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To say that being a single parent is a challenge would be like saying elephants are a little bit on the hefty side. Ask any single mom or dad what life is like on a daily basis and most would agree that it can be downright exhausting. From the newborn stage of marathon laundry and diaper changing sessions to the toddler stage of always having to keep up, single parents don’t have a ‘tag-you’re it’ partner when you need a break. So how do you find the energy to keep up, both today and for the long term? Staying healthy should be one of your top priorities. If you aren’t healthy, it’s harder to be there for your children. Things like working out at gyms such as Fitness 19, and taking some mental catch up time, will all help you feel better, which will allow you to better care for your family both now and in the future.

Eat Clean

There is a lot of buzz lately surrounding the ‘eat clean’ regimen, and for good reason. It makes sense. By avoiding sugary, pre-packaged and fast food in favor of healthier options like fruits, vegetables and lean protein, you’ll have more energy, feel better and be able to zip those jeans effortlessly. Learn to read labels; if there’s something listed that you can’t pronounce, put it back on the shelf. Opt for natural instead of processed. There are thousands of recipes online that use only clean ingredients that will tantalize your taste buds.

Don’t forget to drink your water. You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. Your body craves fresh, clean water and lots of it. Aim for at least 6 glasses a day. Jazz it up with your favorite fruits, or try adding cucumber or mint for a unique taste.

Studies show that your body composition is made up of 80% nutrition, 20% exercise and 10% genetics. That means that you really are what you eat!

Exercise

While nutrition is important, so is exercise. You may be asking, “How on earth am I going to find the time to exercise with a toddler?” That’s a very good question! And there are several even better answers. If you’re dying to get out of the house and spend some time with adults, then get yourself a gym membership. There are plenty of family-friendly memberships out there, and even though dealing with a toddler all day feels like you’re already working out, being at the gym can give you a much needed boost to get through the rest of the day. If you’re worried about your budget, you can find a month-to-month membership facility, and family-friendly means that there will be babysitting on site so you can work out with peace of mind.

For extra accountability find a workout buddy. Maybe another single mom, or a close friend, or a neighbor. You can support each other and pick each other up when motivation dips.

Although exercising first thing in the morning can set the pace for your entire day, that’s not always possible, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get there for 9:00 a.m. As the parent of a toddler, you know the importance of being flexible. Just make an effort to go, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.

When you take care of yourself, you can take better care of your loved ones, so make sure you stay healthy for years to come. Eat right, exercise and learn to take breaks when you need them, even if that means having your toddler watch a few minutes of TV so you can have some quiet time. Just because you’re a single parent doesn’t mean you’re a superhero; you can’t do it all – and that’s ok!

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