Monday, September 16, 2013

When Life Gets in the Way

Sometimes even the best laid out plans get derailed.

Sometimes, it's called life.
Sometimes, it's your choice.

When a family member becomes ill that you have to drop everything and take care of that person.  You may not eat right, because you are traveling, or you are eating at someone else's home, or because you are stressed.  You don't have time to exercise.

When you're called to work more than your regular 40 hours a week, skipping meals, eating on the go and making poorer choices, some out of necessity, some out of stress.  You don't have time to exercise.

When you're traveling in support of your kids, going to football games and volleyball matches.  You rush out of the house, are strapped for time, have to work the concession stand, eat country fair type food, and celebrate afterwards at a local establishment.  You may skip a meal, or eat more just because of the environment in which you find yourself.  You can't find time to exercise.

When it's a celebration, like birthday or Mother's Day, and the family is getting together to celebrate, with food and presents!  You may not eat right, because food at these occasions takes on an elevated presence at the event. There are special snacks, a meal, drinks (often alcoholic) and plenty of desserts.  You simply MUST enjoy yourself.  

When it's a holiday celebration, like Christmas or Thanksgiving, where the main event is the dinner together, laden with meats, potatoes, stuffings, gravies, dinner rolls, pies, cookies and so forth.  Eat and be merry!  Undo your belt a couple notches, unbutton and even unzip your pants a bit and breathe.  You feel so full, you either take a nap, or have to sit down, and you say, "Boy, that was good." And, you're too busy to exercise.

When you have company coming to visit and you celebrate with rich indulgent foods!  Not sure why you want to serve them anything you wouldn't normally eat yourself, right?  I mean, why wouldn't you take care of your guests the way you take care of yourself?  Why wouldn't you get your exercise in,  just because company is visiting?  Don't you think they need exercise too and feel poorly when they travel and don't get exercise?

There are many reasons to not eat well and not exercise.  It's called LIFE!  

But, if these life events are getting in the way of you making better choices, on a regular basis, then, we have a problem.

If you're working long hours during the week, hoping to eat better and exercise on the weekends, only to be swept away to a local football game, where you have a hotdog on top of your regular meal and ice-cream afterwards, then, drive off to Mom's house to celebrate your brother's birthday on Saturday and over-indulge again, then, host a football Sunday party, until you're back to Monday, working longer than normal hours and the cycle repeats itself.  Then, we're not okay.

If this sounds like YOUR life, then, you need to break the cycle.  If you're trying to lose weight, these life events could be the death of you.  You have several choices and they are:

  1. You can do nothing.  You can continue to make poor choices consistently, gain weight (or not lose weight), and suffer poor metabolic health.
  2. You can take yourself out of the environment and stop going to these events. Stay home and not participate at all.  But, that's not really feasible, is it?  And, you don't really want to be anti-social, do you?
  3. You can take control of your choices.  
    • Work long hours, but anticipate and plan for breaks and meals by packing smart snacks, having a supply of healthy choices on hand, and/or packing a meal from home. Steal 10 minutes for an easy walk.
    • Attend to your ill loved one, but go to the local grocery store and purchase foods to take with you during your travel, at the hospital, and while away.  Find 10 minutes to relax, meditate, do yoga, or walk to clear your mind.
    • Go to the local sports events, but eat a healthy meal ahead of time, and just say no to "unplanned eating".  You don't need the extra calories.  During halftime, walk around the stadium briskly.
    • Celebrate life events with your family, but talk to everyone about bringing healthy foods and setting good examples for the entire family.  Just because you're getting together, doesn't mean you have to cast healthy choices out the window.  Have a bite or two of cake, or share a slice with someone.  Get everybody together for a 5K walk/run, or outside for a softball game and a picnic.  Get some activity in for everyone.
    • During holiday celebrations, urge healthier menus, and limit yourself to a "regular size meal" not a "holiday size meal".  Don't eat foods during holiday celebrations that you wouldn't during your normal eating routine.   Eat early enough (and don't eat as much) that you can all go for a walk after dinner.
    • When company comes to visit, celebrate with healthy recipes and presentation, not by serving unhealthy foods, and invite them to the gym with you, or go for a walk in a nearby forest preserve, showing them some of the natural beauty surrounding you.
Let's find some healthy alternatives to what could be a lifetime of excuses.  I get it.  You're a busy person.  But, if your doctor has told you that you are unhealthy, or you are not feeling well, then, you must change something.  As Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."  

You do have a choice.  What choices will you make this week?  Do you see any opportunity for change?

Live on 365fitt,

Kathy is available for personal consultations and lifestyle coaching through her company 365fitt, which focuses on better living through lifestyle changes, physically, nutritionally, and emotionally.  Contact Kathy at for information.

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