“…But I Don’t Have Time …”

This is my latest post over at WeAretheRealDeal (that I forgot I’d written earlier this week, til it appeared in my Google Reader this morning!)!!! You can read it here or after the jump.

“…I don’t have time.”

This is the #1 excuse people give for why they aren’t living healthier lives.

(Would you like cheese with that whine?)

As someone who has made nutrition and fitness a priority over the past six years in particular (but admittedly took it to the extremes and ended up struggling with body image issues and disordered eating issues for a few years …) I know that exercise and eating well are critical … but that that balance is really the key to healthy living.

A Libra to the nth degree, I’m constantly striving for balance in my life — and it’s a precarious dance. When I’m eating cleanly and exercising regularly (read as: not over-exercising) I’m a much happier person.

And I’ve learned that going down that obsessive dieting/over-exercising path can be just as dangerous and unhealthy as going down the fast food + sedentary lifestyle that is so prevalent here in the U.S., especially. (A life of restriction is no life at all; a life of binging is just as sad/detrimental).

Ultimately, neither course results in happiness or a sense of balance. It just brings about a whole host of new problems, as anything in extremes does.

Here at We Are the Real Deal, we have readers who are happy just the way they are (regardless of size) readers who need to gain weight, readers who are heavy but aren’t concerned with their health and don’t want to lose weight, readers who are heavy and are concerned about their health and want to lose weight.

Regardless of where you stand on the body image spectrum, don’t you owe it to yourself to make time for your health and well-being? And, don’t we all?

As women, we often feel pulled in a million directions — our families, our kids, our aging parents, our jobs, our kids’ activities, etc. Sometimes it feels like everyone needs us.

So how do we find time to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise — three things proven to help reduce the risk of heart disease and other ailments?

First of all, let’s stop making excuses for ourselves.

Most of us do have time — if we make our health a priority the way we make paying the bills a priority or putting food on the dinner table a priority.

It doesn’t have to cost money to live healthier. But the truth is, sometimes we need to make a sacrifice in one realm of our lives … maybe occasionally skip happy hour in favor of the gym; maybe sometimes plan a date night at home instead of an extravagant restaurant meal … so we have that extra time for healthier habits.

Because really, isn’t it worth it if it means we’ll feel like more balanced women, wives, mothers, friends, employees?

This isn’t about weight loss, but rather trying to feel better in our own skin. Being healthy is about living longer and better lives. As a society, we’ve been making excuses for too long — and I think it’s time we took more personal responsibility when it comes to our health.

So here are some quick tips you’ve surely seen before on how to make time to live a little healthier today:

EATS: Plan your meals as best you can. When you fail to plan, you might as well plan to fail.
-If you’re dining out, check out the restaurant’s menu online ahead of time. Decide what you want before you go out, so you don’t waste time hemming and hawing over a menu and can enjoy the dining experience and the company.

-Prep-cook your meals and snacks over the weekend. Cut up fresh fruit and veggies. Freeze leftovers into individual portions for quick lunches on the go (ditch the sodium-laden frozen entrees). Journal.

EXERCISE: You don’t *need* to spend hours at the gym to get in a good workout.
-If you’re not a gym bunny, wake up 20 minutes earlier than your family so you can do an at-home fitness DVD in peace and quiet.

-Multi-task. Call your best friend on your lunch-time walk. If it’s too cold outside, find a local mall. Or watch TV … but exercise while you do it. MamaV said in the comments recently that this is one of her best tips.

ZZZs: Not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep a day. You know your body best.
-Say “no.” Just because you headed up the PTA last year while working a full-time job and volunteering on the side doesn’t mean you have to do it again this year if it made you unhappy. It’s OK to say “no” sometimes.

-Ditch your to-do lists. The laundry can wait til Thursday if it means you’ll be able to get to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow with enough time to make a healthy breakfast or get in a quick workout.

These are just a few of my ideas — I’m sure you have plenty of your own, and we want to hear them.

Ladies and gentlemen, you only get one body in this lifetime; treat it well. Because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You’re worth it.

Let’s make our collective health a priority. Who’s in?

How about you? Have you fallen victim to the “I don’t have time” excuse? What tips would you like to share about how you’ve found time to live healthier?


2 thoughts on ““…But I Don’t Have Time …”

  1. Agree, agree, agree!!

    I’m not saying I’m the busiest person in the world, but I am a mom, I work full-time and I’m in grad school. I don’t have time for ANYTHING. But I find ways to make health and fitness a priority. I view it like brushing my teeth or showering — it’s something that I have to do! To do that, I have to lower my expectations. I can’t exercise formally every day. On days I don’t have time to go to the gym, I take the stairs in my building. Instead of training for a marathon (like I did before kids) I am training for a 5K. I do the 20-minute On Demand Yoga instead of the 60-minute DVD. Unfortunately, all-or-nothing thinking is what gets a lot of people into trouble because the alternative to all is….nothing!

    I have to say that having a child completely changed my outlook on…well, everything. I am a billion times busier, but more well-rounded too.

  2. Thanks, Alison!! Exactly; for me it is very much something I “have” to do. And it sounds like you’re doing a great job of finding balance as a new mom. I hope to turn to you when it’s me in that position! 🙂

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