My workdays during our busy season are typically 13-14 hours. Add in a commute that is 45 minutes each way, and the day tends to dissappear in a hurry. I come home, shower, go to bed and start all over again the next morning.
Of course, I'm not the only one with a busy schedule. We all have a zillion different commitments and responsibilities, which can make it really difficult to fit in time for exercise or preparing heathy meals. It's tempting to just throw in the towel and have an "all or nothing" mentality about being healthy. It's easy to think that if I can't run for 30 minutes, it's not worth getting sweaty. If I can't eat dinner at home, I might as well just eat tons of pizza and start fresh tomorrow. It's so easy to get frustrated and give up.
The truth is, little things add up, and even making small decisions to be healthier can keep you feeling good and motivated on the most hectic of days. With that in mind I wanted to put together a list of 10 things that you can do on your worst day to help you keep your health and fitness goals moving in the right direction.
1) Drink three 12 oz glasses of water a day.
I hate water. I know that's probably crazy, but I do, so if I can do this anyone can. This is great for a couple reasons... first, if you're drinking water you're not drinking soda or other sugary drinks laden with chemicals and calories. Second, it helps you feel full. Third, at least at the beginning you'll probably have to pee all the time, which forces you to get up from your desk and move around more often than you would otherwise!
2) Fill your plate with at least 50% vegetables.
Preferably veggies that aren't covered with butter or cheese. Vegetables are full of fiber (which makes you feel full) and vitamins (which make you feel energized), plus they keep you from filling your plate up completely with meats and starches instantly cutting the calories of any meal!
3) Donate to a friend's run or walk for charity.
Not only is it a nice thing to do, but having friends who are active makes you more likely to be active too. Add the benefit of that "feel good" vibe you'll get from doing something nice for others and you'll feel better about yourself immediately!
4) Book a workout class for another day.
Putting something on your schedule makes you far more likely to make it happen, especially if you have to pay in advance. You also might find that it's easier for you to get workouts in when you have a limited time to do them... somehow when your day is wide open the motivation can go out the window.
5) Walk laps.
It sounds silly, but if you have 10 or 15 free minutes, walk. Walk up and down the steps or circles around the hallway. Sometimes I quite literally walk laps around my office building. Sure you risk having someone think you're a weirdo, but chances are they are much more worried about what they're doing than what you're doing. Walking burns calories and boosts your metabolism, and if you can get two or three 15-minute blocks in, it can really add up in a hurry.
Really breathe. In and out. In through your nose and out of your mouth. Extend your inhale as long as you can. Push the air out of your mouth like you're squeezing all of the air out of a balloon. Nothing makes you more likely to overeat or make poor health decisions than letting yourself get all stressed out and running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Breathing helps you think more clearly, relax, and lower your heart rate. It's free and takes two seconds and you have to do it anyway, so you might as well make it count.
7) Choose catching Z's over catching Leno
Sleep burns more calories than watching TV, and you'll wake up with more energy in the morning.
8) Take your vitamins.
If you're super busy, the last thing you want is to get sick. Take the vitamins or supplements your doctor recommends. It takes 30 seconds and can only help you.
9) Skip the elevator.
Take the steps. It's the greener choice, and it probably only takes you an extra second or two... plus there is no waiting for the elevator to come,which is great when you're in a hurry!
10) Plan little rewards for little victories.
Just as you shouldn't take an all or nothing approach to your fitness choices, you also shouldn't save rewards for just hitting huge goals. Little victories, like walking a mile a day for a week or hitting your goal for getting 5 servings of veggies each day deserve to be celebrated too. Whether it's watching an hour of guilt-free reality TV, having a glass of really good wine, getting a pedicure, taking a nap in the afternoon, or planning a fun day trip for the future, give yourself the credit that you deserve!