN minutes? You can find the time. The only question you have to ask yourself is - "how bad do I want it?"

Here's a squat challenge for you, just so you can't say your internet broke and you couldn't find one: 

Squats give you that great booty!!!

Squats give you that great booty!!!

On days I can't make it to the gym, I WILL find a way to get in some extra steps, whether it's walking around my kids' school before dismissal, or taking the dogs for a walk. Maybe you can go to the park and play ball with your kids - two birds with one stone - quality family fun AND exercise.  There are ways of making it happen - you just have to get a little creative sometimes and stop the excuses. 

Regarding dinnertime and saving precious minutes each day - you can also consider some freezer cooking. Prepare healthy, homemade meals ahead of time, and freeze them so that you aren't stuck playing "master chef" every single night, scrambling to figure out how to make a good dinner out of 2 bananas, some rice, and a pot of boiled chicken.  A little forward thinking and planning can really help you out on most school/work nights. 

Your body follows where your mind leads it.  Think about that. If you DECIDE that your health and fitness is a priority, you WILL find a way to make it happen.  Whether it's at the ass-crack of o'dark thirty, or after work while your kids are doing homework, or on a weekend morning before everyone wakes up - there is ALWAYS a way to fit a 10 minute pick-me-up into your daily routine. And I bet once you find a 10 minute window, you'll realize quickly the benefits of feeling better. You may increase that to 30 minutes, and maybe even an hour. An added 30 minutes of cardio each day can do WONDERS for not only your physical health, but your mental clarity, too!

Really, when it all boils down --- it's about choices and what's most important to you. Things that are important to you find a way of getting done.  You can find the time to get healthy, even if it's just 10 minutes a day to start - or you can continue making excuses as to why you CAN'T.  Either way - the choice is yours.... 

Feel free to leave a comment below about how YOU fit your health into your daily routine. I'd love to hear from y'all! Or join me over on Twitter and let's get the discussion going there, too!  Good health is ALWAYS relevant!


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