A Day in My Life
One of my favorite things on social media is seeing a "day in the life" of my go-to body positivity, health, and fitness influencers. I love seeing their daily meals, routines, etc., because they always give me new ideas of my own! However, I haven't always loved these posts. I used to view them as competitive, mentally cataloguing who ate the best and who worked out the most and feeling guilty about myself if I was doing less than they were. While my bitterness was understandable at the time-- I was at the climax of my rocky relationship with food and exercise--my reaction definitely was neither easy, nor right. And if you are in a similar stage, maybe skip this post! Please do whatever is best for you.
Introduction aside, in this post, I want to talk to you about how I have been balancing 9 to 5 workdays this summer with food, fitness, and a healthy mindset… because while the balance has been extremely challenging, it has also been very empowering.
I despise sitting down all day. I love to be out and about, always moving, whether I am walking, hiking, swimming... but obviously my ideal lifestyle is not always feasible with work hours. When I am sitting down all day, especially if I am bored, I find it hard to focus on anything other than food and the fact that I am not active. And now that I am researching food all day at work, I find myself craving foods of all kinds, even dishes I normally dislike.
So, in addition to spending my summer figuring out what I want in my future post-graduate career, I also have been figuring out what I personally need to do to stay sane.
Every morning, I wake up at 6 to workout for an hour and fifteen minutes. This includes warm up and stretching. I know this seems like a lot, especially if you have to go to work before 9, but for me, I have realized this is what I as an individual need. I do anything from HIIT on a treadmill, LISS outdoors, swimming, strength training, and body weight exercises. My latest obsession is Barry’s Bootcamp, so I have been trying to do a class a week to get my fix (without going broke). I have also started constantly switching up my routine, enjoying the feeling of surprising my body.
Throughout the day, I try to go on three ten minute walks, one every two hours, just to keep my blood moving. I don't have a lunch break, but if I did, I would definitely be using this to go on a longer walk and stretch. One of my goals this summer has been to go on a post-dinner walk, three to four days a week, for a minimum of thirty minutes. This is one of my favorite parts of the day because it is usually when I meet up with friends, talk on the phone with someone, or even just listen to nature! I love this decompression and it is a great way to be outdoors and escape from the busy workday before falling asleep. I go to bed between 9 and 10 every night, because I know my body will wake up no later than 6 am, and I need 8 to 9 hours of sleep to feel my absolute best.
People sometimes think I am crazy for waking up so early to workout. They wonder why I don’t work out after work, or why I don't just do a bit before and a bit after. My answer is always the same: I don’t have the motivation. I find it so much easier to get going right when I wake up, before I can think twice about the hard work exercising takes or before I am sitting down for so long. That being said, if you are more motivated in the evening, then that is just as amazing. I am so proud of you for knowing (and listening to) what your body needs.
After I workout, I usually eat oatmeal, yogurt, or “three-ingredient” pancakes. I usually eat the same thing for about three weeks and then rotate because my body starts craving the other! Every now and then- usually on weekends on a day when I don't work out- I will have a delicious acai bowl for breakfast. I top all of these dishes with almond butter, granola, cinnamon, and berries-- so delicious.
I eat lunch three to four hours later, usually around noon, and that will be anything from leftovers (today I had a homemade version of turkey lasagna that featured zucchini instead of noodles and a lightened cheese filling), to a dish I meal prepped that weekend. For a snack mid afternoon, I will have a homemade green smoothie or an almond flour muffin with a piece of fruit. If I didn't have time to make anything the night before, I will have a bar and fruit, or some crackers, cheese, and cucumbers. Dinner is usually similar to lunch, and then I sometimes have Halo Top Oatmeal ice cream with granola, or my favorite toaster waffles before going to bed. If I am peckish between meals, I will have pretzel crisps, popcorn or a Kind popped bar... something like that!
You may be wondering how I eat “so much” or “so little,” or even why I eat so frequently. Again, it is all about listening to my body. When I first started meeting with a nutritionist, I never felt hungry, so I was eating very, very little. It took me almost six months to feel comfortable eating the amount I eat, even though she had reassured me on many accounts that this was the amount I needed to sustain my active lifestyle. And now I see that she is so right! I am energized throughout the day and no longer wake up in the middle of the night for hours on end because of subconscious hunger.
I am really proud of myself for taking the time to figure out what I need to stay sane during these long days of sitting! I am hoping to figure out a way to move even more during the day, especially once I permanently enter the working world. But if I can't right away, then I am really proud of what I have accomplished thus far :)
Do you have any tips for keeping active throughout the day, particularly when you’re working at a desk or have tons of work to get through? I want to know!