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Excuses: I don’t have time

The beautiful dinner my amazing husband made!

For the next three Mondays, I’ll be doing a three part series on excuses. We’ll talk about the three most common excuses for not getting off the couch and starting your new healthy lifestyle and I’ll give you some tips on what can help you overcome those excuses. Today’s excuse is…. I don’t have time.

Taking the time to plan proper diet and exercise is probably the number one thing holding us back because it takes exactly that… planning. In order to fit exercise and healthy eating into your life, you have to do some thinking ahead, or it just won’t get done. It’s easy to come to the end of the day and realize there are still 5 things on your to-do list and exercise isn’t one of them. And, its easy to rush to work with just an energy bar in hand because you didn’t have time to prep a lunch. Things like that can really add up and they can be easy to change!

Let’s talk about diet first. If you don’t plan your meals ahead of time, you are almost always going to eat more and worse than you planned. You may think you can make it through the day on just that apple and bar you grabbed on your way out, but when 3 pm rolls around and you’re starving, those brownies in the break room are going to start looking mighty nice. However, planning weekly lunches and dinners can be time consuming and sometimes it can just be too overwhelming to get done. Here are a few things that Kevin and I have tried that make the meal planning easier and less intimidating.

  1. Eat the same thing. This works especially well for lunches. I know it may sound boring, but packing the same lunch everyday takes all the planning and strategizing out of the equation and it just becomes a habit. You can throw in a little variety by changing small things each week that don’t require much effort. For example, if you always pack a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a protein bar, each week you can buy a different type of fruit or a new sandwich meat. This way, the packing for the week is already done and you won’t get quite so bored.
  2. Grab and go healthy. For those of us who feel just a teensy bit rushed in the morning (which is me EVERY morning), the things we tend to pack ourselves when we’re running late are the foods we can just grab and go without any more prep. I’ve found that I’ll eat healthy if I can find healthy snacks that are easy to grab. I usually go with apples, low-fat string cheese and small prepackaged bags of carrots. If you’re going for a protein or energy bar, just make sure you check the sugar content. Some of them can be worse than candy bars!
  3. Cook on the weekends. Dinner can be the most overwhelming meal to plan, and most of us tend to have more free time on the weekends. If you know it’s going to be a rough week, make the weekly meals ahead of time and put them in the freezer. When you come home, all you’ll need to do is defrost!

So, now on to exercise! This can be the most challenging to get into your daily routine. It’s hard to wake up at the crack of dawn to face a workout when you’re sleep deprived already, and going to the gym after a long day…. Well it just doesn’t always happen. What to do?

  1. Break up the exercise. Going for a 10 minute walk sounds so much more do-able than a 30 minute work-out. If you can fit in a 10 minute walk before work, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes after dinner, you can still reap all the heart healthy benefits of regular exercise without having to take a huge chunk out of your day.
  2. Consider your weekly, rather than daily, activity. Most of the research done on the benefits of exercise monitored weekly total calorie burns rather than daily exercise. So instead of worrying about how to get in activity every day, try aiming for 3 times per week and going a little longer each time. That way, you don’t have to feel guilty on your super busy days as long as you make it up later in the week. 

Let me know if any of these strategies work for you! Stay tuned for next Monday, “I don’t know what to do!”

-Sara

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sue Omanson on October 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Nice post, Sara!

    Reply

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