Recently, I was having a discussion about people who claim they don’t have time to be healthy. On this, I call bologna. Let’s start with working out, and solutions to overcome the lack of time. Most of us feel as though we don’t have enough time to workout; however, there is enough time to watch three hours of TV after work. If the idea of missing your favorite shows is too painful to bear and you don’t have DVR there are two easy solutions: 1.) Wake up early and exercise before work, or 2.) exercise while watching your favorite shows. If you can afford a cardio machine and some weights you can watch your shows and workout at the same time. Waking up early is more economical as you can always go for a run in the morning, requiring no cost investment. Even those who work a lot can get in a quick 2 or 3 mile run in the morning or 30 minute walk before work. Exercise does not require spending your entire day at the gym. If it is truly not possible for you to workout before or after work, you could find a gym close to work and go during work. If this is also not an option, than you can fit mini workouts into your office time. Walking around the office every hour or so will help stretch your legs, clear your mind, and add a little exercise to your day. Bring some sneakers to get in a quick walk during lunch. While at your desk do leg lifts for your abs and stretch out your arms and legs from time to time. If you work in a cubicle, leg lifts for your abs are extremely discrete.
As for not having the time to eat nutritious meals, let’s find some solutions. Breakfast is important for getting our bodies ready for the day. My favorite go to breakfast is oatmeal with peanut butter because it takes less than two minutes to make and keeps me full for at least four hours. If you don’t have the five minutes to make and eat this than I would suggest investing in some breakfast bars that you can grab on your way out the door. Be sure to check the ingredients to avoid excessive sugar. These options take the same amount of time, if not less, as it does to stand in line at a coffee shop and wait for pastries to be bagged and rung out. If you absolutely must get your coffee and breakfast together, and refuse to do it at home, I would suggest an egg white wrap from Starbucks or the flatbread sandwiches at Dunkin Donuts; however, making your own meals is always the healthiest option.
As for lunch, again it takes the same amount of time to pack a lunch for yourself the night before, as it does to stand in line at a restaurant or cafeteria, pick out your lunch, and pay for it. You can bring your lunch and still sit in the cafeteria or restaurant with your friends, and not have that heavy, sluggish feeling in your stomach the rest of the day.
Finally, we make our way to dinner. This seems to be the most difficult for the majority of people, with good reason. By the end of the day we’re tired, cranky, our will power has been challenged all day, and we just want a quick easy option. Once again, I will point out that the time it takes to go to a restaurant, read the menu, order, and pay, is about the same amount of time, if not more, than it would take to make your own nutritious meal at home. Most home cooked meals take no more than a half hour to cook. Fast food restaurants may be a bit quicker, but if time is really the problem, remember that in the end, the time you’ll spend at a doctors office in the future, finding remedies for the ailments you’re accumulating (chronic heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc) is much more time consuming than the few extra minutes you’ll spend each day treating your body well. On Sundays you can get most of your ingredients for the week ready ahead of time to ensure an efficient cooking process upon your arrival home. Don’t forget to pack yourself some snacks for the afternoon to get you through until dinner. My favorite is almonds or a Lara bar; however, other portable options include greek yogurt and fruit, TLC crackers with hummus, shelled endamame, carrots and hummus.
If you have to go out to eat for a work related function or the occasional switch-up, be sure to make the healthiest choices. As a former server, I never found it offensive when people were precise about what they wanted in their meals. Feel comfortable asking for a light amount or no cheese. Ask for dressings on the side, and order meals grilled or steamed. Most food is flavorful enough without all of the extra dressings and sauces added to them.
Keep in mind that with healthier food choices, and more exercise (without overdoing it!) your body has more energy. Therefore, all that time you thought you didn’t have because you were zapped of energy is readily available because your body is happy and healthy! Use this week to make one change to your routine so you can add exercise or healthy meals to your schedule.