7 Things I do to Stay in Shape

Mermaid Michaela Fitness No Ripples

I often get asked - How on Earth do you stay in shape while taking care of 3 little kids and running a business!?

Some people might think that I’ve been genetically gifted but that’s definitely not the case. I confess that I’m the type of person who actually craves vegetables and healthy food and looks forward to being active. Otherwise, I go nuts - just ask my husband. I never obsess about every calorie and I eat desserts without ever feeling guilty!

Now, at the ripe age of 36, after my body has gone through 2 pregnancies within 2 years (one of which was a twin pregnancy!) and 2 years of full-time breast feeding, I have realised, that I’m simply able to stay in shape because of a set of habits I’ve built up over the years. Now it feels that I can stay in shape without putting in a lot of effort. Here are 7 things I do to keep fit:

1. I never diet.

Have you ever known someone in really great shape who was constantly trying out every new fad diet? I didn’t think so.

Because for the most part, healthy eating is a part of my lifestyle. I basically listen to my body and eat whatever it asks for. I make lots of home cooked meals for my family, trying to show healthy eating habits to my kids.

So the questions that you should ask yourself are: What makes you feel good? What keeps you feeling full and energised throughout the day? What helps you kick ass during your exercises? What keeps you feeling and looking fit? If you learn to answer these questions for yourself, you’ll soon be on the road to embracing healthy eating as a lifestyle, not following every new diet that comes along.

2. I found a way to enjoy exercise.

If you’re one of those people who absolutely dreads every minute of your approaching treadmill workout, and hate it even more once you’re there, it’s time to find a different approach to exercise. Yes, it is possible, you can actually enjoy—and even look forward to—your exercise! It’d be too easy for me to say - I’m too tired, I don’t have the time, the space, the energy etc. etc. Instead, I kick myself in the butt and think - Are you going to feel better if you do something now, or are you going to just going to feel sorry for yourself and sit on the couch!?

Everyone enjoys different things—I used to hate running but I did it because it was the thing to do. Since I discovered mermaiding, I can’t wait to get in the water. Part of my mermaiding routine is a 20-minute warm up - a series of out of water exercises designed to give me a good stretch and to strengthen my core. So find something you like—whether it’s rock climbing, dancing, yoga, tennis, or something else entirely, like mermaiding :) —and start looking forward to your workouts, not dreading them.

3. My health and fitness are important

Yep, this means exercising during your holidays (I take my yoga mat with me everywhere), cycling into town (with one of my kids in the back seat for extra fun), doing yoga in my small office or going for a swim, even though it’s freezing outside. “People who are fit are the same as anyone else. The only difference is their level of commitment.” – Boxing champion Laila Ali

4. I don’t eat perfectly 100% of the time.

Sure, there’s that rare person with 5% body fat that refuses even a single bite of chocolate and seems to be ok with it. But most of us need a bit of enjoyment in our food life in order to keep our sanity. Personally, I have a super sweet tooth and I have to have sweets every single day. I often go for a dark chocolate, rather than milk. I never buy low-fat products because I think they don't taste good. Whatever I eat, I truly enjoy it. Everything in moderation.

So don’t feel guilty if you enjoy a cookie, some dark chocolate or your favourite treat — as long as you know that the energy you’ve burned is higher than what you just consumed.

5. I do a little bit every day.

With everything going on around me, I do a bit of exercise, whenever and wherever I can. Only 15-20 minutes here and there, but it all adds up! For example, when the kids are playing, I do some pushups or some stretching, until they start jumping all over me. Then I lay on my back and lift them up and down with my legs or just with my feet (still manageable at 2 years of age!). They have a laugh and I get to exercise - everyone's a winner!

6. I hang around other fit people.

You know that saying, “you are what you eat?” Well, you are who you eat with (and socialise with) as well. Most of my friends are into healthy cooking, so occasionally we invite each other for a healthy dinner made with local, fresh ingredients. We also try to motivate each other to get out with the kids, creating healthy habits for them, as well as for us.

7. I stay active whenever I can.

I actually don’t like going to the gym. So I do as much exercise as I can - around my house or in the outdoors. So how can you start incorporating this into your own life?

  • Walk wherever and whenever possible.
  • Pick active weekend activities like bike rides, hikes, or ocean swimming
  • Take the stairs. Always.
  • Choose active vacations. Mermaiding, rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, skiing, swimming, biking… there are so many possibilities!
  • Get up and move whenever you can. Move often. And most of all, believe in yourself and enjoy what you do! Life’s too short not to...