Thursday, February 28, 2013

What To Do With Busy


If happiness could fuel our bodies, I’d be as energetic as my 2-year-old granddaughter, Mae. Audrey’s birth yesterday, while obviously expected, filled me with a familiar yet inexplicable joy.

But happiness is calorie-free, so after taking care of three small children and eating an all-over-the-charts, nutritionally sketchy diet for three days, this nearly 50-year-old body is beat.

Lifting 20- to 50-pound children, climbing stairs, cleaning “accidents” (Mae is being potty trained), washing clothes, washing dishes, washing children…I thought I was in pretty decent shape, but I’ve discovered muscles I never found working out at the gym.

And forget about my resolve to eat healthy. Resolve got tossed out sometime  Monday night, like one of those old t-shirts you find obscurely lying in an alley, dirty and torn from the weather and from being run over by pickups and garbage truck; barely recognizable as a shirt. I had the option of eating a salad for dinner last night, but I opted for Tex-Mex Bean Casserole and Frosted Mini Wheats instead. What the…? My only excuse was that it was easier and I was busy.

I’ve been busy before and I’ve managed to stay mindful of my eating. But the kind of busy I’ve been involved in these last three days is a busy way outside my experience. That said, I’m beginning to understand what so many of you tell me you struggle with: how to find the time to make a plan and time to implement your plan. Believe me, I have a new-found appreciation/empathy/soft spot for your schedules and your struggle to do what you know is best for YOU.

When I started this whole weight-loss thing in 2005, my parenting duties were greatly reduced. Carlene and Cassie were grown and living away from home, and my stepsons visited their usual 6 weeks in summer and during Easter and Christmas breaks. I was self-employed and lived with my (then) husband, who was also interested in losing weight. I had personal time and personal space. Time and space to think about and implement my plan.

As you can imagine, today I’m carb-o-blah. Exhausted. Pretty much useless. Happy? Yes. But I’m definitely in need of a food adjustment. A food adjustment and advice.

I would love to hear from those of you who do double/triple/quadruple duty as parents or caretakers or employees or employers. How do you make yourself a priority? How did you learn to work your food and/or fitness plan into the fabric of your busy schedule?

13 comments:

  1. First, I love the picture! Yay for new baby!

    Second,
    As a working mother, it is really hard to plan out a meal, and stay on track.
    Last night, I had planned it all out... salad dinner... However, I was surprised by my boyfriend cooking when my son and I came home from karate class. Meaning well, he made a dinner that was NOT the healthiest... BY NO STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION WAS IT HEALTHY. There went all my planning. I chose small portion sizes to offset the bad.
    Even if you plan... sometimes it just doesn't work out. I just made sure I did the stairs all over my office today!

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  2. Yes, yay for the new baby - she is gorg! :)

    I used to be pretty active before I had a baby and for the last 2.5 years - my life has been on the back burner... I only recently joined a gym again and started taking spin classes on Sat/Sun mornings... My hubby has always been supportive, but it was the guilt thing holding me back... Now that I've gone and know, for a fact, that my house won't burn down - I'm going to enjoy this new freedom and get back into shape!

    Another thing I did was join MyFitnessPal - so far, so good... :)

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  3. That pic is so sweet!

    Honestly - I don't make myself the priority. I have a 2.5 year old, and a 4 month old, I'm a senior level manager in my company, and my hubby is an executive. With our schedules, it's a good day when half of the chores get done. I certainly try every day to make healthy meals, get in some sort of exercise, etc. But between getting up at 5am every day, out the door by 6:45am, then back home around 5:30-6pm, and the marathon that occurs once we are home, it is a challenge to find a balance. But it's all about living in the moment. The kiddos demand, and frankly, deserve to be the center of our home life when we are all together. So if I need to make mac and cheese - I make sure we have fruits and veggies with it, and hope that a few bites of the good stuff are consumed. If I can't spend an hour cooking from scratch, I do the best I can. Salads are a big part of our dinners. And I do make sure I pack my lunch every night for the next day. There are far too many temptations (aka restaurants, aka calorie feasts) to be had around my office. So while I'm not the priority, I do my best to make good choices, and get to bed at a decent time. But that's all I can hope for. And I wouldn't trade the chaos for anything!

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  4. loved the pic!

    I remember the days when a shower was a big thrill/event.

    And my kids are all 4 years apart so I only ever had one baby at a time.

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  5. Oh, I feel your aches and fatigue. I'm 66 and I had three of my grands (ages 6, 4, and 2 (being potty trained also) last week for three nights and four days. I have done the same for the older six grandchildren, and it gets a bit harder as I get older. I was pretty exhausted, and I don't how well I will do when they have the 4th they're talking about. You will soon find out what taking care of four is like.

    But the good part is this: Your daughter loves you and trusts you implicitly with her children. That says so much about you, Lynn. For her, there is no one who can replace you when it comes to her kids. So take care of yourself, because now your have FOUR to help out with. But we grandmas still need to have some down time and recuperation time. I have friends who go to bed for a day after helping out with the grandchildren. Blessings to all of you...

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  6. Great topic! I'm a single mom, head of house hold, no relatives in town, 2 hour commute, full time mostly desk job, and post menopause.

    My daughter is older now, so that makes things easier.

    I have every excuse in the world to eat junk foods or S foods (from Refuse to Regain). But I don't. I don't ever play the victim card. Because a lot of single moms have it way, way worse than I do.

    Basically I see any thing that would take away from eating healthy, sleeping enough, or getting in some exercise as a barrier.

    Then I build my life around removing or going around every barrier.

    Food: Buy ahead, cook ahead, freeze ahead, microwave often. Bring my own food when and where I need. Being busy with my daughter is never, ever an excuse to eat S foods or fast foods. Those will make me sick. My daughter, too.

