4 Lessons Our Newborn Baby Is (Re-)Teaching Me About Achieving Health Goals
My wife gave birth to our brand new baby girl last week. She's beautiful, a joy to cuddle with, and sounds like a kitten meowing when she's ready to be fed. She's also an amazing teacher, taking her dad to school on life truths on an hourly basis.
If you have kids, you will relate both to what I am experiencing now and what I am learning (again). If you don't have kids, God bless you and your awesome, quiet, free time. And yes, you will certainly be able to connect with the truth shared here about cultivating winning habits for your health goals.
First, I'm a personal trainer. I've been at it for fourteen years. I spend most of my days going from home to home, helping clients achieve maximum health change across the Twin Cities (mostly west metro areas like Plymouth, Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie, Chanhassen...and occasionally as far east as the Dellwood/White Bear Lake area). So when I experience something profound (like becoming a dad again), it's through the lens of a personal trainer.
It has become clear to me that caring for an infant is a lot like caring for newly born health change. Here are the 4 lessons our newborn baby taught me about achieving health goals...
1) Nutrition is a priority, not an afterthought! With a newborn, it is clear when it is time to for more nutrition. They will cry until you feed them. There's no skipping breakfast, working through lunch, or forgetting to eat dinner. You gotta feed that baby several times a day!
Our bodies are the same way. When we don't eat, our body cries. Blood sugar levels drop, mood changes, muscle tissue starts to break down...it's a sad story. If you want to achieve your health goal, you need to make nutrition a priority. You can't win without it!
2) Going out requires strict planning! Ever try being social while caring for an infant? You better plan like crazy. What to feed them, when to feed them, extra diapers and wipes, change of clothes if a mess happens, proper blankets and clothing to protect against the elements, nap time considerations...so much planning.
If you care about your health goal, planning is a MUST when going out with friends or colleagues. If our goal is a priority, we need to plan our nutrition (eat in advance?), bring an extra diaper (a "friend" is going to crap on our goal because we refuse to lower our standard in their company), consider how long we may be out (healthy snack for the ride home?), and even manage expectations by telling someone in advance you won't be using the social time as a pre-diabetes party.
In a country like the United States where over 60% of the population is overweight, going out requires strict planning!
3) Quality sleep is instrumental to quality health. Life is all fun and games until your sleep schedules gets turned upside down. As I slog through nights with severely interrupted sleep, I'm noticing that my workouts are not very good. Strength is down, endurance is down. My brain is foggy at times.
And I crave...garbage! Sleep is a primary vehicle for healing the body. Food is another. When we don't sleep well, our body says, "Guess we'll have to do this the hard way. Bring on the calories!" My cravings for unhelpful food are off the charts right now. And how often does that happen to you when you don't get sleep?
Wanna win with your health goal? Get good sleep. Make it a priority!
4) Poop is going to happen, adapt accordingly! It is amazing how many diapers we go through with our newborn. And sometimes when she's fussy (gassy), she'll cry, then stop crying, stare me right in the eye, and destroy her diaper. I can't believe how much poop this little thing can produce!
Ever experienced poop with a baby goal of yours? You decide to make your paleo or keto menu and eat perfectly clean for the week...and on day two of your clean eating expedition you forget your lunch at home. Poop!
Or you are going to workout every day this week, and you even pack your gym bag the night before and put it in your trunk so you can go to the gym right after work tomorrow. Fool proof plan...until your spouse needs to borrow your vehicle the next morning and calls you as they drive away to remind you to take their car today. Poop!
The reality is this: whenever we make a health goal, that commitment will be tested! Poop will happen! We understand that babies poop, and we expect it. Baby goals get poopy sometimes too...expect it. When you find yourself without your healthy resources, become resourceful! Adapt. Make a change and get rid of the poop.
Bringing it home...
We are only as good as our habits. Going about health change requires a change in habits, a change in expectations we have for ourselves, and (often times) a change in the amount of intentional focus we put into the way each day plays out. If we want to win with our new health goals, we need to be more intentional about food, planning social situations, sleep, and changing accordingly when poop happens in our day.
If you'd like help making successful health change, I'd love to have a conversation with you. Please fill out our little Contact Us form and I'll be glad to reach out to you!