By Tanya Rosen
With Mother’s Day recently passing, I started thinking about how mothers have all these amazing skills that they can also apply to dieting and eating healthy. I thought of a few and then asked my clients and staff to list some more. Here are some of my favorites:
Had a bad stressful morning with the kids?
By the time they’re home from school all is back to normal. Moms know how to minimize damage and simply reset.
Had a bad diet hour or meal or even day? It’s ok, do as you would with your kids and just… reset! You already know how to.
TEACH BY EXAMPLE:
Just like the head of a wig company always has her wig looking great in public and the president is always in a suit, we moms need to put ourselves together and role model self-care, healthy habits, and discipline, at least for the sake of the kids.
Kids pick up on what is authentic and what isn’t. We want to role model and because we do it long enough to formulate good habits, we will ACTUALLY practice what we preach.
HOLD OFF PLEASURE:
One thing you learn real quick as a mom is that your life as you knew it will never be the same. No longer can you run out at any time and do whatever you want. You now have someone whom you are responsible for. So you want to go out with friends? Not until the babysitter arrives. You want a new pair of designer shoes but your kids grew out of theirs and MUST get some? Of course, you spend on them first as it is no longer the single days where your entire paycheck went all to you.
Dieting successfully at times requires holding off pleasure. Simply put: You can’t have whatever you want whenever you want. You know how to hold off pleasure, utilize it here as well.
TOLERATE DISCOMFORT :
Is it comfortable to wake up in the middle of the night to a crying baby?
Is it comfortable to leave work (again) because your child isn’t feeling well?
Is it comfortable to bake 26 themed cupcakes at midnight for a siddur play you weren’t told about until an hour ago?
When we diet, there are SOME uncomfortable moments. If you’re on a normal, healthy plan, it should not happen often at all but yes, some hunger may happen. Is it comfortable? No. Is it for a greater cause or important to you? Yes. You know how to tolerate some discomfort, so use that skill.
Women are superheroes when it comes to multitasking. Moms even more so. A typical meme or cartoon of a mom shows her holding a baby in one hand, typing for work with the other, all while the laundry and dinner are in progress in the background.
When we diet, we often need to multitask for 2 different dinners (one for the kids, one for us). We also need to prepare for ourselves despite our busy schedules. That might mean multitasking spouse dates and shopping or preparing for yourself separately while preparing for others. Use the multi-tasking skills you already have to multitask what you need to do to make your diet happen.
TUNE OUT THE NOISE:
By noise I mean two things: literal noise and noise from well-meaning (or not) family members, friends, and neighbors. Literal noise means we can focus even while there is crying, fighting, water running, school buses honking, and the ice cream truck enticing everyone. The other “noise” comes from all those people who tell us how to raise our kids, what they do better than us, what we must try, and what we’re doing wrong. Perhaps as a new mom, you “heard” them but as you became more mature and experienced, you learned to tune out the “noise”,
When we diet, everyone always has an opinion or comment or unsolicited advice. They may tell you you’re not losing enough or fast enough or that you should be doing a different diet plan altogether. You may even have an inner voice (Yetzer Hora?) trying to sabotage you. You know how to tune this out so use that skill!
LIFE JACKET/SELF CARE
It takes some time but moms learn (and are reminded) that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. On an airplane when they demonstrate the oxygen masks, they always remind you to put yours on first. The people relying on you can not “drink from an empty cup”. You start to realize that the better you take care of yourself, the better of a mom you’ll be.
Use this skill as a reminder that everyone benefits when you take care of yourself.
AND… THE REALIZATION THAT NO ONE ELSE WILL DO IT FOR YOU
“I need a wife” is the most common phrase I hear from women who wish someone did all the work for them, food prep wise, the way they do for their husbands and kids.
Even Oprah, the richest woman in the world who has a staff cooking and shopping and working out with her was only able to lose the weight when she put herself fully into it.
HOW TO PREVENT VERSUS UNDO
Us moms are really good at preventing issues before they even arise so that we have fewer issues to fix or undo. We know mornings are crazy and rushed so we line up the shoes by the door and lay out all the outfits in advance to avoid a potentially crazy morning. We know the kids get home starving and cranky so we have food available for them right away to avoid a hunger-caused meltdown. We know they’ll want every toy in Amazing Savings when we take them to buy some dishes so we try to avoid that aisle altogether.
When dieting, it helps to prepare and therefore prevent, versus undo when it’s done. A certain cake always makes you go off track? Buy a different one. Fridays you’re always picking on things on the counter because you’re home all day? Schedule an outing so that you’re not in the kitchen all day. You’re already a master at preventing things that could be prevented, utilize it for your staying on track as well!
IF IT ISN’T WORKING, FIX IT
As much as we’re good at creating systems and routines and plans, we’re also good at knowing when something just isn’t working. As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” But what if it IS broken?
Let’s say the aforementioned prep for school routine isn’t enough and they still miss the bus? Or let’s say they get too old to be tricked into avoiding the toy aisle? Well, in that case, you as the supermom that you are, acknowledge that and come up with a plan B (and sometimes even C or D…)
If your diet is no longer working for you, or the skills you relied on are no longer effective, come up with a change of game plan. You don’t have to stick to what you’ve been doing. There’s always a plan B or C or even Z!
CHORES OR “WE GOTTA DO WHAT WE GOTTA DO”
We know how to make chores a part of our routine. For example, doing laundry is an annoying chore but we learn to make it part of our life (because we have no choice!)
We can learn to do the same with food-related chores like peeling and chopping veggies for example.
When a toddler wants something that isn’t good for him, you say no. When your teenage daughter wants clothing that isn’t appropriate for her, you say no.
You do this out of love and a desire for them to be safe and healthy.
Sometimes we need to parent ourselves. When something isn’t good for us, we need to tell ourselves a loving yet strong no. Why? Because when you love someone (or yourself) you want what’s best for them (or for you).
BEING IN TUNE WITH OURSELVES
When everything (and everyone) is crazy, you probably often take a deep breath in and pull yourself together so that you do not react emotionally. You may even use the skill of talking to yourself or deep breathing.
Dieting gets tough. Instead of throwing in the towel, we can check-in, breathe, and put ourselves back together again.
SCHEDULE AND STRUCTURE
Even the most spontaneous or disorganized person learns to create schedules and routines to have a functional household.
Dieting successfully requires some sort of structure. A normal doable plan will have flexibility but some structure is required for it to work. Use your skills in creating structures to create one around your food plan.
BELIEVING IN OUR KIDS
I don’t think there’s a mom out there that doesn’t believe in her kids. No matter how many times they do something wrong or fail, we still believe in them.
As I wrote above, we need to be our own moms sometimes. Just like you wouldn’t tell your kids to give up, you don’t give up either. Fell down? Get up and start again, even if it’s over and over.
Moms don’t hold grudges. Moms love their kids and forgive them no matter what.
Forgive yourself when going off track. Forgive yourself whatever slip-ups you had and love yourself enough to move on and restart!
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