Monday, November 28, 2011

Q & A with Laurie Lethert Kocanda

Laurie's here today!


What is the biggest fitness mistake moms make?
There’s a big misconception out there that you need large chunks of time to make fitness worthwhile. With that attitude, it’s easy to see why so many moms give up on exercise. The biggest mistake moms make is adopting an all-or-nothing attitude about fitness. Motherhood is full of the unexpected, which oftentimes means things don’t go according to plan. When that happens we have to be content with Plan B, maybe develop a Plan C on the fly, if we’re going get and feel fit. Any exercise is worth when you consider both the mental and physical benefits. You are making small deposits that will eventually pay off. Guaranteed.
How can other members of the family support a mom’s fitness goals?
Having a good support network is essential if Mom’s fit lifestyle is going to take hold. Family members can help by providing encouragement and support—both in action and in word—whenever possible. Help keep Mom accountable by asking about her workouts; show her what a wonderful mentor she is by joining her whenever possible. In this way, she’ll be encouraged to continue on her path to fitness.
What about moms who are too busy for exercise?
Finding time to exercise is really about identifying and living by the priorities in our life. Moms often say they are too busy taking care of their families to fit in exercise, but we have to ask, “Aren’t you a member of the family, too?” In fact, aren’t you a pretty important part of the family equation? Most moms don’t let their kids skip a soccer practice or swim lesson, but don’t hold themselves equally accountable to their fitness endeavors. We have to be creative, but like everything in life that holds value, we will give time to the stuff that really matters.
In your book you talk about how there’s more than one way to exercise. Explain how this applies to new moms and what they can do.
Moms should take comfort knowing that the benefits of exercise are not lost in the absence of a good calorie-burning, cardio-pumping sweat. There are a number of other reasons to workout, beyond maintaining physical fitness and athletic training. So moms who find motherhood more exhausting or time-consuming than they anticipated can fall back on the other reasons to workout, the other types of fitness. For example, some semblance of sanity is the goal when we exercise for mental health. This form of fitness is less about what you’re doing and more about why your doing it. Protective exercise is the foundation on which everything else we do is based; it includes things like strength training, yoga, and Pilates. This flavor of fitness doesn’t require a gym membership or equipment, which is nice for a mom who is less likely to leave the house to workout. A simple routine of squats, pushups, pull-ups and plank are all you need. Truly, exercise doesn’t always have to get you hot and sweaty to be worth your time.
You mention mother guilt as a big barrier to fitness. What is it and how can I keep it in check?
Mother Guilt is that little voice that comes from within telling you it’s selfish to choose a workout over another more “important” mommy task. And while sometimes it is good to listen to your inner voice, too much banter from Mother Guilt is usually an indication that you’ve set unrealistic expectations of yourself and of motherhood in general. “Putting family first” does not mean ignoring your personal wellbeing. You are, after all, a pretty important part of the family, right?
Mother Guilt is prone to unexpected visits. If you want your fit life to take hold, you must first do a little mental training to prepare. Start by identifying your preconceptions of motherhood; perhaps what you thought were parenting no-nos might actually have a place in your life. Maybe 30 minutes of television isn’t so bad if it frees up some time for you to squeeze in a quick workout. Challenge what you’ve accepted as parenting truths and get realistic about what life is really like.
Next, take some time to write down what’s important to you, what values you want to impart on your children. Then work to make health and fitness a value you act on—a priority to which you allocate some time each day. If laundry gets more attention than you do, it’s time to do some more mental work. Saying “no” to something that isn’t a priority will feel good when you use the time freed to attend to something that is. Especially if it means saying goodbye to Mother Guilt.
That's Laurie on the right!

Was Laurie talking to you when she mentioned "Mother Guilt"?
Don't you wish hauling laundry counted as strength training?
(If it did, I would be ripped!)

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