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Positive Parenting While Trying to Live Waste-Free

Positive Parenting While Trying to Live Waste-Free

One of the hardest parts about parenting is when things we’re used to doing suddenly aren’t as easy to accomplish. Whether it’s washing all the dishes, working on a DIY house  remodelling project, going for the daily jog, or getting in that hour of reading before going to bed, moms and dads everywhere can relate to this phenomenon in some way .

As someone who tries to lead a waste-free life, especially when it comes to food consumption and house utilities, the view isn’t that different. Living waste-free is rewarding because of the limited impact on the environment, but for various reasons it can sometimes take a little extra time and effort. When it’s just adults keeping track of things and staying organized in a waste-free lifestyle it’s a lot easier to manage, but when young children are part of the picture, adults no longer have free rein; suddenly we’re scrambling to stick to our ideals. As a new parent, this is something I’m learning all the time.

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At first we think we’ll get back to what we perceived as normalcy, but eventually reality sets in and we become accustomed to the fact things, for good reasons, will never be quite the same again. Nevertheless, finding a comfortable balance between what was and what is—in my case between living waste free and having to compromise on occasion—is a necessary challenge.

How do we cope with being parents and keeping up with previous levels of waste-free living until everyone is old enough to truly lend a hand?

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Consider the following:

  • Be patient: When kids arrive into our world it’s essential to remember that they are the boss in more ways than one, and while leading a similar life as before isn’t impossible, there will be new ways of getting things done with a different time frame. That’s why it’s important to have patience and remind ourselves that if things occasionally fall by the wayside ,we have the ability to pick it all up again down the road.

In terms of being waste-free, patience means not being too hard on yourself or anyone else and doing the best you can do. The environment will absolve you for being lackadaisical in your quest; people won’t be as forgiving.

  • Simplify: A big part of being waste-free means using reusable tableware, but when the kids are at the age where their hands are in everything, it doesn’t make sense to use the china and other family heirlooms and constantly be stressed out.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t make every effort to produce an amazing presentation, however, until the kids are old enough to be a little more responsible, keep it simple and have a second-hand set of dishes for those special occasions. When it’s no longer needed, this secondary set can be passed on or sold to someone else.

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Alternatively, it’s a good idea to have a back up plan when the reusables are out of commission. For example, although I may believe that living waste-free is important, having a few eco-friendly brands of disposables stashed away for “emergencies” is a smart back-up plan. When they are needed, biodegradable sets will lessen the blow when they are called upon to please a hungry family that can’t wait for the dishes to be washed.

  • Don’t give up: When the goal is zero waste, but there’s so much going on and life is taking over, don’t give up—be a leader and show kids how it’s an easy process on the one hand, but following through can sometimes be tricky. The key is persistence.

Things don’t always work out as we’d like but that isn’t a reason to surrender. It’s important to focus on the potential, and that a lack of success isn’t complete failure: merely a bump in the road to achieving our goals, and the only way to accomplish them meaningfully is to stay positive and never give up.

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Featured photo credit: Young, happy family in a room interior via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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