A few days ago, Luke shared an instagram post from @wholefoodfor7 with me that really resonated, especially because it caught me in the middle of a macro slump. I was over counting and had taken a few days off and really the timing of it was almost poetic. I'm guessing that it's something that will resonate with many of you as well, especially if you're feeling frustrated or burned out with the macro challenge (because halfway points are a b*tch, let's be real)...
The text of the post was this:
"I don’t have time to exercise, cook healthy meals, or get lots of sleep. I have a full time job, FIVE children, I’m president of the band booster club, volunteer at my church, and spend at least 7+ hours of my week creating content for this space.
Inspired by the work of the amazing @danikabrysha , I *found* time to fill myself up. I carved it out of my life and took it back. I wake up at 5am to exercise, journal, pray, and read my scriptures. I hate waking up that early, but I have come to love and need that time for me.
Being “filled” from intentionally nourishing myself helped heal my relationship with food, as I didn’t need sugar crutches to emotionally get through the day. I also used to be a screamer. I’m not proud of it, but I used to yell at my kids more than I’d like to admit (usually at the armpit of the day around 5pm😬). That shifted as I have nourished myself more.
Make time for yourself, or you will have nothing left to give.💛"
I was pulled in from that very first sentence - this is, quite literally - my life: "I don’t have time to exercise, cook healthy meals, or get lots of sleep." The truth is, none of us have time for these things all of the time. We can all fill in the next sentence with our jobs, kids, significant others, side hustles, and whatever else fills in the blank.
Sure, there are seasons of life that may be slower than others where it's easier to be intentional about making time to work out, creating healthy meals in the kitchen and really dialing in on a solid sleep schedule. But for most of us, most of the time, the reality is that we are running from one thing to the next, filling other people's cups and hopefully saving a few drops for ourselves. It leaves us exhausted - both mentally and physically - and it becomes far too easy to slip into bad habits.
I'll skip this one workout... I'll grab this one meal through the drive-through... one more episode on Netflix won't hurt...
And all of that is true. If you skip ONE workout, or run through the drive-through ONE time, or stay up late ONE night, what will happen? Nothing. Nothing will happen.
The problem is when that ONE time becomes another, and another, and another, and suddenly it's not one time, it's just your routine.
So what's the solution? Because you aren't always going to get all the sleep you need and you certainly won't always have time to cook beautiful meals that contain all the nutrients you need and you're likely going to miss a workout here and there; that's just the reality of life. But there are things you can do to curtail the downward spiral that can happen, so let's talk about them...
Didn't get enough of it? Dial it back. You don't have to go hard in every single workout. Sometimes that may mean just listening to your body and going lighter in a workout, sometimes that may mean skipping the gym in favor of something easier like a walk or yoga, sometimes that may mean giving your body a full day of REST.
And that's all good. Just make it a priority to get to bed on time and get a good night's sleep most of the time. For me, I go to bed at 9pm most nights of the week so that I can be ready to go for a 5am workout or run. And the only time I run into problems are when I stay up late one night and then try to go full steam ahead in all areas of my life the next day. That is almost always a recipe for failure in some area of life, and it's usually my food choices and quantities (though maybe it's something else entirely for you!).
Can't make it to the gym? Take a walk. Invest in free weights and modify the gym workout to something you can do at home (I do this frequently!), Jump rope - I made my husband do 10 minutes of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off last week and he almost died. It's fine. ;-) And don't underestimate the efficacy of body weight workouts (ex: 15 min AMRAP of 20 air squats, 15 push ups, 10 sit-ups).
The biggest mistake we tend to make is thinking that if we can't make it to the gym for an hour, then our workout is shot, when in reality carving out just 10 minutes of time every day can add up and will add up to so much more than if you simply did nothing at all.
Liz mentioned this on Facebook the other day, and I couldn't agree more: "When you don’t have time to cook it’s doesn’t always have to be a drive thru that saves the day. Trader Joe’s has several options of cooked chicken. Between that and bagged greens, veggies and fruit you have a macro friendly meal with not much more effort than a drive thru. If you're finding yourself in a pinch often because of a busy schedule, it’s probably not a bad idea to just stock up."
Every grocery store has these options. I frequently buy pre-cooked, pre-shredded chicken for an easy protein source for lunch or as a snack. Can I cook and shred my own chicken? Absolutely. But the reality is that sometimes I need the convenience because I don't have the time (see beginning of post again for reference :)).
Keep it simple. Load up on pre-chopped veggies. Plan to meal prep on a day of the week where you know you'll have time. Buy rotisserie chicken or hard-boiled eggs or deli meat. Don't discount it simply because you didn't make it yourself.
We tend to think of fast food as the most convenient option, but it's just as convenient to grab healthy options from the grocery store that are ready to eat, hit your protein/fat/carb requirements, and keep you on track, satiated, and happy.
It's so, so easy to make excuses. But it's also easy to make solid strides.
The choice is yours.