This is the third step in the series How To Beat Motherhood Overwhelm in 7 Easy Steps.
And the big secret is:
The Three Hour Rule!
If you make a mistake, just start over in three hours.
What on earth? Start what? Ann, where are you going with this…?
Here’s the thing. Most of us, we know where to start. It’s easy to start things! Eat a salad? Voila! You just started living a healthier lifestyle! But then, if you’re like me, the afternoon shows up and you just want some chocolate. Or, you’re driving by a starbys and bada-bing bada-boom you just drank a carmel machiato, and that’s not on anyone’s healthy food list.
Listen, being a mom is overwhelming. Being healthy is overwhelming. Being both is gets ridiculous, and fast. You gotta learn to cut yourself some slack! But, you also gotta realize you need to get back in the healthfood saddle!
Last weekend was Easter. We still have Easter candy. I’ve eaten more than I wanted to. But each time I ate some candy I reminded myself *without guilt*, in 3 hours we start again. In three hours, I’m going to eat my regularly scheduled healthy food. (We’ll get to how I schedule healthy food in just a bit).
My default is to eat something junky, that makes me not feel good, and then just give up for the rest of the day. I already had that junk this morning,so I might as well eat more for lunch. Then I just totally give up and eat something else that makes me feel like crap for dinner.
No one deserves that!
By the end of the day I feel horrid and the next day I’m bloated and sluggish. If I used the three hour rule I would have had a bunch of nourishing food along with the junk to help my body handle it better.
Why 3 hours?
I’ve heard it said that it takes approximately three hours for your body to burn up the energy from the food you eat and store the rest. So, at the end of about three hours from your last meal, your stomach is a blank slate for whatever you put in next. This gives your body a fresh start on how it’s processing that food. So, if you’re eating for energy or detox or muscle building, you’ll get the full effect of that meal without it mixing with the junk you had earlier.
Another side effect of this train of thought is that it’s a reminder to eat. The human body functions best on frequent, small meals. I’ll show you my tricks to make that an easier process below, I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to prepare meals every three hours! But, I often forget to eat, especially when I start eating junk. I’ll eat something that doesn’t nourish me and then I’ll walk into the kitchen five hours later and inhale a bunch more stuff I don’t even want to eat! Just because I wasn’t thinking about food until I was starving.
The three hour rule makes me look at a clock when I’m eating. I like to remind myself right then, outloud, “Ann, you need to eat again at ______.” Then I’m thinking about it, about what I’ll eat. I’m making sure, if I’m not home at that time or know I’ll be busy at that time, that I bring a snack with me. It takes intention! You and the family you are caring for are worth the effort!
If you’re super overwhelmed, you need to eat!
And I don’t mean an entire tub of frosting (I’ve been there, you’ll regret that). You need to make sure you have good fuel to run on. I know you don’t have time and it’s just way easier to eat left over chicken dinos off your kid’s plate, but that’s not nourishing you. I have found nourishing my body does not have to be complicated, or require tons of money or time. I usually buy some specific things just for myself and the kids can keep eating their beloved chicken dinos! (Or their own healthy food, growing bodies have different needs than adult bodies.) My favorite nurturing mom foods to have on hand are:
- Sprouted bread and natural peanut butter
- Triscuits and hummus
- Shakes made with frozen fruit/berries and chia seeds
- Almonds and dried apricots
- Microwaveable black bean burgers
- Hard boiled eggs
- Canned tuna, sugar free mayo and lavish bread wraps
- Canned garbanzo beans and frozen stir fry vegetables
- Canned Progresso Black Bean Soup
- Also, drink your water! I hate water alone, I add green tea bags and stevia to mine, it still gets the job done!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed the trend: the food on my list is all premade or crazy simple to do quickly. I have had seasons where I made every thing from scratch, and they were awesome. I make a lot of what my kids eat from scratch, too. But, in the middle of overwhelm we just need to be making healthy choices, not necessarily Betty Crocker Super-Mom choices. And, as we eat better and our energy increases, we’ll be more likely to be able to switch some of these out for homemade versions!
I’m sure you’ve heard the merits of meal planning. Food scheduling is different. It’s looser.
I meal plan my dinners, l know what we’re eating each night for the next week. But, for all the other meals, I follow a schedule. It’s more focused on eating by the clock than by the food. For breakfast, at about 8am, I have something with protein and carbs from my list. The list changes a little everyday and everytime I go to the store. While I’m grabbing breakfast I check my inventory and think, these 5 choices today, or these 6 choices. Then I’ll grab one of those choices every time I hit that three hour mark. I’m mostly at home during the day, but if I’m going out I’ll make a few things ahead or bring the travel friendly options and eat the not so travel friendly when I’m home.
The first part of the big secret is to eat!
The second is to eat every three hours.
The third, is get a bunch of easy to grab, healthy to you food, so you can keep yourself nourished.
Here’s to nourishing our bodies and finding our way out of motherhood overwhelm!