As many of you may know, I recently (over a month ago now, so maybe not so recently) got a full-time job. I work Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. And on top of these long days, my commute usually takes a little over an hour. When I get home, there are things I need to do around the apartment like figure out dinner, do laundry, etc.
SO, that leaves me with about four-ish hours of free time.
After working for eight hours and dealing with an hour (or more) of city traffic, it has been easy for me to get home, make something quick and junky for dinner, and then spend the rest of the evening bingeing on Netflix (right now it’s the third season of Narcos).
As someone who has been active their whole life, adjusting to the sedentary office lifestyle has been extremely difficult for me. And doubly, pushing myself to exercise even once a week has been a challenge. This post isn’t so much meant to be advice, but more my personal experience and things I want to do to improve my own health.
First, let’s talk about the exercise I HAVE been getting into my busy schedule, and things I’ve been doing with my diet to offset my new inactivity. Most mornings, I do about 10 minutes of stretching as soon as I wake up, which I’ve found helps me wake up, and makes me feel a bit better on days when I won’t be exercising. In addition, Sam and I have been going for a run once a week. We usually run about two miles. I know, it’s nothing drastic, but I’m happy that we have even two miles in our routine. I also generally do a full yoga practice two or three times a week. And by full, I mean anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Whether this is practicing on my mat in my living room while Sam watches TV or going to my local studio (shoutout to YogaWorks Midtown), I really try to still get at least two practices in per week. The last routine thing I’m doing currently is an ab workout twice a week. Again, nothing drastic– but I usually do about 10-20 minutes of ab exercises, usually while watching Netflix. Finally, on the weekend Sam and I like to go do something active that is kind of a bonus exercise. So this past weekend we went kayaking, the week before that we went for a hike– Just a few hours on the weekend where we make sure we get moving a little.
As far as the diet piece, I have been struggling a bit. When you’re sat at a desk all day looking at spreadsheet after spreadsheet, it’s easy to mistake boredom and routine for hunger. Because of this, I have had some issues with snacking (we have a little cafe at work that conveniently has all my favorite unhealthy snacks). However, I am figuring out ways to keep myself full throughout the day while still allowing myself to snack when I really need to.
Without further ado, here’s a list of things that have been helping me with my diet and exercise:
Planning To Exercise
When I say planning to exercise, I mean that I make a goal to exercise x times in a week, or run y miles or practice yoga z times. I am finding that this method works better for me than say, planning x exercise on days y and z. For me, this allows me some flexibility to feel lazy. For example, if I say I want to do yoga twice this week, I can skip it on Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday if I’m feeling particularly lazy. Then that means I have to exercise on either Thursday or Friday (I usually try to let myself do more spontaneous exercise on the weekends like I mentioned earlier). This either motivates me to get a workout in so I don’t have to exercise two days in a row, or it makes me comforting knowing I have two other days to exercise.
Another thing that is a constant for me is that Sam and I have been going for our run on Fridays. This works really well because although I have flexibility with things like my yoga practice and ab workouts, I do have one workout set in stone every week. I also like that it’s on Friday, because once we get our run in, the weekend can truly begin!
Controlling My Snacking
For me, diet can be an issue. I say this because anyone who knows me knows– I LOVE junk food. Whether it’s Taco Bell, pizza, fried chicken, or a classic bagful of Doritos, I have a lot of trouble saying no. I’m still finding ways to limit my snacking and snacking better, but here are some things that I do.
Something that has helped me snack better is keeping snacks at my desk. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out!! By curating a selection of snacks that are healthy(ish) but still tasty, it encourages me to snack on healthy snacks rather than running to the office cafe to grab something not-so-healthy (Cheezits, I’m looking at you). Here’s a few I’ve been loving:
- Nourish Vanilla Coconut Granola Balls
- Archer Farms Handful of Everything Trail Mix
- Archer Farms Sweet Cajun Trail Mix
- Lightly Salted Almonds
Another thing that has helped me a lot is the app Lifesum. I know, ANOTHER fitness and calorie tracking app. This one is actually good though!! Unlike MyFitnessPal and other apps I’ve used, it is aesthetically pleasing and very visual. As a visual learner, I need to see how something works in order to understand it, and this app works. It helps me focus on my nutrition and portion sizes over the amount of calories I eat. And it’s so cute! I do have the Pro version of the app, but in my opinion it is so worth it because I get to see the amount of nutrients I’m getting, rather than just counting calories (which for me can sometimes result in obsessive counting).
Those are the things that have been consistently helping me try to stay healthy and active, but another important piece is being kind to myself. There are days where I just want to eat Doritos and cookies and sit on my couch, and that’s okay! Part of being healthy (for me) is allowing myself to indulge and have those days, and accept them. I know this post may have been a gigantic rant, but for those are you who are also transitioning into adulthood, I’m sure you understand and I would love to hear what works for you as far as staying healthy and active!