Have you ever done something out of habit and then thought, well that was a bad idea. Cause that is sort of me today. Remember yesterday when I reported a blister from my new walking shoes?
Yeah, I didn’t think about it when I went for my walk today. I got down the street and then the rubbing of the new shoes made me remember it, but I figured, I’m sure it will be fine. Yup, it ruptured when I was at the furthest point of my walk. Right where i turn around to head back home.
And so was rubbed completely raw by the time I got home.
So I limped home and will not be walking tomorrow. I am also buying bandages. I’m thinking of looking for maybe Scooby Doo themed ones. either way, no walking tomorrow.
Tonight is Bean Burgers for dinner. I love that somehow once I turn the beans into a patty and put it on a bun, my Babydoll stops thinking it is veg night. He knows it isn’t meat, but somehow the bun and patty make him think it isn’t a veg night. Its the veggie meal that flies under his radar. I think it is hios innate love of cheeseburgers.
Which lets me sneak in an extra veg night. While both of us do eat meat, I like to eat meat only once a week at the most. He doesn’t consider it a meal if there isn’t meat in it. And actually when we first got together he referred to chicken and fish as ‘meat substitutes’ and claimed they were his vegetarian nights. (and yes I know poultry and fish are separate categories and that meat generally refers to non-avian and non-aquatic creatures like pork, beef and lamb, but poultry and fish are still not vegetables.)
Oh, how far we have come. He may still only eat a limited number of vegetables, but he at least admits that chicken and fish aren’t vegetables. Although he still will occasionally refer to a fish meal as a meatless dinner.
So that’s progress.
Of a sort.
So I am off to hobble through the rest of my afternoon, more annoyed with myself than anything, but looking forward to dinner. I am also putting a post it note on my computer screen so that tomorrow I will remember not to go on a walk. I figure a day of resting my heels should do it. Then I can use a cotton ball held on with a bandage to protect the abraded skin and hopefully get back to walking. You know this happens with every new pair of walking shoes. You’d think I’d learn by now. One day I am going to find a pair of shoes that doesn’t do this the first time out. Clearly that time is not now, but someday soon. I will find those shoes.
Just when I am starting to get used to the cooler weather, BAM a warm spell drops in on us. I went walking today and it was 77 degrees outside. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a major fan of the cold, but it is November. I was just starting to get into the fall to winter groove too. I changed out my clothing and started switching out skin care.
well at least I managed to get two walks in without freezing my patootie off. So that was nice. I just switched out my walking shoes too so I have a blister on my heel, but thats okay. The shoes I was wearing now have a hole in the foam where my big toe goes so not switching wasn’t an option. And yeah I probably wouldn’t have the blister on the back of my heel if I hadn’t gone on the second walk.
So its sort of my fault.
I can live with that.
I also did a bit of shopping today. I got the last of the family holiday gifts ordered and and I have three birthday presents packed and ready to ship out. Tomorrow is a big post office run for me. So to celebrate, and because it was Boxy Charm choice day, I went to the Boxy pop Up sale. I was good. Well relatively good. I picked up a Volition Snow Mushroom Water Serum because I just adored it so much and then I add a full sized Akar Balancing Toner spray.
I know I liked it when I tried it and was on the fence about trying a full sized bottle, but I figured as it was at such a discount I could try a full sized version and see if my few little problems with the product went away. My two issues were that I wasn’t sure about a spray toner, which is easily solvable if I just spray the cotton round instead of spraying my face directly. The second issue was that the expiration date was so quick I wasn’t sure if I could make it through the toner before it expired. I figured for $12 I could try a full size and see how it worked out. It was a nice toner so I don’t mind doing the trial. Fingers crossed that the larger size has a slightly longer expiration date, or that I can use it up before the expiration date. Either way I am very happy with those two items as what I picked up. I was also happy about my Premium choice which was a Viseart Palette.
So I walked, I shopped and I stayed in my calories. Now I am going to take a shower because I am sweatier than I planned and get back to work. Not too shabby for a Monday.
Today certainly started with the sizzle pop of excitement at my house. Mostly because my graphics card in my computer overheated and fried. which was all sorts of fun. But somehow it managed not to take anything else down with it. So only minor replacements were needed, no work was lost and fearing to leave my computer alone too long lest anything else happen, I got a lot of work done.
I remain hopeful that all issues are complete, I can replace what needs to be replaced quickly and all will be well. It does mean that tomorrow’s schedule is more variable than usual. I think things are steady but if tomorrow’s posts get delayed then you know I’m seeing the techno doc and will catch up later.
But that is a just in case issue. I’m about 90% sure all is steady now.
My break from my desk today netted me a walk and a much better chance to test my Native deodorant. Temps rose near me enough that I ended up very sweaty. Although I’m pretty sure it is more humidity rising than the heat. All of my shirt was wet, not just the underarms. It went directly to the washer. But I did a sniff test first.
There is a strange odor left behind on the shirt. It isn’t a sweat stink and it isn’t the cucumber mint, or any real combination of the two. It is an odd sour smell that I sort of remember from my Speak deodorant test. Although not nearly as bad. The last time I smelled this it was at the beginning of the first Natural deodorant trial and as near as I could figure out it was my body purging toxins. I can only guess that this is the same, but it isn’t nearly as strong as it was last time (which is nice) and I didn’t have the scent on light sweat days, just when I sweat buckets. Maybe I didn’t have as many toxins so they didn’t feel the need to flee my body in such large and immediate quantities.
Either way I put the shirt in the wash, took a shower and now smell delightfully of cucumbers and mint. Mostly mint to be honest, but it is a nice scent. It will be interesting to see how the grand toxin purge progresses. But for now I am pleased with the deodorant. and my on going trials. And I promise I will stop talking about my underarms until I make a final decision about how I feel about the product (in a few weeks), i just wanted to give a bit of an update since, I reported no initial odor. I didn’t want anyone to try it and be surprised.
