Stop with the guilt trip! By Jillian McMullen

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Stop with the guilt trip!

I get it, you’re busy. I’m busy. We are all busy. So when I tell you it’s time to start planning for exercise at least three, preferably five times a week for thirty minutes to an hour, you’re probably already cringing. And make time to plan out your family’s weekly meals, make that grocery list, meal prep if necessary, and schedule in a weekly grocery trip because well, those carrot sticks aren’t putting themselves in your refrigerator.

If you’re like me, this all sounds fine except for a few things- homework, laundry, vacuuming, quality time with the hubs, taking the kids to after-school activities, and oh ya – your day job. So what gives if you were to ACTUALLY find the time to exercise MOST days for an hour? I get overwhelmed just typing it out. It’s not that I dislike taking a nice walk around the neighborhood, alone. Quietly listening to a podcast or an audiobook. That sounds quite amazing over folding laundry or mulling over common core math actually. But oh the guilt. I know you know this type of guilt. The “I’m gonna have to shorten the quality time with hubby tonight in order to do this walk” or “hubby’s gonna get stuck cooking dinner if I want to actually get to bed before midnight” kinda guilt.

It’s what keeps you from doing it. You feel too bad getting help from your partner or taking time away from your family to do something healthy that’s just for you. But here’s here’s the truth- in her book,”For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldham, she interviewed 400 ordinary men (translate: men just like your husband) to find out their thoughts on various topics, including this one. Guess what? 97% of them said they would be willing to help make sacrifices so that their wife/girlfriend could get in shape! In fact, two-thirds said they would “do whatever it takes” and gladly, whether financially or picking up additional responsibilities on their part to support it while the others were willing to at least contribute reasonably. Only 3% weren’t willing to help out at all. I’m willing to bet if you are taking the ten minutes or so to read this, your partner isn’t in that 3%.

Now I know what you’re tempted to think: “yeah Jillian, of course, he’s willing to pay for that gym membership or give me time to plan the meals. He wants me to look like I did when I was 24 years old on our wedding day.” No, that’s not it actually. Their answers were clear -the effort was the important thing to them, not the results. Ladies, they want you around for the long haul, they want you healthy and they want you to feel better about yourself! Most men appreciate that you’re maturing along with them. They’re not looking for perfection.

So now that I’ve hopefully lessened some of the guilt factors, here are some practical ideas for you:

  1. Set an “appointment” for yourself each and every week to make a grocery list and plan out your meals. You will be surprised how much time this actually saves later in the week when you already know what’s for dinner, what nights are going to be leftover nights, and what nights will probably be take-out (plan for that, too.)
  2. If possible, grocery shop on a weekday when it’s less busy – this will cut your time in the store down a lot. Better yet, order online and do curbside pick-up. Many of the major retail stores offer it now!
  3. If you are more likely to stick to a fitness regimen by going to classes, join a gym, purchase some yoga classes, or find some aerobic classes with set times/days. Not only will be like a set appointment on your calendar but when you get to know the instructor and other participants, it becomes great accountability. (Remember 97% of men are willing to at least support within reason, financially, to improve your health.)
  4. Purchase a pedometer or armband device, such as a Fitbit, to track your daily steps overall. This will help you sneak in “accidental exercise” throughout your day. You’d be surprised how fast parking in the back of the lot, taking the stairs, and skipping the drive-throughs adds up. My favorite pedometer is $25 on Amazon. Even the most frugal of husbands should be okay with that for the sake of your health.
  5. Purchase a small set of hand weights and keep by the couch so you can lift while you watch television. Bonus: if you typically watch with your family, you aren’t sacrificing time with them!
  6. Dust off that treadmill or elliptical that’s been acting as a hanger for your laundry and position it in front of the television.
  7. Go for walks outside with your spouse. Turn it into a time you can spend together. It’s good for both of you – the kids too!
  8. If necessary, get yourself some new exercise clothes. This can seriously make the difference between getting started and feeling like a sack of potatoes.
  9. Incorporate your family into the meal planning process. They will appreciate being part of it and remember, your husband/boyfriend is likely willing to make some changes to his own diet in order to support you.
  10. Choose one thing you can commit to starting today and “test” out this theory. Change can be hard, especially when you are the giver of the family. But as the old cliche goes, if the plane goes down and you don’t put on your oxygen mask first, nobody survives.

Lastly, remember that most of the guilt we feel comes from the stories we’ve made up in our own heads. Those that really love us aren’t as negatively affected as we think. You may be reading this thinking “you don’t know my husband, he would never agree to this.” Maybe I don’t, but maybe, just maybe, you don’t know the whole truth either?

P.S. If you’re looking for online support with like-minded women striving to live a healthier lifestyle, you may be interested in joining my free support group here.

 

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Email: contact@jillianmcmullen.com

Jillian McMullen, RDN, CSOWM, LDN

#FBS Member

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