“I am a working Mum!”
In all the time I have been working for Tesco Diets, the most prevalent issue I hear from members is “I haven’t got time to diet!” This is usually followed by “I have a busy working day.” And/or “I have a family.” I’m going to be blunt and say that this, in most cases, is an excuse. You may think it’s easy for me to say this from my lofty perch as a Tesco Diets mentor but guess what? I am a working Mum too.
That’s right. I face the same time constraints and challenges as any other Mum. I have a school-going child, a shift-working son, a husband who works alternate days and nights each month, a school run and a job to juggle. I am also pursuing a diet and exercise plan and trying to lose weight. Sound familiar? Yes, I thought as much.
So how do I manage all this without letting my day descend into chaos? I plan ahead. Yes, it’s that simple. I can’t stress how important forward-planning can be. You know when you are trying to get everyone out to school and work in the morning that it’s like trying to mobilise an army. Think of it that way. An army doesn’t tear off to war on the spur of the moment, does it? No. Plans are made, provisions are gathered, tactics are considered well in advance. This is exactly how you need to approach your diet. You are fighting a war against weight gain and planning ahead will guarantee victory. Every minute counts on a school morning so I do as much as possible the night before to make the coming day easier to tackle. Uniforms and work clothes are left out. Lunches are made and put in the fridge overnight so that when I get up in the morning I can take the time to cook a good breakfast and leave the house on schedule. I currently follow the Low-carb plan which is recipe-based and one of the more time-consuming plans but I still make sure I’m up in time to cook my bacon and eggs or whatever I am having. If you are a cereal or toast person it will take you even less time so there really is no excuse for not eating a good breakfast in the morning. I make my lunch the evening before, pack it in a Tupperware container and take it to work. Sometimes it’s a cold meat or cheese salad, other times it’s something I have cooked the day before and just have to heat up. What I often do is cook a larger amount of food and keep the leftovers for my lunch the following day. It’s a real time-saver and always seems to taste nicer after a night in the fridge. If I do decide to eat out at lunchtime, I make sure I am well aware of the options open to me so I can make suitable choices. Knowledge is power so use it well.
Taking the time to plan your meals in advance is also a great time-saver. Yes, I have heard “I haven’t time to plan my meals” too. But think of all the time you are saving later in the week by doing this. One evening spent planning and editing your meal plan and shopping list will mean you know what you are having each day for the coming week and if you shop in advance you will have everything you need for the week ahead. This means you won’t be dashing into the shops at the last minute which is a real money saver too. How many of us go into a supermarket for just one or two things and leave with a basketful of stuff we didn’t really need at all? That’s right, planning saves money as well as time.
Prioritising your weight loss regime is very important. A lot of us Mums tend to put the needs of our family above our own and most of the time that’s admirable but remember, we all need some ‘me time’ too. If losing weight is as important to you as it is to me then you will place it near the top of your ‘to-do’ list and will make sure it gets the time it deserves. When it comes to exercise, I don’t have time to spend hours in a gym or go to Zumba classes several nights a week. I prefer to spend my spare time with my family so the couple of mornings I am off and the kids are in school, I swim at the local pool. The rest of the week I exercise at home. One of the best things I have found about this is that I can involve my daughter and she loves the time we spend together in the evening ‘working out’. Doing this means my daughter has taken on the role of being my personal motivator and when I’m tempted to just crash on the sofa after a busy day, she gently encourages me to get up and do some exercise. I won’t say no as I feel I would be letting her down and her constant support ensures that I will eventually reach my goal. Involving family members in your weight loss journey is a great way to gather support and motivation and is one of the best things for keeping you going. It also means you can combine ‘family time’ with your fitness routine.
In a nutshell, you will get out of the diet what you put into it so making time to plan your meals, shop in advance and prepare ahead of time will ensure your success. Enlist the help of your family and friends. They will be happy to support you and step in if you need a little time to plan, shop or exercise. You don’t have to take this journey alone and having support all the way will help you to succeed. So, no matter what your role in life is or how hectic your day can be, if you prioritize, plan ahead and ask for support, you will be able to make your diet and fitness routine a daily part of your life.