Customized Health Plan
There is a loving and gentle way to take care of your body.
It is ok if you aren't eating "perfectly" now.
It is ok if you aren't exercising intensely now.
It is ok if you don't look like you used to look.
It is ok if you take a nap rather than workout.
It's amazing what can happen when we tune into our bodies. What are you craving? What sounds good? Something warm. Something cool? Something comforting? Something lean? A healing workout? A walk in nature? A dance party with your kids? An intense workout?
Your beautiful body birthed a child/children and carries you gracefully and beautifully through each day so let's show her respect by asking her what she needs. And by letting whatever she needs be okay.
Does your body need healing? If so, this season will look very different then when you are in optimal health. It isn't wise to ignore what your body needs and just push through. Instead, it is time to start listening, and know when you do this, you will be on the path to flourishing.
If the thought of taking a little space to allow for healing makes you nervous, take me for example. Physical fitness and nutrition have always been an integral part of my life because that is how I am wired. I have always loved reading about exercise and nutrition and have always been in pretty good shape as a result. But, after baby number 4, I pushed myself too hard with exercise and was trying to do too much too soon. I wasn't in tune with my body, I was impatient, and had the tendency to just plow through. I pushed myself during this time because I was "disciplined", but in hindsight, it would have been better if I had been committed to listening to my body and giving her the extra time she needed to heal. Life in that stage threw me many curve balls: a new city, starting to homeschool, a 2 year old boy :), and a husband that was travelling all-the-time for work! Discipline got completely replaced by exhaustion and I had to learn a whole new way of taking care of my health. At the time, it was emotionally and physically challenging. Now, I am so grateful that I had to learn a new kind of self-care. Six years later I am healthy and continue to grow stronger. My body has done an amazing job of healing itself and is on the path towards vitality. It just needed some time, space, and love.
What would it look like to take 5 seconds before you eat and ask yourself what you want, what does your body need? Do you want comfort food? Food that will give you energy? Something light? And then instead of eating at the counter, or in the car, make the space to sit, light a candle, give thanks, and savor. It is totally ok if it is on a paper plate or if it is takeout, but be present and really taste the food.
You can do the same thing with exercise. How are you feeling today? Did you sleep well? Do you have any aches and pains? Are you well rested and full of energy? It is totally ok and even beneficial to shift your exercise based on your body and the season. Some days it might be more healing to take a walk. Others a good workout with a DVD or online is what your body needs. Maybe some free weights one day. The key is to start listening and paying attention to the needs of your body.
It wasn't until I let go of the shoulds and guilt that I was able to do what was best for any given season. When my kids were little and my energy was low, I just didn't have it in me to cook + do dishes, and I now know that is totally ok. But I constantly compared myself to others, either in real life or in blogland, and more importantly the "ideal mom in my head" left no space for grace. My body, my abilities, my family, my health, and my needs are not the same as anyone else and I needed to learn to embrace this truth. When you are able to let go and set aside those ideals for a later season, because yes, that later season will come, you will gain the freedom to live your life and health will naturally follow.
The more I learn to listen to what my body needs, the more my life flourishes.
Whether with food or exercise try to make the experience lovely and meaningful. For exercise, listen to your favorite play list. If you love being outside, take 5-10minutes and get outside. I recently bought a disco light and we have a hula hoop party after the evening chores are done. Not only is this a great time to bond with my kids, its great exercise to boot, especially with a weighted hoop. Exercise should be a joy to add into your life, get curious about what that looks like for you.
With eating, I love to light candles and turn on instrumental music. Figure out what makes the experience beautiful to you, sippy cups on the floor and all!
Create a beautiful space for yourself and your sweet family.
Everyone has different energy levels, different life experiences, so I really just want to encourage you to pay attention to your life, your personality and what works for you! I highly value eating together as a family, so it doesn't matter as much if it is homecooked (although that is my ideal) or on paper plates, for me it is all about gathering together.
With exercise, some days it is more important for me to nap then exercise. I tend to want to push more in the Spring and Summer when I naturally have more energy, and so I am learning to follow this natural rhythm.
And now that I am out of that season - where we ate more takeout and used more paper plates than the ideal mom in my head- I can see that we still created so many beautiful memories and I wish I wouldn't have been so hard on myself. We instilled good table manners and set the stage for the bonding that can happen around family meals. And now we eat several homecooked meals around the tables and it is one my favorite times of the day.
I encourage you to set aside 10 minutes this week and ask yourself what you want from food/meals? What is the experience you long for? What habits do you want for your kiddos? What are you exercise/fitness goals? What season are you in now? Do you need to get your hormones looked at before you exercise hard? I will be posting soon about diastasis recti and prolapse, these physical injuries need to be addressed and healed before you push yourself. After you make this list take the rest of the time to see what is realistic for this season, keeping in mind the great importance of maintaining your health and then choose one thing to implement in this season.
As always, you are enough and can create a beautiful life unique to your family
Hey, I'm Julie. I love books, coffee shops, traveling, and exploring. Homeschooling Mama to 4, wife of 15 years. Enjoying the journey and learning to add a bit more of summer into my everyday life.