    Exercise: If I take my daughter to an appointment- I walk while she's in there. I'll walk at my lunch time at work . I'll walk after dinner, if I need more steps. I'll walk in the air port if I'll walk. If I'm driving I get to the weight room or plan to walk at the destination. I can get to the gym at odd hours.

    Sleep: I set up good sleep routines for myself and my daughter. Only reasons to wake me up are "ABC" Airway, breathing, and circulation, police activity, or an earthquake or fire. We both sleep well because of that.

    I make my weight maintenance a top priority for myself. It ensures I'll be able to be in good shape when my daughter has kids. It also ensures that my daughter models after me. And that I can spend any health care dollars on vacations instead of chronic disease care.

    No amount of busy is an excuse to eat S foods. Barriers = excuses. There are always ways to prioritize eating/exercise/health/and sleep.

    Key is to plan ahead. That is plan A. Okay to go to plan B, and that never includes off plan foods. I can get caught up on exercise and sleep if I've had a bad day or a sick kid. I cannot out sleep or out exercise S foods.

    So glad you got to spend time with your grandkids. They are so cute. Lifting those kids, doing all the house work is a great work out, right there. Remove any poor food choices and you've got it!

    :) Karen P.

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  7. Thanks for the tips and support (and loving up little Audrey...she's a cutie!)

    Jodi, my daughter, the one who just had a baby, teaches spin. In fact, she taught a class a few hours before she went into labor! You can be sure she will be back at it ASAP. If SHE can do it after having a baby, what's my excuse? LOL

    Someone had left a comment on Lynn's Weigh on Facebook about making smoothies ahead of time and putting them in jars to grab on the go. Love that idea! Saves money, too.

    I think Karen's spot on regarding routine and commitment. I slipped out of my routine slowly over the last few years, which is easy to do when I have no one but me to "report" to. As for commitment, I need to recommit to making me a priority. More to blog about, right?

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    Replies
    1. Yes!! :). I don't really like it when a new barrier presents itself. And it always does. But it is a good feeling of mastering the problem , using my creative brain to problem solve. It always leads me to something cool or less stress or something good. It's always worth the effort.

      Here's to breaking down, going around or jumping over any barriers.

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  8. Phew, I know what you mean about working muscles you didn't know you had. My niece threw her back out recently, so I went over for a day to help her with a four year old and one year old twins. Their rooms are upstairs, their changing table is upstairs. They are adorable, but oh my goodness it was busy for me at 47 years old! I don't know how I managed my own kids for all those years, how quickly we forget that busy-ness!...I have sixteen children of my own, the youngest is five. I did not start paying attention to what I ate, or exercising, until two years ago when my blood pressure started going up. All those babies, all that weight...I have lost 70 pounds now but have another fifty or so to go. My point is, I do not know how I could have managed to take better care of myself during those years. Just going to the bathroom by myself was a challenge. Now I have 12 still at home, all in school or college. It is still busy. But I have had to make ME a priority. It is the biggest gift I can give my kids, although it doesn't always feel like it when I need to fit in a work out and they want me to do this or that....I have totally changed my eating habits the last few years, and most of my kids have followed that example! We eat so many fruits and veggies now. Anyway, congratulations on the new baby grand-daughter! I love the name, too! Thank you for sharing.

    Della

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  9. Lynn -that is a GORGEOUS pic! SO . . . we adopted our 3 foster kids (then 10 mos, 22 mos and 34 mos.) I was 50 at the time. No kidding. Yes, it is killing me. No, I am not caring for myself as I should, although I am getting better at it.

    My tip is: Feed the kids what YOU need to eat, just more of it. Little kids are flexible; if they keep seeing brussels sprouts on their plates, they eventually eat it. All 5 of my kids eat a high protein, balanced diet with 6 to 8 servs of F&V every day. THey are used to it. Get creative with exercise and I do "lift" with my kids. It keeps me young!

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  10. What an adorable picture of you. If only Mae were in it, it would be a enlarge, frame and hang on a wall keeper for sure. I get overwhelmed sometimes myself and I am retired with NO kids. Geez, I simply don't see how they do it these days!

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  11. Love love love the pic Lynn!!!! I can hardly wait to be a grammy:))) Not rushing them but I'm ready in many ways.

    The very very hardest years were when both kids, 2 yrs apart, were young....my unhealthiest and most overwieght years. I was busssssssssssy....raising them, working full time, commuting, building a career...all at once. THEY were my focus and I'm not at all sorry, they are fabulous kids. It wasn't until they got older that things shifted for me. NOW, I am the priority....others may not even know it but I am:) If that means getting up an hour earlier (or I will be late wherever I am going, breakfast with friends, appt, drive to maryland to see my son at school,whatever) to workout thats what I do. I carry 'my' snacks/food with me pretty much all the time....it is about planning. The occassional knock off day is well deserved and no one ever gains 5 true pounds overnight!! blessings to all of you...
    Tracey

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  12. First, I love the term g-babies. Someday, when I have some, I hope I remember the cute moniker.

    After being a stay at home mom for 13 years, I recently went back to work full time as a librarian. Luckily, I had built up some momentum. I had made some serious nutritional adjustments and had lost about 45 lbs. before returning to work.

    Now that I'm busier than ever, I have to keep telling myself that "busy" is not a good excuse. As long as I keep healthy food on hand, there's no reason I shouldn't reach for it.

    I'm only shopping once a week now (which was unheard of for me) but I make sure that I stock the house with high protein snacks that will curb my hunger. At work, I snack on almonds and maybe a boiled egg.

    While it's easy to put everyone else first, especially a sweet group of g-babies like yours, remember to take care of yourself. You show yourself kindness when you eat healthy food. I'm trying hard to remember this myself!

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