I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 months since I’ve written a post! If you have missed hearing from me, I apologize … but life has changed a lot and I haven’t taken the time to sit down and journalize (not sure that’s a word, but that’s what I do!) my feelings through the blog.
Since my last post, I began working outside of the home about 25 hours per week. Making the transition from stay at home mom for 12 years to working outside of the home mom, in some ways has been really easy and natural. But in other ways, it’s been a real juggling act. I’m trying to figure out how to fit everything into my days, but I’m realizing that I continually need to re-prioritize the things that I’m trying to fit in. And some things, I’ve just had to let go … like writing, for a time.
One of the things that I’ve been determined to not let go and extremely intentional about making sure I fit it in is exercise. I knew that if I didn’t have a routine established from the get-go that one week without would become one month, which would then become the entire fall, and probably end up being the whole year. And I knew I could not let that happen after all my hard work.
So I wake up every morning at 6:30. Say good-bye to my husband who’s heading off to work. I get dressed in workout clothes (I’ll admit though, there are many nights that I put them on to sleep in), get my oldest up, put a load of laundry in, pack the boys lunches (because frankly I’m too tired the night before to do it), get breakfast for my oldest, send him out the door at 6:55, set out bowls of cereal for the other 2 boys, setting the milk out next to the bowls. If they are not yet up, I then wake up the other 2 and have them get dressed and eat (pouring their own milk) while I exercise to Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. I then put the laundry in the dryer, put a new load in the washer, but usually don’t start it yet. Hop in the shower, shampoo, rinse, wash, get out, get dressed (if needed, iron the clothes first), turn the washer on, with a wet head, take the boys to the bus stop at 7:45. I then come back, finally get my cup of coffee, do my hair, put my make-up on. Enter my workout into My Fitness Pal. Log on to Facebook to message my 30 Day Shred Accountability Crew that I did the workout. Fold the clothes from the dryer, move the other load from the washer to the dryer (I’ll fold those when I get home). Get a second cup of coffee to drink on the way to work, grab some breakfast to eat in the car and head out at 8:40.
Sounds exhausting, right? But you know what? It really isn’t. I feel productive, I love the routine of it, and I love that I get my exercise in. And I never, ever, regret getting up and doing it. Even if I’m drop dead tired at 9:00 at night – says the former night owl!
I try to run at least 3 days in the afternoon or evening, but if my schedule doesn’t allow it, or if like last night, I’m simply too tired, I don’t. And you know what? I don’t stress about it, because I think of the running as icing on the exercise cake. (By the way, when I said, “last night” I really mean now, because I’m writing this on Monday night and scheduling it to be posted on Tuesday morning. I don’t want you thinking I’m going even crazier now and getting up extra earlier to type a blog!)
I have to admit, I just re-read the post up to this point, and I find myself thinking, “Who am I???” For those of you who know me well, or maybe you don’t even have to have known me well to know that I hated mornings. I was not a morning person. I slept in as long as possible. Also I resisted, hated, avoided, and came up with every excuse not to exercise. So it truly is miraculous that I do this every day! And let me tell you, if I can … then you can find a way to fit exercise into your days too.
If you are struggling doing so, I’d love to offer some tips.
- Look at your schedule and see what makes sense for you. For me, it’s first thing. I like it that way, because I find the anticipation of working out is worse than actually doing it, so the less I think about it, the better it is.
- Find an exercise routine that is doable. I knew I couldn’t leave my house in the morning since Jeff heads out early. So I needed something that I could do from my tiny livingroom. I also wanted quick and effective. I love doing Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred (click here to go to the video) because the videos are 27 minutes long, I do them from home, so it really is 27 minutes – no drive time to and from the gym, all I need is some space (my living room is tiny and it’s plenty), You Tube to watch the videos and some hand weights.
- Find people to help with accountability. For me this is key. I posted on Facebook that I was starting the shred and asked if anyone wanted to do it with me. I then created a message group that we post every day after we worked out. We sympathize with each other’s sore muscles and moves that are difficult. We encourage and cheer each other on. Now I’m pretty sure none of them will yell at me if I don’t work out, but it’s nice knowing that they see whether or not I did. Most of us have completed the series and have started again. (The beauty being that you can increase your hand weights to make the exercises more difficult.)
- Going along with #3, Get your spouse on board. Not as your accountability person. But make sure they know how important it is to you so they are supportive of it in your schedule.
- Don’t skip days. Determine ahead of time which days you will be exercising, and do it. I find that it is so easy to find an excuse not to exercise and to say, “I’ll just skip today.” But that truly becomes a foothold to quitting all together. As Nike used to say, “Just do it!”
- Plan things with friends, such as running a 5k, 8k, half marathon, marathon or a biking race or something that you need to be in decent shape for so you have motivation to keep working. Last month, my friend Emily and I ran an 8k together. We had it planned for a while, so I knew when I started working that I needed to be ready for it. We did it, had a blast and got a time we were both excited about! Now I need something else on my schedule. Any suggestions? Anyone want to run a 10 miler or maybe even a half with me????
Once again, I just reread the post for editing purposes, and I still can’t believe these words are coming from me. I can’t stress enough, that if I can make this work, ANYONE can!!!! I truly don’t write this in any prideful, look at me, way. I write it only as encouragement for those who, like I did for 39 years, come up with excuse after excuse of why they don’t exercise. (Ok, maybe not 39 years, I probably didn’t realize that I should be exercising or active and wasn’t until I was in middle school, so we’ll say 29 years…)
And in my honesty, keeping it real, admitting my imperfections … here’s my struggles right now. This past week I’ve been eating beyond my calories with eating a lot of sweets, not logging everything, and sometimes not really caring. Which is scary to me. Because I need to care. I had come to a broken point of surrender saying that if I need to log every bite I eat for the rest of my life I will. But I’m not … and I need to. I still have more weight to lose. But even if I didn’t, the way I’m eating right now would result in gaining weight back, not just in maintaining. So I know it needs to stop!!!!
And my other struggle is that I’m not spending time in the Bible. More than not spending time in the Bible, I’m not relaxing and being still in the presence of God. My prayers are quick and I leave no time for listening. I know just like exercise and logging food, I need to be disciplined in spending time with God. I truly don’t say that in a self-loathing, condemning way, but in a healthy, convicted way, knowing that things need to change.
So it seems as though even though I’ve got the exercise thing down right now, there’s still lots of imperfection to be worked through!
Pressing on together,