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Happy Mama with Healthy Habits: Andrea MacDonald

Andrea MacDonald

Age: 43

Children: 2, ages 8 and 9

Marital Status: Married

Occupation: Family Law Paralegal

Greatest Health-Related Accomplishment:

Changing my diet to include raw fruits and veggies every day and sticking to it!

Greatest fitness-related accomplishment:

Completing Mudderella. I had a narrowing in my throat, so it was very challenging, but I did it! I have since had throat surgery so I can breathe better and want to do a tougher race.

What are some healthy habits you are proud of having?

“I do not schedule events or activities at the same time as my favourite exercise classes unless absolutely necessary!”

I make well-rounded, healthy meals for my family, and if I’m too busy to make a healthy dinner due to activities, work etc., I make every effort to make dinner the day before or make freezer meals to thaw and serve with fresh vegetables.

I also take at least 15-30 minutes every day to sit down and have a cup of tea and read. This usually takes place after the kids are in bed, but sometimes when they’re doing homework or other activities.

What do your kids think of those habits?

There are times when I need to bring the boys to the fitness studio with me for a class because of my husband’s work schedule – they rarely complain. It’s an open dialogue about supporting each other to stay healthy and fit.  They play sports and have Fitness Friday at school and I have the studio and outside activities with them.

I have one son who is a picky eater, and another son who is an adventurous eater. They have started making comments to me about foods they notice other kids at school eating that are processed foods, so they are understanding more about nutrition as they get older.

My youngest has started coming to sit and read when he sees me doing it. He told me he saw me snuggled in a blanket by the fireplace reading a book and he thought that looked like a great idea!

Do you have a habit of which you are not proud?

It is a constant struggle to curb my love of sugar! I love pastries, chocolate and lattes. Sweets are my vice, but I have learned not to deny myself 100 per cent, because then I binge. I let myself have treats. I don’t go crazy with quantity and can easily be satisfied with a small treat.

What does your workout schedule look like?

Andrea working out in the dark, early hours, with her workout buddy, Sharon.

I exercise at Life Designs Fitness Studio for Women. I workout Mondays for one hour in a DualFit session with our trainer, Lynn, and a partner. I also do a Coredio class every Saturday for 45 minutes. In between those two classes I fit in two more classes at times that my children’s activities schedule permits. Generally Wednesday mornings and one evening for 45 minutes each. I find 6 a.m. classes the most convenient and usually go straight to work from a class (Hello, dry shampoo!).  I’m always happy I went, as I feel invigorated after exercising!

DualFit is a favourite because it is very challenging working with a personal trainer. Corediofit is also a favourite because it works my core and involves cardio. I have an issue with my hip and having a strong core has alleviated those issues greatly.

How do you make it happen?

I make the boys’ lunches the night before my 6 a.m. class so I do not have to do anything the morning of the class. I have everything ready: my workout wear, my work clothes for the next day, my water bottle right on the counter and my purse packed and ready to go. It’s very streamlined, so I can get up, get dressed and get out the door. For evening classes, I make supper the night before. After work the day of a workout, I just have to cook a vegetable and then pack it all into Tupperware containers for the boys to eat when I’m at the studio, or sometimes we have time to eat before we go, but I have to have everything ready to simply re-heat.

Every Sunday, I spend two to four hours prepping meals. I make three-days-worth of oats for myself and pack them with little baggies of nuts and dried fruit so I can heat it up after my workout. I also cut up fruits and veggies for the boys’ lunches so they just need to be put into individual containers. I make a meal plan and shop for it and prepare as much as I can in advance so that we do not sacrifice eating well.

How do you make time?

I plan around class times. 6 a.m. classes are the easiest as they do not interfere with the boys’ schedules or my husband’s schedule. I’m at work or back home before anyone is awake!

“I never plan anything for the times when my two favourite classes are taking place.”

I just don’t feel good, physically or mentally when I miss my favourite classes.

Andrea MacDonald and her family

Top 6 Healthy Habits in Order of Priority:

1. Relationships

2. Sleep

3. Fitness

4. Nutrition

5. Me-Time: This includes time in nature; walks, hiking, etc.

6. Chiropractics & Massage Therapy

Do you ever feel judged for making any of those things a priority?

I would say the only time I felt judged was when I told some friends I was going to a women’s retreat. They were very shocked that I would spend the money on myself.

In what area of your life do you struggle or feel like you sometimes drop the ball?

I struggle with sleep. It can be the only quiet time in my life, so I can sometimes stay awake too late and then I am tired the next day.

I also drop the ball on my own nutrition from time to time (see comments re: sugar).  I don’t always make myself as great a lunch as I make my children and that can lead to eating on the run, which is almost always unhealthy and not good on the budget.

Is there anyone in your life who is not supportive of your health goals?

I wouldn’t say anyone is unsupportive, but sometimes I get the feeling that people don’t always understand when I say I can’t make it somewhere at a certain time because of my exercise schedule.

Andrea and Kerry MacDonald

Do you have a support system?

My husband is very supportive of my health goals. He supports my schedule as much as his schedule allows, and encourages me to go to women’s retreats and events, as he understands this is much needed me-time.

“Saturdays until 12 p.m. are me-time.”

I do Corediofit 8:15-9 a.m. and then have a break (I usually go for a latte and read my book) and then I have Yin yoga 10:30-11:45 a.m. My husband is completely supportive of this and takes care of the boys and whatever else needs to be done during that time. My boys are supportive as well as they understand the importance of fitness. They come to the studio when they have to come with me and they don’t complain at all. My youngest sometimes joins in (on the sidelines). My trainers are also extremely supportive!


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