Earlier this year, I bought a planner. Almost every year of my adult life, I’ve bought a planner with amazing intentions. I’d diligently pencil in appointments and reminders for about four days, then forget about it and go back to my hectic and crazy life. Well, finally, this year, something stuck. I took a big career risk. I quit a cushy, high-paying full-time (but boring) job to go freelance. While I love the work I do, being a freelancer means no real days off (you’re always on call. If something major happens on Facebook to your brand on Labor Day, you deal with, it because that’s your job). This weekend on my family trip to Oregon, I’ll probably have to take a few work calls. It’s not ideal, but it comes with the territory. The sacrifice of a structured work day and no holiday/vacation hours or benefits comes with higher hourly rates, flexible schedules, and the ability to walk away from any crazy-face client. (And yes, sadly you do get ‘em from time to time… the trick is spotting them early.) I can enjoy random Tuesdays off doing errands and I can wear jeans to work, but I have to keep it all together. There are invoices to be sent, reports to make and meetings to attend. My planner is now a part of my daily life for tracking hours worked on projects, upcoming concerts, trips out of town, doctor’s appointments… you name it.
Now that we’ve thrown househunting into the mix, I”m having a hard time carving space into my schedule for fitness and meal prep. It isn’t an excuse, but it is a fact. My friends complain about how busy I am, and it’s true… I am busy. We’re all busy, and I know that. I need to find the time. So last weekend when we met with friends for dinner, we decided to get frozen yogurt for dessert. Instead of driving, we walked the .8 of a mile each way – and voila, there was a mile and a half of hidden exercise. I used to have a pretty solid gym routine where I met two of my gal pals after work, but now that I have multiple clients, I’m not a dependable “meet you after work at 5:30″ type of girl. Sometimes the meat of my work day is just starting at 5:30! Hopefully soon things will calm down and I’ll get past some of my big project deadlines, but the reality is that I thought I’d have oodles of free time after grad school, and well… the free time has been replaced by new projects. There will never be enough time. And again, I’m not complaining. I feel so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to do the work I do in the way I do it — but it’s a challenge when dieting and exercise needs to be such a large part of your life. For example, have you guys seen or heard about my friend Alan at Sweating Until Happy? This guy is ROCK SOLID with his meal planning and EVERY SINGLE DAY he is at the gym. And he has the results to prove it, and I admire it. I need to emulate that bulletproof commitment, because as cheesy or narcissictic as it sounds, I’m worth it.
So as usual, spewing this all out on my little corner of the internet is a good idea for me, because it helps me brainstorm what I need to do. I need to find ways to incorporate exercise that doesn’t seem so daunting in that I need a dedicated two hours to go to the gym, workout, come home from the gym. I can use my 7-minute exercise app a few times a day. I can walk around the block. I can jog slowly while my husband runs at night. I can go to the gym on those rare days I have off. I can pop in my Richard Simmons DVD. Fitness can be effective at just ten minutes, so what am I doing? Laying on the couch exhausted? (Yes… I did that today, too.)
I also need to be more prepared in terms of food. Now that I’m on a “lower carb” (I refuse to say low carb, because I can still have carbs, darn it, just in more limited amounts) diet, I need to be ready to go with healthy and convenient snacks at all times. Tonight, I got past my tiredness and looming work deadlines and made a cauliflower pizza crust with turkey pepperoni and skim cheese. I’ll have this for lunch and dinner tomorrow, and I can’t wait! Delicious looking and healthful, too. I’ll let you know how it comes out! A couple times last week I did breakfast meal preps with turkey sausage and eggs, and packed them up, and that was good. One nice thing about lower-carb eating is the protein keeps me satiated way longer, so I’m not nearly as hungry as I usually am. Woohoooo!
April will be back writing for y’all on Friday while I’m on my way up to Sisters, Oregon. Matt’s parents rent a cabin there, so we’re sneaking away for a long weekend to do some river hiking, lake kayaking, and bike riding. I should be able to squeeze in plenty of activity and also get some fresh air. That will be so nice for somebody who’s hunched over a computer 10-12 hours a day I hope you have an amazing weekend and tell me – what do you do when the going gets going?! Give me your “get it together and keep it together” tips, as well as anything that saves you times in terms of meal prep, diet or exercise. I know I gotta do the work, but I’m all about efficiency — so tell me how you handle it when things get (and stay) crazy!