Kids to drop off, tasks to complete, jobs to hold down—sometimes motherhood can feel like an uncontrollable current sweeping us downstream. Without a plan of action, it is easy to end up feeling out of control—reacting to, rather than creating, our environment.
The first step to pulling ourselves out of the current is to make ourselves aware of the habitual patterns holding us back. Once we know where we go wrong, we can create mindful action plans to achieve the results we want.
I've compiled a list of the three biggest nutritional mistakes almost all busy moms make at some point during the first few years of raising their children. If some—or all—of these mistakes strike home, now is your chance to steer yourself back on course.
Mistake 1: Survival Eating
As busy moms, we can be reactive rather than proactive when it comes to nutrition—grabbing whatever food is available, regardless of whether it aligns with our long-term fitness goals. This "survival" eating pattern can quickly derail our fitness, piling on extra weight without us even realizing what is happening until it's too late.
To stop survival eating in its tracks, make sure you plan everything food-related in advance. Do one big weekly shopping trip and pick up everything you need so that you have no reason to grab unhealthy, on-the-go snacks on other days. Prepare easy-to-cook meals and snacks in advance.
The more you take control of and prepare your own meals, the easier it will be to fit them into your busy life. Habits form over months, not weeks—so stick with it. Learn to create a healthy nutritional environment in which you and your family can thrive.
Mistake 2: Negative Thinking
It is a widespread belief that healthy eating is a chore, and junk food is a guilty pleasure. We've associated "fun" and "simple" with fast foods and big desserts, overshadowing the "boring" and "difficult" nutritious foods that are actually good for us.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
It takes time, but with the proper mindset, you will learn to ignore preconceived notions of fun versus boring. In the process you will discover just how awesome healthy eating can be.
If you struggle to see the fun in eating healthy, find some quick and healthy recipes and involve the kids. Even the pickiest of eaters can become broccoli-munching health-food fans. Preparing healthy meals as a family inspires healthy habits your children can maintain as they grow into adulthood.
Mistake 3: Reliance on Processed Foods
Without question, moms are busy! There's a lot to juggle every day, and the siren call of convenient processed foods can steer even the most health-conscious moms off course. Easy to prepare and easy to eat, cookies, chocolates, sugary cereals, and snacks give us a quick hit of energy and help us deal with the situation at hand—at least temporarily.
The problem is these packaged, processed, modern-food marvels are chock-full of refined carbohydrates and sugars that only provide a short-term fix. Our energy crashes and, over time, the weight piles on as we consume more and more of these empty calories to deal with the shortfall. Many well-intentioned and productive people have fallen prey to the ease of processed foods. Thanks to their (often unconscious) habit of grabbing whatever food is convenient, they pack on a lot of fat and see their health suffer in other ways.
The solution? End your reliance on processed foods and to learn to enjoy healthier alternatives. This sounds harsh, but there are delicious, healthy recipes out there that are 100-percent good for you and provide you with energy to keep up with everything life throws at you. As your palate recovers from its processed-food obsession, you'll find yourself enjoying healthy foods as much as junk food.
Make healthy habits a part of your busy, hectic, wonderful life as a mom. Once you focus on the quality of nutrients you put into your body, your energy and mindset pick up instantly. This will improve your sense of wellbeing, the shape of your body, and the shape of your life!