Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fitting it in

And no, I don't mean fitting my butt in my favorite jeans, though I DID do that for the first time in a year this morning! (and last year I could only wear them all of about a week and a half.) I only lost a half pound this week—a barely nudged scale, thanks to a few splurges last weekend (oops) but that half pound is apparently the size changer, as I had two pairs of pants I was small enough for for the first time in ages... But THAT is not my topic, since you all know how I feel about pants.

On my personal profile I have a Facebook group for 'friends and friends of friends' to support each other with weight loss or fitness efforts. (anyone who wants to join and is friends of my Hart profile, give a shout and I'm happy to invite you—we're all friends here) and somebody asked the question, How do you fit it in? In her case, it was an energy matter, so I am going to address both the time and energy constraints of GETTING and STAYING FIT.

But I'm So Tired!

There are some of us who have daytime obligations that sap energy, and there are others who have TOO MANY obligations and so don't get enough sleep (or we don't sleep well even if we try) and that adds an obstacle to exercise that is real and needs to be addressed.

Once upon a time I had a waitressing job. When I started it my feet always hurt and I was exhausted when I got off work—I WAS NOT in a frame of mind to exercise. I think at home parents of small kids can find a similar exhaustion keeping up with munchkins. People who work retail, moving stock, forcing politeness on the idiocy of the masses... Some days I use my BRAIN so heavily that I am physically drained. Sound impossible? Not so—our brain uses a ton of calories, so it makes some sense.

It doesn't MATTER why, we just have to acknowledge that being physically tired makes it HARD to make ourselves add in that exercise. It can also make it hard to eat right, as we can get too busy to eat until we are already feeling 'starved' so there is no time to make something healthy.  Once acknowledged, OWN IT. It is a fact, and you just have to work with it.

I Have No TIME!

I have a full time job, a husband, two kids and am trying to write books in the evenings, so this is EXTREMELY familiar to me. In my dream world I would have a two hour block to exercise every day, because I honestly LOVE it, but I would have to give up something even more important to do it, so I need to fit it where I can. That leaves me with walking to and from work, and giving up a little sleep on Tuesday and Thursday mornings (plus weekends) to do something more intense.

The solutions has to take both things into consideration—and that MIGHT be part of the problem. When I was in college and exercised as soon as my classes were over, exercise was EASY—it was physiologically a time of day that my body was set to do that. We ALL have times it is ideal. The only way to PEG those times is to try it at several different times, and if you have a busy schedule, you may only have so many options to choose from. In my current life, I can only do it early or late, and though early is the time I LEAST like it, it is the time that works best with my other obligations, so there you have it.

Once you've MADE a little time, THEN you need to make a habit.  I don't remember the source, but I heard at one point that 21 days makes a habit... if you can force it that long, it won't seem so hard anymore, but all those tricks... park a little farther, take the stairs... ANY of them that adds to you plain old, don't notice when you do them, habits helps because the stuff that doesn't seem optional will remain, even if you don't feel up to whatever else you do.  Anything you can get yourself to do, any time you can fit it in... Make it a habit, then build.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.


Jan Morrison said...

yep, the constant struggle to actually do what you're choosing to do. Got it - struggle with it - keep on keeping on. That's all. I'm going upstairs to sit for half an hour. And nothing has moved the mountain of paper work in my office. I mean nothing.

Helena Soister said...

I know just what you mean about being too tired, and I don't even have kids.
But how great it is that you (GASP!) love to exercise. Would it help to take a class? Sometimes I'm too tired for fencing (two nights a week), but I'm paying for the sport and I'm too cheap to waste the money so I go. Then when someone comes at me with a sharp object, I perk right up.
Or don't exercise -- just play. Hell, you need play time, same as your kids. All us grown-ups need it. I think I'll go outside and play right now. Screw the housework.

Anonymous said...

The cool thing about the human body is that it actually likes to move. Our minds not so much, but our bodies.. YES! With that in mind, the body will take what it can get. Instead of trying to schedule a two hour block of time (or even one hour), schedule intermittent smaller workout times. For example, if your goal is to workout one hour each day but it seems too overwhelming, then do 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening (or 4 15 min. segments). If the segments are within a 12 hour period, the body will respond as if it was a one hour workout.

Watery Tart said...

Jan--EXACTLY... just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Helena-I think for TONS of people paying or signing up for credit is a great way to ensure sticking to it long enough to build the habit! When I was in college and grad school I always signed up for an exercise class because of the fear of losing credit!

Great advice Marie! Folks, Marie knows what she's talking about. She is (finishing? done? nearly done?)--grad school in this stuff! So we have it from the expert-- 4X15 equals an hour!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think that I file in my head in my "chore" folder. Maybe I should shoot for doing something more fun and I'd actually follow through with it more often?

I've heard the same about habits...makes me think that I could do anything for 3 weeks!


Watery Tart said...

Elizabeth-Definitely helps to choose something you LOVE (aerobics was the first form of exercise I did for the sake of exercising, and I'm SURE that has to do with why I like it).

And yes,... ANYTHING possible for three weeks if that's all you think about.

Mystery Maiden said...

You're so right about each person having different peak times. I am NOT a morning person in any sense, so working out at 5pm just makes sense for me. For a long time I tried to get up at 5am to workout and when I couldn't I felt like a failure. The minute I stopped beating up on myself and set my workouts around a time that worked better for my personality, I started finding success, which spurred me to do more.

I also work for myself and am a bit of a work-aholic, so setting that 5pm workout time means that I am ending my work day (until the baby goes to bed) and getting into my evening. My 1-year-old sits in his high chair as I do my work out, watches BabyTV and eats animal crackers, so it has become part of his routine as well - he knows when Mommy works out it's time to start settling down for the night.

Often the busier the person, the more likely they will be to make their workouts a priority, because we know that without that workout we're far less productive (and not to mention a bit scary when irritable from not getting that workout!).

Watery Tart said...

ystery Maiden-great to meet you! Welcome! And I love how you've built the exercise in when it works for you. My kids wouldn't have put up with it, I don't think, so fortunately my hubby knew how much that time meant to me and let me go do what I needed.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

The trick probably is to find something you love doing, and make that your work-out. You may burn less calories doing that, but you like doing it, so are willing to push yourself that extra bit to make it happen.

Watery Tart said...

Totally true, Natasha! If you love it you will, if you hate it, eventually you WON'T--though if you are determined, there are a lot of things you can learn to love! (and I think time of day helps there)

Sugar said...

I think it is hard to go out of your way to make something that makes you sweaty and red a part of your day. lol..AND I don't mean sex. teehee.. I am lucky to have a gym at work, so we go on our lunch break..It isn't the best workout, but it's better than nothing for sure.
How do people find time for things? Can I buy some?? Work, kids, hubby, hobbies, reading, writing..oh and sleep somewhere..idk..maybe I can steal some from my kids lol..

Watery Tart said...

I had a building with a gym in Portland and LOVED it! As it is, walking out my door is the primary place I get mine, and if the weather is lousy, I have an eliptical machine in my basement (which I like okay, but it's boring compared to the walk--on the weekends I sometimes turn on a movie with it--that's pretty good.)--but I totally hear you--lunch hour was FABULOUS. I wish I had a place to shower here, because as a time of day, that's my favorite.