Routines are Good Ruts I got a great question yesterday about how I fit everything into my day along with writing, working, family and so on. The honest answer is that I’m still working on it, but I’ve made a ton of progress since last July. I posted before that successful days start for me on the weekend and begin in the mornings. But what happens next?
Professional Seat Holder My job involves sitting on my butt for most of the day. I’m a systems analyst and I work with a lot of remote teams in other states. For most of the day, I’m on the phone, at my desk, talking, typing and thinking. Not a lot of calories being burned there and a ton of opportunities to snack back to morbid obesity. I’m there for 8-10 hours a day, five days a week and on release weekends, another 3-8 hours. That’s 58 hours I can use for good or for evil.
Something Evil I used to have this routine to get started writing where I would go to the vending machine and get a package of Reese’s peanut butter cups, a bag of Frito’s corn chips and a can of Coke. I’d go back to my desk and crank up my headphones with some rock music, then start nibbling and writing. Since a lot of my work is about writing, this sometimes happened EVERY DAY for YEARS. (And I used to wonder why I was MO.)
Replacing and Retraining that routine took a lot of effort. I couldn’t stop writing, so instead I first replaced the coke with a protein drink, and the chips with peanuts (and later almonds) and a protein bar instead of the reese’s. I kept the music and the motion of eating, drinking and writing. First I weened myself off the protein bar. Now I have a new routine: I sneak in a 15 minute walk around the gardens at work and then get a cup of tea or coffee or mix up a protein drink, put on my headphones and start writing. It gets me out of my head and onto the page and keeps me from doing any damage to my daily plan. The almonds are part of my daily points and I’ve even shifted from roasted/salted to natural. (Lots less easy to overeat on those, by the way.)
New Morning Routine When I started the blog writing, I decided that I would try and write while I drink my morning water and that has worked pretty well, though some mornings time is critical so I end up eating my protein power oatmeal at the computer, too. Eating mindlessly like that is dangerous, but I minimize by measuring it out and having the same thing every day, so I limit the damage. (Rationalization, anyone?)
The Rest of the Story So what does my day look like and how do I fit it all in? I had a hard time with getting in all my vitamins during the day, so I set up morning and afternoon reminders in my Outlook calendar. I pack them up as I described in this post on vitamins then keep them at my desk all week and in my pocket on the weekends. I have a huge insulated mug at work that holds 32 ounces, so as soon as I get to work, I fill that up with ice and water while I get my one 8 oz cup of coffee for the day. I keep a supply of almonds, protein powders, a shaker ball cup (I can’t find a link to the great small one sI got from Bariatriceating.com but found a larger one on Amazon.) I have both, but like the small ones because of the size of my little pouchie. I sip while I check email and get my day planned.
Lunch and the Afternoon Danger Zone I find that I’m pretty on target all the way through lunch. I almost always bring the leftovers from the night before. Occasionally I have to fall back onto a frozen stew or soup from my emergency stash in the freezer. After lunch I try to journal my food and exercise. So far, so good. But now its 3pm. I’m not really body hungry, but the head hunger hits. Is it from tiredness (I got up at 5 to write and work out and I’ve now worked most of the day) or maybe a little boredom? Absolutely not! Software design and support IS fascinating, I swear! One trick I learned on the BE board was to have my afternoon vitamins at that point and to refill my water bottle. Then if at all possible, I take a 15 minute walk around the gardens. Sometimes I do this while I’m listening in on a conference call that doesn’t require my active participation in front of the computer. I put a headset on my mobile phone, dial into the bridge, grab a pen and paper and whatever doc we are reviewing and head out. If I need to, I can get back to my desk in a couple of minutes, but so far, this has worked well. One day, when we were reviewing a lot of docs, I walked for three hours! Got in a great, leisurely walk and my brain stayed focused the whole time.
Final Chapter At the end of the day, usually around 6:30 pm, I get to come home to my wonderful husband and son. I spend the short drive (one of the perks of living close even if my house is small and old) from work to home singing to 80’s music or my feeling alive music to change from work head to home head. My son rushes to give me a hug and a kiss and I get a great hug and kiss from my husband. Dinner is either on the table (I’m often late – and I’m so sorry! – I promise to work on that!) or just about ready. The house smells WONDERFUL and I am the luckiest person in the world. But after dinner is when danger can set in. I need to get my nighttime vitamins and finish my journal for the day. I go to bed pretty early usually, but lately I’ve had more energy and I’ve been staying up longer. That means I can get hungry again before I go to bed. Also, if I’ve succumbed to the TV and crashed on the sofa, then I can start to get the nibblies.
Bedtime Snack I went through this phase where I made myself a greek yogurt sundae every night. I stopped losing weight though, so I cut it back to just the yogurt and some fruit or a bit of protein powder and skipped the chocolate, raspberry jam and whipped cream that I somehow convinced myself was okay since it only added another 5 points. Sometimes I amaze myself with the flexible dishonesty of my own mind. Then I read to my son and then, finally, I climb into bed with my own bedtime book and read until I fall asleep. Since that is usually about 9:30pm, I’m out in just a few minutes.
Quick Recap So, it’s the end of the weekday and what have I accomplished? I did Move (morning exercise), I definitely got to Eat, I did Live in a low key way – every day can’t be a trip to London but writing, time with my family, work, walks in the garden, maybe some tv, a few minutes with my book ain’t bad; and I had to Think:(journal and look at what I did and plan for the next day. The area I still need to work on most days is just to Think more. I love to write, but I am not always getting in the journaling I should. I’m thinking about an accountability page here where I post what I eat and how I move each day, what do you think?
Check out my Melting Point Plan to see the checklist I use to make sure I’m on plan. Have a great day and thanks for the question!