My name is Alex, and I’m a 28-year-old marketing professional, wife and mother. My husband is a police officer who works the night shift, so I often feel like a single parent to our two-year-old. In the past, my eating habits were all about convenience. I live in Newcastle, Oklahoma, a small town that only has one grocery store, so I didn’t feel like I had a lot of options. I just needed to get something on our plates quickly so we could get where we needed to go next. I was exhausted.
One day, I had light bulb moment. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without feeling breathless. I hadn’t gone to the gym in two years. I was in the obese BMI category. I knew I had to make some changes. I had never really tried to lose weight before. I never had to. When I was a kid, I was athletic and didn’t have to watch what I ate. As I got older, I became less active but didn’t change my eating habits. It eventually caught up with me.
Once I resolved to change, I knew I needed to find my motivator. I’m a very competitive person, so I knew if I made a commitment and told my friends, family and coworkers about it, it would keep me accountable. Then, I had to determine my method. I made a plan that was realistic for my busy schedule. I didn’t want to go on a crash diet or obsess over my weight, even though I ended up losing sixty pounds. I wanted to focus on improving my health.
I tackled my eating habits first. I tried to make it as convenient as possible so I wouldn’t give up. When I went grocery shopping, I began choosing whole, healthy foods over processed foods. I only ate food that I cooked. I started meal prepping a week’s worth of lunches and dinners every Sunday to save time and money. Measuring out my meals and snacks helped me with portion control. Changing my diet naturally gave me the energy I needed to get moving again. I started running and began going to the gym two to three times a week. I played with my daughter more and took her on daily walks.
When I made time for my health, every aspect of my life improved. Life as a working mom can still be overwhelming, but it feels a lot more manageable now. I’m a better wife, mom and employee. I recently got promoted at work because my concentration had improved so much. I used to believe that my eating habits were the way I coped with the stress in my life, but now I know it was the other way around. My old lifestyle was fueling all that stress, and my new one helps me manage it.