Monday, September 21, 2009

Pushing Yourself, But Not Too Much

The other day I watched the toddler just hanging out in the morning. It was an unusual sight as he is usually on the go the minute he gets up and doesn't "rest" until he takes a nap. But the other day, I guess he needed a slower day...

Seeing the toddler "taking it easy" (at least for a little bit) made me think about my own life and everything that's going on right now. The last weeks have been draining physically and emotionally. Plus, work is busy again. So making time to exercise is much more of an effort; there just isn't as much time as there was in the summer, and since I feel emotionally exhausted, I often have very little energy...

In the past, when life got tough, I usually stopped exercising regularly, and I also didn't eat as well as I should have. I somehow thought that life challenges gave me permission not to take care of myself and the results weren't pretty (physically, mentally, and health-wise)... So this time when things got tough, I was determined to do things differently. I realized that I have to work out regularly because exercise actually gives me energy. I also realized that planning meals makes life easier and that eating nutritious food is the best thing I can do for my body.

For the past four weeks, I have worked out almost every day, and I have also continued to plan meals and make and eat healthy foods. And I'm proud of this!

But I have also realized that difficult times do mean that you have to slow down a bit. Missing a workout is not the end of the world, and sometimes a nap is more important than a run. Also, while making food from scratch and striving to buy the freshest and healthiest produce is a goal of mine, when things are hectic, it's okay to pick up some produce that's convenient even though it may not exactly meet all my "high standards"... Also, some processed food once in a while may not be ideal, but it's okay... Oh, and I remembered how delicious Amy's Vegetarian Lasagna is... :o)

So I guess what I've learned in the last few weeks is that making healthy choices when life gets tough isn't easy, but it can be done. (I have also realized that life is hardly ever truly easy....). And I have learned that it's okay to cut yourself some slack (but not too much)...

Question: How do you make sure you continue to make healthy choices when life gets tough?

Be well,


  1. Thanks for the honesty in your post - I think it's such a common dilemma! When life gets tough my husband and I are each other's biggest motivators. It's easiest for me then to want to sleep-in a little more or for him to pick-up a frozen pizza on the way home...but we both know the other person well enough to wake them up to go for a run or to say "I'll take care of dinner tonight" to make sure we're each taking care of each other when we forget how to best take care of ourselves :)

  2. I think that is one of the hardest things - to stay active and planning/making healthy meals when you're so busy and stressed with other things. It's so easy to just order something in instead, but I always feel better when I keep eating healthy and balanced foods and getting in some activity.

  3. Love the picture :) He's so cool and relaxed!

    It's so hard to stay in "health mode" when I am stressed. The first thing I want to do is eat food, and be lazy. BUt you are right, that is so counterproductive. I always have to remind myself that being lazy and eating when I'm not hungry will only cause me more stress, and exercise and healthy foods ALWAYS help!
    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. You've spoken truth here. Exercise does give you more energy to get through your way, AND, it's important to realize that sometimes you've just got to slow down.

    I too thank you for the reminder.

  5. Anonymous9/21/2009

    I keep reminding myself that eating healthy and workout regularly will make my life less tough on tough times, because at least my body feels good! :)

  6. I go thru the same thing.
    when life gets tougher I normally "duck" out and give up on all the healthy habits...and then I beat myself up

    and now I am trying to keep BALANCED no matter what life is chucking at me.

    and I too have to "ease" up when it comes to health and exercise. I think I have been more even keeled lateley and I hope I can continue!

    thanks for the GREAT example!

  7. I love how the toddler knows how to take care of himself. So intuitive and not messed up by the world telling him what he *should* be doing. Lovely.

    I think it really takes a conscious effort to take care of yourself in a healthy way. Sometimes when things are tough, I just want to hibernate in front of the TV. But I know I'll feel better if I take care of myself and if I can just get out the door to the gym, I'm all set.

  8. Anonymous9/21/2009

    Awww, the toddler is super cute (once again) with that bear towering over him, hee hee!

    I completely agree with this post. Although eating well and exercising does make a difference in how you feel, it's not the end of the world if you miss a workout or eat Amy's frozen meals.

    I know I'm going to be super busy once school starts with my new TA job, being a full time student, being involved in church, and blogging ;). I might have to cut down my cardio, cooking time, and blogging :(, but hopefully, it will all work out somehow!

  9. Andrea, I am totally in your shoes right now! Life has gotten busy and I've had to slow down in some areas. Blogging being one of them, lol :) Also, like you it is hard for me to realize that it's okay to not have every meal done by scratch especially when there is no time. However, I'm way past due on exercising. Need to just do it! Great post!!

  10. There have been times when I've been in a rut. But I always tell myself that tomorrow will be a brighter day. I really do. When I know I have to do something. I force myself to do it because I'll eventually have to get it over with. Delaying the problem won't solve anything. Plus,I try to stay positive.

  11. Oh! Such a cute picture :-)
    Yes, sometimes you need to slow down, and it is nothing wrong...we are human and are allowed to have "down time", and rules are to be broken once in a while :-)

  12. such a good post - i think its so easy to forget to take care of yourself when things get tough, but that's when you need it the most! it can be done - it may require a little work but i think it pays off in the end. thanks for your reminder, and again - your son is TOO. DANG. CUTE.

  13. It's like sometimes you almost have to learn to be a kid again and realize there is more to life than whatever is stressing you out. I try to work out often when I am stressed, particularly boxing since it feels good to get it out somewhere. Mostly I end up forgetting to actually eat and that makes me even mroe cranky. So go ahead and take a "time out".

  14. Amen Andrea!

    SO well said.

    I think we all need to be a little easier on ourselves. Sometimes we all need to slow down a bit, and take care of most important things first. I think we have to also be careful, though, to not give up completely on a healthy lifestyle during crazy busy times. Too many people make a healthy lifestyle "all or nothing".

    There's definitely room for balance. Thanks for a well-written and thought-provoking post!

  15. Since starting a new job a month ago I have had a really hard time staying organized and cooking on a regular basis. The way I handle it is taking it day by day and week by week. Instead of throwing my hands up in defeat I try to just focus on one day or I make plans to get on track the next weekend by making a grocery list and researching recipes ahead of time. Eating well and cooking all the time is a lofty goal and I'm finding that breaking it down into smaller weekly goals makes it much easier. Although I'm not completely back on track I'm slowly getting more organized by setting daily and weekly goals. PS. Really love your blog! :)

  16. Anonymous9/21/2009

    I find that when I'm really busy I eat less (no snacks & smaller portions) & healthier but the exercise often gets omitted. Still working on finding that balance :)

  17. I go thit with some virus and the symptoms never got too bad but i had a fever and slept for 13 hours in a row on Sunday. It was exactly what i needed. I need to take good care of myself and slow it down.

    Cute little guy. My boys layed around all day. They have the same virus. It's sad but cute. -Krystal

  18. what a great pic!!! i try to remember that life is a constant roller coaster - at least, mine has been. when i'm really busy i just do the best i can and rest assured that when things aren't as crazy i can always go "back to normal."

  19. It's definitely hard to find that balance between not letting yourself off the hook and not pushing yourself too hard. I struggle with that all the time since I tend to think in extremes. I try to tel myself, "Do what you can."

  20. Sounds to me like what you call "taking it easy" would be better eating than most people do. I think you're doing an amazing job. And yes, it is really hard to stay focussed on healthy food when things get hectic and sadly, I have no advice! The only thing that helps me out somewhat is making sure I have decent, easy food in my fridge. I've had busy nights where I call a boiled egg, hummus and veggies and a glass of milk dinner.