The impact of this past year has been different for everyone. But there are common threads among many of us: we felt more stressed, more anxious and we became more sedentary. A study released in April 2021, found that Canadian adults who were struggling with stress and anxiety related to the pandemic were less likely to engage in physical activity
Getting ourselves back on track with healthier routines and choices is on the minds of many. It’s up to each one of us individually to decide when we are ready and able to take the steps to incorporate healthier habits back into our lives. When that time comes, I’m here to tell you that your path to living healthier shouldn’t be drastic, restrictive or black and white! You are most likely to succeed in the long-run if your goals are realistic and sustainable. Sharing a bit about my story will help demonstrate how I know this advice to be true.
Before becoming a mom of four (all under the age of five!), I always considered myself a very active person. Amidst the chaos of motherhood, I found myself not being as active and I quickly started to feel the effects. Keeping up with my kids started to become more difficult and I realized that I needed to make some serious lifestyle changes. As someone who turned to fad diets and workouts for quick fixes my whole life, I knew that my usual “all or nothing” approach wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted real change and I knew that finding balance was the only way I was going to create sustainable changes.
I joined WW – formally known as Weight Watchers – and I created healthier habits without sacrificing the foods and activities that I love. My success is due in large part to the coaches and community that inspired me, and kept me inspired, engaged and accountable. Since being on the program, I’ve lost over 50lbs. And the biggest change is in how I feel.
I never could have predicted at the beginning of my wellness journey that I would eventually evolve into a mentor for others. Today, I am a Coach for WW Digital 360. It’s so rewarding to share my story, and see myself reflected in others who are just starting their wellness journey. Here I’ve compiled some realistic and effective tips to help you get active, stay motivated and achieve your wellness goals so you can be the healthiest, and best version of yourself.
Avoid Feeling Defeated by Setting Realistic Goals
As parents, it can feel next to impossible to find the time and energy to squeeze in a workout. As a mom of four, I’ve learned that the best way to stay on track with my fitness routine is to set goals that are realistic and achievable. Some days this means taking a scheduled workout class, and other days, simply getting active and moving, when and where I can fit it in. For example, getting my steps in while my kids are playing at the playground instead of sitting on the bench scrolling my phone. Win-win! They enjoy time at the park, and I’m able to get my activity in for the day.
Make Healthier Sustainable Lifestyle Changes to Keep You on Track
Extreme quick fixes are just that: short-lived. Like so many of us, I have fallen victim to all-or-nothing tactics in the past. But now, I have shifted my mindset and found that balance is the goal. You don’t have to be perfect to celebrate the new habits you’ve made on your fitness journey. Despite the setbacks I have faced, I’m proud of my progress and I see the results in real ways like walking up hills, going down slides at the park and having no fear in putting on my bathing suit.
Taking Time for Yourself Is Never Time Wasted
As a parent, we are always showing up for our families, but we often forget to show up for ourselves. Taking time for yourself improves your wellbeing and helps you grow – which is a win for everyone else around you too. Recently, WW conducted a Global Consumer Sentiment survey in partnership with EMI Research which found that 42% of Canadians have made exercising a top priority for the second half of the year.
I feel like a better mom and partner when I take time to move my body. Even if it’s only 15 minutes out of your day, investing in yourself and what you love improves your overall health and wellbeing. For me, playing field hockey, going for a walk and listening to a podcast or going to bed early are ways that I invest in myself and help me be the best version of myself for my family.
Find a Community That Supports You and Your Goals
Reaching your goals is always easier and more fun when you have a community of people behind you to uplift and encourage you along the way. The buddy system is a great way to stay accountable, and you can get your family involved with bike rides or trips to a local nature walk. You’re not alone on this journey. We get you, I am you!
Emily Bjerkness is a mom of four and a WW Digital 360 Coach. The Digital 360 platform gives you access to on-demand coaching, live workout sessions and support from like-minded individuals across the country