How to keep it together when the going gets going

Two of my favorite things: The Double Chin Diary and my Erin Condren life planner!

Two of my favorite things: The Double Chin Diary and my Erin Condren life planner!

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.

Alyssa and Alan rock FitBloggin 13!

Alyssa and Alan rock FitBloggin 13!

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.)


My awesome instagram pizza, doctored up thanks to the Rhonna app!

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!



The Double Chin Diary Siggy





Making Time for Exercise

Hey everybody! How you doin’ out there? I feel a little distant this week… because school is in FULL BLOWN “GO” mode, and life is just moving along at a crazy pace. Here’s what my schedule was like yesterday: Work from 8 AM – 3:30 PM. Class from 4:00 – 7: 00. Participate in Social Media Panel from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Eat Dinner at 9:30 PM. Work on homework from 9:30 – 11:00 PM. 11:00 Go to bed.

Thankfully not everyday is as crazy as that, but today was not much better with working from 9:00 – 5:00 PM and then heading right to the hospital for allergy shots from 5:30 – 6:30 PM and then the rest of the evening being spent doing homework. It’s exhausting, right? It’s exhausting and I’ve been slacking about fitness because of it.

Fitness is fun with Richard Simmons! Why can't it be like this every time?!

I work with a wonderful and very funny friend named Jenny. She’s become a Weight Watchers buddy for me, and tonight, a reality check. We were texting back and forth about a Zumba class for $5 that’s offered at my workplace at 7 PM. I normally leave work at 5 PM, so I’ve been hesitant to stay for Zumba because that’s two hours of “home” time I get to have. After I hemmed and hawed and explained why I didn’t want to stay for Zumba, she hit me with this one: “You know you’re going to go home and veg and not exercise! If there’s no time to exercise then you won’t lose weight as fast as you like.”

She’s right. I’m the mayor of excuses village. When it comes to weight loss, I transform into a flubbery, blubbering “But this is why this happened! It’s genetics! It’s because I’m bloated! It’s because my jeans weigh a pound and a half! It’s because I ate that salty soup!”

The reality is that I need to be accountable for the mistakes I make in regards to weight loss, just like I am at work. If I screw up on something at work, I fess up, because usually just admitting your mistake is going to make it better. Like when I got busted in a meeting this week by my colleague as I was doodling hearts and stars all over my legal pad .”Did you get that, Alyssa?” she said, with a bit of sarcasm in her voice. With a straight face, I looked up and said, “Nope. I wasn’t listening. I’m sorry, can you repeat it?” There’s no need to lie because I’m transparent about my actions at work. I’m not perfect. I will never be. I have no problem admitting it. Perfection isn’t the problem, its commitment. It’s willpower. How bad do I want this?

I’m struggling because I am genuinely, honestly busy. I don’t have a lot of free time. But I need to make this a priority, just like I make work and grad school and my husband and my friends and family a priority. How do you fit it all in? We’re all busy, so I can’t keep using it as an excuse. Life is busy. As John Lennon once said, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.

Do you find lack of time can screw up your eating or fitness habits? What do you do to be prepared? Any hints for a gal like me – short on time but big on hope?

Reality Check

Today, I got a reality check. When I weighed in at the gym three weeks ago, I wasn’t happy about what I saw. Today, I REALLY got a reality check at my first Weight Watchers meeting at work. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I gotta keep it real, because that’s my promise to you, reader. That’s what blog is for. I’ve gained about 9 pounds back out of the 12 I’ve recently lost. Ugh. It sucks. But I can’t sit here and whine and pretend that I don’t know why it happened. It happened because I celebrated the end of my semester with delicious things like Bailey’s Irish Cream, and because I ate gooey brie cheese on top of triscuits at midnight while playing Monopoly. It happened because I took a break from the treadmill in favor of my couch, and because I got so wrapped up in buying gifts and taking finals and traveling and sleeping and this and that, that I forgot about the real goal.

What’s the silver lining? The silver lining is that it’s never too late to start over – and today, I started over. I am committing to you, to this blog, and most importantly, to myself, that next week I will have lost some weight. It doesn’t matter if it’s half of a pound or four, but next week, the scale will be ticking downwards. It has to be. There’s no better time than now – while I have the support of my co-workers as we all battle the bulge together, and while I have the clean slate of a fresh new year

. I’m going to be tracking my points on my iPhone, and working out at least three times a week. I’ll use my little sticker calendar plan to chart my work outs, and I’ll drink more water. I’ll try to avoid snacks as a remedy for stress, and more than ever, I’ll use this blog as an outlet. I have to do this, because I realized with some remorse the other day, that every year, my resolution is the same. To lose weight. Next year, I don’t want the same resolution. I want to do this now, while I’m young and sparky. Several of my more “mature” friends have warned me that it’s a million times better to shed the weight now, so I gotta do it. I must. I can. I will.

What was the last reality check you had about something you’ve been avoiding, ignoring or had just plain forgotten about?