I was 17 years old in this picture.
If you are in high school these are my Top Ten Tips on how YOU can become a fit mother one day. These are tried-and-true things I did when I was a teenager. It prepared my body for motherhood and it will prepare yours also.
- I didn’t buy school lunch.
Bring your own bag. Most of the foods in my cafeteria were pizza, fries, deli sandwiches, fried chicken sandwiches and baked pretzels with cheese. Instead of purchasing $5 worth of food daily, I saved my money and brought my lunch each day. I didn’t use a brown paper bag; I invested in a green lunch bag with a strap. I made a dry turkey sandwich with saltine crackers and fruits/carrots for lunch. Usually I consumed the sandwich and crackers during lunch and a piece of apple or orange during a break time after lunch. I always packed a morning breakfast on the outside pocket of my lunch bag, which usually consisted of a bagel with fat free cream cheese.
- I drank MOSTLY water.
Hydrate yourself. I didn’t drink soda, juice or milk. I toted a water bottle everywhere I went and often filled it at water fountains. Since my mother was diabetic, I knew most drinks had too much sugar. While I could drink diet sodas, I didn’t like how it made me bloated throughout the day so I stuck to water. Water hydrated my skin and detoxified my body. Best of all, it was free!
- I ate fruits and vegetables daily.
Consume real foods. Around 2pm, I would take my leftover lunch out, which usually consisted of some sort of fruit or vegetable and consume it during breaks between classes. This habit set me up for eating small meals throughout the day. My blood sugar was stable throughout the entire day and my metabolism continued to churn without heavy eating periods.
- I ate unhealthy foods with caution.
Share your calories. When I did purchase a school lunch, I often ‘blotted’ the oil off my fries or pizza. I also ensured I shared my food with friends to divide the calories consumed. If I dipped my pretzel in cheese, I only brushed enough to give the bread taste. When I bought candy, I split the bag with other people. I made sure my foods weren’t oily and I ensured my portion size was smaller by sharing with others.
- I took P.E. seriously.
Utilize the professionals around you. I looked forward to running around the track. I sometimes led stretching and was eager to teach step aerobics classes. I often asked the P.E. teacher questions about nutrition and exercise and I incorporated their advice in my home routine by running a few additional miles per week.
- I joined an extracurricular activity.
Find an activity that encourages your strengths. I was never an athlete, but I always enjoyed performing and dancing. My talents naturally fit with the cheerleading squad. So, despite my shyness, I joined and participated in this sport during high school. It required me to attend practice several times a week and challenge my flexibility, stamina and strength.
- I invested in my health.
Put your money where true value lies. When I was old enough, probably around 19, I was cajoled to purchase 3 training session for $99 at my gym. I was eager to learn and lacked the knowledge to strength train. While other friends spent money on clothes and dining out, I saved my money and invested in my fitness.
- I didn’t ‘party’ until my late college years.
Forfeit the beer gut. If you start drinking too early it’s not a matter of if, but when you will get it. I wasn’t aware that partying took place in my high school because I was often focused with school work and home activities. I didn’t drink alcohol until I was 21 years old. Waiting to ‘party’ and ‘drink’ until I was legally allowed to helped my studies and my waist line! I didn’t drink my calories and mindlessly eat because of an elevated mental state.
- I enjoyed being fashionable.
Make looking good a priority. Some people will say looks don’t matter. But, as an adult, I will tell you right now that it certainly does. We live in a physical world and it’s important that you present yourself with pride and confidence. If you wear nice clothes, if you take the time to brush your hair and keep good hygiene, then you will naturally take care of what you put into your system also. While I was always frugal, I knew I could make a 10 dollar outfit look like a million bucks if I had a strong physique and a confident energy.
- I had fitness role models.
Find people that inspire you. Most of my friends were not ‘fitness’ people. My family didn’t exercise with me. Most of my fitness role models were my P.E. teachers, aerobics instructors or people found in magazines. I can still remember my P.E. teacher running miles with her pregnant belly. I remember the pretty trainer at the gym with her fit husband. I remember the fitness tips I would read in teenage magazines. All these people and things positively influenced me to be like them as I grew up.
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