We had the pleasure of interviewing Best Life founder and creator Bob Greene. For more than half of his nearly 30-year career, Bob has worked closely with Oprah Winfrey and is perhaps best known as her personal fitness guru. As a best selling author, exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer specializing in fitness, metabolism and weight loss, Bob has plenty of expertise to share and we are thrilled that he shared these five tips with us.
1. What are your top three tips to get motivated when you are an exhausted mother chasing kids around all day?
• Shift your thinking. If you say something is exhausting, it will be. Accept that parenthood is busy, and that while it’s challenging, it’s also very rewarding.
• Stop making excuses. A lack of time is probably the biggest obstacle for busy parents, but fortunately, it’s one that you can overcome with creative thinking and planning. What I always tell parents: Instead of thinking you have to set aside a block of time for a formal workout (which can be intimidating when you have children), incorporate activity right into your day. If you have a young child, take a jogging stroller and go for a brisk walk or jog with him or her. If you have a school-aged child who plays soccer or other sport, don’t just sit there while he or she practices or plays, walk or jog around the field.
• Get an early start. People who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with it than those who exercise later on. That’s because there’s less of a chance that life (a sick child, traffic, etc.) will interfere with your workout. Try getting up and exercising before the kids wake up, or if that’s not an option, consider enlisting the help of a family member or babysitter who can watch your kid(s) while you exercise.
2. How can you incorporate exercise into your daily routine of carpooling, kids, food prep, etc.?
A few more ideas (in addition to what I mentioned above): Lose the car and walk-to school, to the market, to the library, and so on.
You’ve probably heard these tips, but parking in the farthest spot in the parking lot and walking to the store or taking the steps instead of the elevator are easy and effective ways to increase your activity throughout the day.
You can invest in a pedometer to count your steps-this is another easy way to rack up activity and challenge yourself to improve on it day after day.
Grab a cart in the grocery store (it provides resistance, especially as it starts to fill up) and try to push it quickly through the store. I pride myself in getting in and out of the store in 20 minutes, even though I raise a few eyebrows jogging around with a cart.
3. Best tips for quick healthy meals/snacks?
• Trail mix. Combine nuts and dried fruit in a small sandwich bag. I’d skip the chocolate chips or other sweets-it’s best to reserve this type of food for a treat.
• Plain low-fat yogurt with honey and chopped fresh fruit
• Part-skim mozzarella cheese stick and whole-grain crackers
• Cherry tomatoes and baby carrots
• Breakfast smoothie. Combine 1 ripe banana, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 cup of soymilk, fat-free or one percent milk, and a little honey, if needed. You can add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or serve with a handful of nuts for some healthy fat and satiety.
• Whole-grain (or partially whole-grain) pasta with tomato sauce and chicken or turkey meatballs
• Hummus sandwich. If they’re going to be eating this a few hours from the time you make it, it’s best to put the hummus in a separate container and have them use the bread to dip the hummus. Serve with some carrot sticks or whatever vegetables they like.
• Healthier chicken nuggets or fish sticks. Use crushed, whole-grain cereal for the breading and bake them instead of frying them.
4. Kids want fast food – how can you limit it without making it forbidden?
• Convey your own enthusiasm for healthy food and find nutritious home-cooked meals that they enjoy. That way, fast food won’t taste as good.
• Let kids know these foods are unhealthy.
• When you do go to a fast food restaurant, keep portions reasonable-the smallest burger, share the fries, split the soft drink (or skip it altogether).
• Try better versions of fast food, like some of the choices offered at Chipotle, Subway or Boston Market.
• Get the menus and look them over with your children, picking out items that are lower in sodium, sugar and saturated fat.
5. Do you have any other tips for parents wanting to live their best life?
I became a parent late in life, and I’ve learned that one of the primary responsibilities you have as a parent is to be as good a role model as you can for your kids. We think children learn all their bad habits at school, but that’s not true. They learn it at home from their parents. When you struggle to choose the healthier meal or to get to the gym, remember that your habits will likely become their habits.
About Bob Greene:
Bob Greene has helped millions lose weight and find their own best life through his highly acclaimed, three-phase weight loss lifestyle. Recently, Bob created the Best Life seal of approval that can now be easily spotted on grocery store shelves all across the country. The seal was created to help consumers easily identify products that measure up to the rigorous Best Life Diet taste and nutrition standards. For more ways to life YOUR best life, visit Bob at TheBestLife.com.