If you’re like most nannies, staying fit while spending your days caring for kids is a hard task. Your hours are long, and heading off to the gym is usually the last thing you want to do when you get home in the evening. Your eating habits probably don’t help either. Meals usually consist of whatever’s close at hand, which typically means prepackaged food that doesn’t fit into your ideal menu. The good news is you can make small lifestyle changes that can make a big difference. Here are some ideas to get you on the right track.
Make a real commitment to yourself. One of the biggest obstacles to staying fit is putting your need to lead a healthy life above the constant pull you feel from other people and their demands on your time and attention. If you let it happen, there will always be something that needs to get done before you work out or take time to prepare a healthy meal. Make a commitment to take care of yourself before you do anything else.
Work out in the morning before you start work. You already get up early just to get to work on time, so waking up even earlier to work out may seem like a stretch. But before you dismiss an early morning workout, do the math. If you leave early to hit a gym or pool close to your employer’s home, chances are you’ll miss the daily commuter traffic. That saved time can offset the time you invest in your workout. Even if you won’t save time by working out in the morning, there are plenty of other benefits to doing so, such as increased energy first thing in the morning and throughout the day. At the end of the day, you can barely make it to your couch. Before the day begins, you’re ready to tackle the gym, track or pool. Plus, exercising first thing in the morning boosts your mood and energy for the rest of the day.
Get your kids involved in the workout. If you care for older kids, think of ways to exercise during the day with them. They’re supposed to engage in at least one hour of physical activity each day, so you have a built-in reason to make exercise a priority. Go for a bike ride on the local trail. Head out for a hike at the community arboretum. Play a game of basketball in the backyard. There are lots of things that you and your charges can do that are fun and will help you get you in great shape.
Take advantage of breaks during the day. If your charge naps or goes to school during the day, take that time to fit in a workout. Work out with a DVD or hop on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes. You’ll still have plenty of time to get your other jobs, like laundry, straightening up and meal prep, done.
Find activities that you enjoy. Working out doesn’t mean you have to be tied to the gym. There are lots of fun things you can do in the evenings and on weekends that will burn calories and build strength and flexibility. If you don’t have a favorite sport, try out different things until you find one you really connect with. You might enjoy bike riding, hiking, kayaking, Zumba, tennis, swimming or a host of other sports. Don’t expect to be good at your new sport right at the beginning. It takes a while to become even somewhat skilled at something new. Just have fun and know your body is getting a workout at the same time.
Make healthy food choices. Often, your personal food choices include things you wouldn’t feed to your charges. Being a nanny means being busy all day, so you go for what’s quick and easy, even when those things work against your goal of staying fit. Instead, take the time to plan out your meals and include foods that are tasty and will fuel your body. By bringing a day’s worth of ready-to-eat healthy meals and snacks with you to work, you won’t be tempted to grab whatever’s close because you’re short on time or energy.
Sit down to eat. Meal time often means you’re juggling 10 different things all at once. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to slow down and take 15 or 20 minutes to sit down and eat lunch. This allows you to really be conscious of what and how much you’re eating. It also lets your body stay connected to your feelings of hunger and fullness.
Staying fit while working as a nanny is a tough task, but not one that’s impossible. With a real commitment and some smart planning, you can make it happen.
– Submitted by Sonny Giffin of NannyWebsites.com