Article by LaTricia Morris, Author and Illustrator of The Good, The Bad & The Broccoli and It Came from the Cupboard, Founder of See Kids Thrive and Eden Life Ministries, Certified Integrative Wellness Counselor and Personal Trainer.
Overwhelmed? Overloaded? Running nothing but a gauntlet?
You’re not alone!
This seems to be the anthem of the average American adult. Between work, family, volunteer work, and all the other tidbits that pile on our calendars, having a shower and a cup of coffee in the same morning can ring with great triumph. With so many things demanding of our time, how on earth could we possibly add fitness and food prep on top of it all?
The reality is, with all that’s weighing on you, and for all those counting on you, you can’t afford to not make nutrition and fitness a greater priority in your life!
Deep down, I think you know that and I’m quite certain that’s why the header on this article peaked your interest – because you know it’s critical and you’re daring enough to believe it also possible.
So, how do other time-strapped goal-diggers pull it off? Glad you asked…
- They value opportunities presented throughout the day.
Research supports our need to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. However, that doesn’t have to be all at one time and you should not underestimate the value of added movement throughout the day. Skipping the elevator to take the stairs, parking at the back of the lot, or keeping a set of weights in the garage to remind you to crank out a set getting into or out of your car are all ways you can stack fitness efforts throughout the day.
- They know when to double-time it.
Any goal-crusher LOVES a good opportunity to crush two birds with one stone (metaphorically speaking, of course. No bird-pelting going on here. …sweet little birdies…).
Yes, I totally planked my way through my kitchen as I hand wiped my floors instead of mopping just hours ago. Which brings me to this point: in fitness, remember, you don’t have to gym up for every fitness activity. Look for fun ways to incorporate added movement into even simple tasks. Waiting for the coffee to brew? Knock out a set of squats. Got some reading to do? Get to walking while you read. (Environment permitting, of course. Please, don’t let it be my fault you were walking and reading only to step on a lego or walk off a cliff.) Speed walk your errands or hot step it up the stairs, ditch the shopping cart in favor of carrying the basket, or make cleaning your house fun and challenging by layering in fitness moves – lunges in reaches, squats when cleaning the low stuff, and plank holds when working floor level. Get creative and have fun with it!
When it comes to food, thinking just a little bit ahead can make a HUGE difference in a week’s worth of eats. Even if you don’t do a full afternoon of meal prep, look for ways to double time it in your kitchen. Example: When making slower-to-cook grains like brown rice, I like to make 2-3 times what I’ll need so I can stash the rest in the fridge or freezer for quick meals through the week, like a healthful veggie fried rice, beans’n’rice with sautéed onion, or a quick and easy mixed veggie pilaf.
- They know a worthy time-saver when they see one.
“Fast foods” are a no-go for this group but every once in a while, it’s worth it to have someone help with all that peeling and chopping. With the rapidly growing demand for fresh foods in the marketplace, more businesses are looking for ways to help patrons bridge the gaps between time, money and a need for incredibly scrumptious (but healthier) foods. Stores like Whole Foods stock plenty of fresh pressed, raw juices and pre-cut produce to allow you to shave that added time off your meal prep. While I am ABSOLUTELY all for watching the budget and knowing that “freshest is bestest,” I also see the need to regularly make some real assessments when weighing value. If it’s affordable to do so, and it enables you to make healthy eating a reality in your household, it’s certainly better money spent than an money saved on cheaper but less healthful defaults.
- They get in and get it done.
We were all excited to find out that we could actually reap incredible benefits of exercise in just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of exercise. We were even more stoked to learn that even in those crazy, totally time-crunched weeks, we could reap many of those fitness benefits by cranking up our efforts and going full throttle for 75 minutes per week (25 minute sessions, 3 days a week at high intensity).
Even when the to-do list seems to be getting out of hand, that quick break to get that heart rate up and get that body moving may give you just the boost you need to power through everything else on your list.
- They don’t leave it to chance.
Health isn’t happenstance. It’s not the sort of thing we just kindly “get around to” when everything else in our lives makes room for it. Oh, if you could but get your hands on the calendar of a true goal-digger! This crew doesn’t wait for it to become convenient. Because they recognize the significance of it getting done, they plan to do it. Schedule – Execute – Repeat. Food and fitness efforts go on the calendar as non-negotiable as anything else. This isn’t to add another rigid layer to life. They recognize that having a dedicated time to focus on these areas frees them to be more productive in every other area as they can better focus in the now and enjoy the time being invested today to make every day to follow incredibly better.
Truth is, for the grand majority of Americans struggling in their health today, it’s simply a matter of priority (that goes for our time, finances and every other resource we have access to). If we have time to regularly watch a TV show but “no time” to get in that half hour of exercise… you fill in that gap. Wishing and hoping don’t get results. Successful goal-getters recognize the GREAT value in carving out time in their calendars to invest in health and wellness efforts, not because it’s convenient but because it’s important.
- They Close the Gap
As much as we all try so hard to get it right, the reality is, we just don’t nail it all the time. There are days when they meant to have 13 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables and instead, they had a 12 inch sub, a bag of chips and a cookie instead (not that you would fall for such things). It’s helpful to know we have ways to bridge those nutritional gaps. Look for ways to add in extra fruits and vegetables throughout the day! Grab a green vegetable, stash a Complete shake to have on hand and look for ways to upgrade your plate. In a “bigger is always better” culture, it’s refreshing to know that all those small daily investments stack up and payback in dividends over time.
They see the line between an investment and an expense.
In line with points 3 & 6, people really on a mission in their health tend to be better with making strong distinctions between an expense and an investment. Here’s the reality: Fast food and processed foods are an expense that will keep costing you well beyond the meal. Healthful foods and quality supplements that help to meet your family’s nutritional needs is an incredible investment that pays off for a lifetime. The investments you make now in your family’s fitness and nutrition efforts will continue to pay back in spades in terms of finances (you may spend more now but you save so much on medical bills not accrued in the future) and quality of life. Whether it’s buying more organic, taking the leap and getting JuicePlus+ for your family, or going for that gym membership, these are all very worthy investments you’ll never regret making!
In other words, investing more heavily into healthier foods and things that will support your efforts to eat better and move more ARE NOT A THREAT to your financial future, they are a fortress for it, protecting your finances in the future and your capacity to flourish in every other area of life. Whether it’s buying more organic or going for that gym membership, these are all very worthy investments you’ll never regret making!
So, what’s standing in your way? The success of your health and wellness goals is in your hands. All that’s left is to decide – to crush or not to crush?