Question: I really need help finding a diet and exercise plan that I will stick to. I am always extremely busy. I go to college full time and I work as a waitress around 30 hours a week. Between classes, homework, work, family, friends, & errands, I don't have much time for anything else. I have tried many different diet and exercise plans over the course of the past 4 or 5 years. I can never stick with them because once my work or school schedule changes, my exercise plan or diet plan conflicts with it. It's hard for me to eat healthy all the time because I have to eat out a lot when I'm not at home. I love going to the gym, but I am not a morning person and I like to relax at night. Maybe I'm just making excuses, but I just feel too tired to work out when I actually have some free time. I am exhausted from the other parts of my life. Please help me!
Heather: Dear Reader, Thanks for this important question!
It’s not easy to fit physical activity and healthy eating into a busy lifestyle. I completely understand because I, too, find that whenever my schedule changes, my exercise regimen and healthy eating are the first things to give. Over the years I’ve realized that I have to make time to get to the gym and grocery store and pack my lunch because my schedule isn’t going to conveniently have time set aside for those things. Ultimately we only have time for what we make time for. It does sound like you are focusing on putting up barriers to these behaviors rather than tearing them down. We all want time for ourselves, especially after a busy day! Try to think of the time you spend exercising as time for yourself, especially since it is something that you enjoy. Hopefully on most days you’ll have more than just that time for yourself, but on busy days at least you’re assured to have that time devoted just to you.
In my current job I’ve found that I can not depend on getting out of the office by a certain time, which makes it hard to get to the gym for the classes I like. And once I’ve missed the class I like it’s hard to get up the motivation to go to one that I’m not too crazy about. I’m not a morning person either, but I realized that if I didn’t get my workouts done in the morning, I wasn’t likely to fit them in. When I started taking a 6 a.m. aerobics class it was HARD to get up that early. But after time it became a habit and now I get up and am out the door before I even realize. Trust me, I didn’t believe the people who told me I would adjust to working out so early – but I did and you can too.
Here’s how I did it.
I’m a snooze button abuser - I’ll hit it without even fully waking up. I knew that if I set the alarm next to my bed for 5:20 a.m. by the time I realized I had been hitting snooze it would be almost 6:00 a.m. and too late to make the class. So I set an alarm in my bathroom and then set the one next to my bed for 10 minutes later. When the alarm in my bathroom goes off I have to get out of bed and walk into the other room to shut it off. By then I am awake enough that when the alarm by my bed goes off 10 minutes later I get up and get ready. I also lay my workout clothes out the night before so I have every second of sleep possible. This works really well for me.