Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finding the Time

Finding the time to eat right and exercise can be challenging. Reader Julie wrote in asking for advice on finding the time. Julie wrote...

I love your posts and your journey and have been so inspired. My personal issue for not doing my best with a healthy lifestyle is that I am a full-time working mother with a husband who is in retail, which means crazy hours, including all Saturdays. By the time my son is in bed, after getting two full hours of playtime and his dinner in, dad comes in to join in the play, then it is bath and bedtime for our son and we are left looking at each other at 8-8:30pm trying to figure out dinner and quality time before crashing out for the night. Our lives are fast and blessed but there is little to no "me" time. If that time is spent exercising then it is impossible to do other things like scrap booking. What do you do when your time is so stretched?

I can't make any judgment on how busy another person's life is. I know how busy I get with no kids and a part-time job, I imagine someone with kids and full-time work can get pretty stretched. But I'm going to give some of the tough love I gave myself when starting my journey. How busy are you really? I was the queen of finding excuses of why I was "too busy" to take care of my health. I wasted a lot of time doing anything other than exercising and preparing healthy meals but turns out being "busy" was just another of my many excuses. It turns out that it was less about finding the time and more about making the time.

Be honest with yourself. Look at a typical day or week and jot down exactly what you're doing when you're not sleeping, at work, commuting or spending actual hands-on time with your child. Is there a block of 30 minutes, 3-5 a week when you can take a walk around the block with your child or do a workout video in your living room? There are other things you can do, too. Are there stairs at work you can walk up instead of using the elevator? Can you park a bit further from your office to get in a morning walk? Making time to exercise and/or developing a positive attitude toward health and fitness will rub off on your child and have a positive impact on his life, too!

Healthy eating is another part of the equation. Batch cooking is a great way to have healthy meals at the ready. Your husband works on Saturdays, can you carve out a block of a few hours to prep some healthy meals like pots of soup, marinated chicken, prepare veggies for quick cooking later in the week? There are many quick and healthy recipes available right here on the Internet. Utilize your freezer. I've found that there isn't much that doesn't freeze well and reheat beautifully in the oven, microwave at work or on the stove top. Healthy make ahead meals on Google search. Everyday Food magazine is an amazing resource of fast meals that are nutritious and delicious and really good leftover. And they include the nutritional information for each serving, too!

I saw where my life was headed if I didn't make changes and frankly, it scared me. But now I have a new attitude toward healthy living. I welcome it! I feel great, I'm happier in my own skin, happier in my relationships, I even enjoy my job more. Exercise and preparing healthy meals isn't punishment to take you away from your favorite things, like scrap booking and spending time with your husband and child, it's something that can add years to your life to spend with them. Vibrant, energetic years!


  1. Your posts are all so beautiful and inspirational. Thank you

  2. I think the time thing is a really hard issue--I don't have kids so I can't really imagine how parents find the time. I know some parents are able to get the kids involved in healthy cooking or exercise, or when they're little, go running with strollers.

    But I do know that the time you find for healthy living gets paid back with interest in terms of feeling better and living longer.

  3. Sarah, thank you for the very kind words.

    Crabby, thanks for stopping always you have great advice!

  4. In Response to Your Post on "Finding the Time" 01/17/2010: I agree, you can always find the time when you want to. I completely know what you are saying when you say that you were using ‘too busy’ as an excuse not to workout. Whether waking up earlier in the morning, using your lunch break to work out, or carving out just a little time in the evening, there are always ways to fit in exercise if you are serious about making it a priority.