I've always been a relatively thin person, dropping the baby weight after each of my four kids pretty quickly, but turning 38 hit me hard right in my midsection. And the back of my arms.
And oh, hey there thighs!
I've always been pretty active, maintaining a very healthy (and low-carb) diet, working out always daily, and generally remembering to stretch after I'm done. And if I fall off the wagon, I'm usually back into my pants with a little extra exercise and calorie watching.
But just lately, I've noticed a distinct change in my body, mostly that my pants are tight in weird places. Turns out, I've been making these five exercise and diet mistakes that are probably not helping my cause. Are you doing them too?
1. Same workout routine
If you have been doing the same walking or running routine, your body might be stuck in a rut. It's easy to plateau and not even know it because you think to yourself, Well, I'm running three miles every day.
Get off the treadmill and try an elliptical or a stairstepper. Take a dance or exercise class. It will force your body to use different muscles, which might just be what you need.
2. Eating too little, too late
Everyone tells you to eat more often when you're trying to lose weight, and I totally agree. My issue is that like many people, I don't eat breakfast, which makes me hungrier later on after the kids are in bed, probably the worst time of the day to eat.
So yes, you need to eat more frequently and earlier, but I've noticed I really need to eat more carefully. In my case, it's sugar that's my nemesis (and carbs, but honestly, not as bad). Even if you think it's healthy sugar (like fruit), it can hit you right in the gut.
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3. Working out too long, too slowly
This is a big mistake so many moms make when they are working out. For some reason, they think that the longer they spend working out, the more calories they'll burn. Actually, time doesn't necessarily matter. It's intensity and how many muscles you're using that matter more.
Instead of spending an hour working out, cut your time in half (or even just 20 minutes if that's all you can spare), but work your butt off (literally) the entire time. You'll burn close to the same amount of calories, maybe more, and you'll have time left in your day to do other things. In my case: shower.
4. Not being prepared
My biggest mistake when it comes to food is shopping for my family and not necessarily for my own food needs (which are a bit different). When I've got the healthy foods (and water, lots of water) available to me, I make much better choices.
That also means that I pack snack bars, nuts, and veggies in my bag so I've always got something when I'm out and about. I can't tell you how much making sure I've got good food at my fingertips helps.
5. Skipping weight training
I used to be able to get away with just doing cardio and some sit-ups, but I'll tell you that the older I've gotten, the more I need to tone things up (hello back of arms flapping in the breeze).
I often head over to YouTube to check out simple weight training videos, or I do my go-to full body workout -- The One-Day Shred From Jillian Michaels -- which incorporates weights, cardio, and abs all in one workout.
Do you have any simple fitness and diet tips that have worked for you?
Image via Familymwr/Flickr