So what it boils down to is I got my walk in and am monitoring my computer closely. I’ve also shifted a lot to the cloud and transferred reams of information to USB drives. You know just to be prepared.
Tonight is a crisp cool salad which will probably be accompanied by a nice glass of Riesling. I will sip and try not to think of french fried electro bits. And because there is only one glass left and the bottle has been in the fridge for a while. Fingers crossed it isn’t vinegar.
Today the sun was shining and over night the scavengers had time to clear out the unfortunate creekbed remains and the midge swarms are once again hiding in the shadows. So I was able to take my walk with out feeling like i was walking through a fishmongers after an extended power outage.
Deep breaths my darlings!
Inhale the actual air from the world outside.
And revel in the fact that the ragweed was smacked by the cold snap last night and making the eyes as happy as the lungs. That’s right, no itchy watery eyes for me today!
I see clearly, I breathe deeply and I crunched my way over the dried mud scales that currently coat the walking trail. While not the best of surfaces, the dried mud is not slick so no skidding down the hill for me today either.
It was quite pleasant, in fact it was so pleasant after I post this, I may go on a second afternoon stroll. more calories burned and more pressure put on the new deodorant i am trying out. If you recall from yesterday’s post, on a whim I picked up a new natural deodorant to try out. It is the Cucumber and Mint from Native.
After my first walk this morning I came in with still non-stinky armpits. However my skirt’s armpits were very very wet. I know it is a deodorant and not an antiperspirant but I was not expecting such damp cloth. I was wearing a black shirt so there were no noticeable pit stains. But the feel of the wet cloth was not my favorite.
I don’t mind sweating on my walk. Half the time everyone I pass is just as sweaty and messy as I am so that doesn’t bother me. The issue might be what happens when I test it out in a shirt sitting at my desk. I may have a lot of black clothing but not everything is dark and some clothes would definitely show stains. I think once I’ve determined that it doesn’t make me stinky when I’m working out, I will see about the non-work out results. There also may be an adjustment period as I just changed deodorants this past week.
But phase one, the not stinky in public phases is going well so far. If it remains so, I will move into Phase 2 testing. but for now I don’t stink. Having said that, I think i am going to take advantage of the very nice day outside and go for a walk. I may regret it when I have to play catch up tomorrow but my meetings are done for the day and quite frankly the sunshine and cooler temps are calling me to play. Resistance is futile.
Sunshine!!!!! Oh how I have missed you. After a misty start to the morning, the sky finally cleared and revealed the sun. As it has been raining since Wednesday, it was fantastic. I went on a very long walk. While the sun is not terribly hot, I will say the humidity is fierce.
I returned to the house from my walk looking like it was actually raining outside. I walked straight into the laundry room, stripped off and put everything into the washer before heading directly to the shower. This was not a job for dry shampoo and showerless wipes. No, as fabulous as they are, this was a job for water and shampoo.
Well once the water warmed up it was a job for shampoo. I started off with cool water. It may not be as hot as it has been, but with the humidity I really felt the sun today. Then once I cooled down enough to allow the water to warm up, I called in the shampoo, conditioner and bodywash triumvirate and emerged later clean and feeling like I actually got some excercise.
While I spent much of the weekend sorting clothes and bringing out my fall and winter wardrobe the only activity I managed was moving around inside the house. The rain more or less kept me house bound and made me feel like a lump. The walk made me feel better about things. While I seriously doubt that I will ever be the person who talks about a ‘runner’s high’ – unless I spot some pot smoking joggers and even then I think I would just be impressed by fast moving potheads – I will say that now I am accustomed to walking almost every day, the days I don’t walk my body misses it. When I take a few days off and then get back to walking I always feel like I am clearing out some mental cobwebs. Its a nice feeling. So I was glad to see the sun today.
Something else I was happy to see, Peter Thomas Roth is having a sale on their To Die For Line. I tested out the To Die For Primer from PTR and absolutely loved it. I only had a sample and I put the full size on my list to look into for Black Friday. With this sale I may be able to scratch it off the list early. The sale is To Die For Collection Sale 50% off with Coupon code: TODIEFOR. The sale starts 9/28 12am ET and ends 10/4 11:59 pm ET. The above link will take you to the sale. I don’t get anything if you use the coupon code, it is just the sale code. If you are interested in my review of the Primer you can click here to read it. It was part of my Make Up bag for both the week of May 22 and the following week as there was enough in the sample tube for two weeks of use. It is an excellent mattifying primer. So I saw the sale notice and had to share. Hope you enjoy.
Well, I managed to avoid the oreos. Unfortunately, I forgot about the halloween candy and came home with a small bag of candy corn. Luckily there is a very finite amount of candy corn I can eat in one sitting. Two pieces are delightful, any more and it is just too much. But I do like the two pieces. Its a small bag that ended up in the cart so it will probably last me til november and then I won’t want candy corn again until next halloween season.
And the nice weather is tempting me out for longer and more frequent walks. hile it is causing me to have to play a little bit of catchup this afternoon, I really enjoyed my extra long walk today. The weather was absolutely perfect. Just cool enough so the air had a little snap to it when I started but warm enough that I cold still sweat a little in th tshirt once I got going.
At least it was only a little sweat. This summer has been brutal on my clothing. The t-shirts I bought as replacements mid summer are still holding up (go Hanes!) but they are not looking new by any stretch of the imagination. with the weather cooling off they will probably now last me until spring.
My undergarments not so much.
Today actually one of my bras made me think I was having a heart attack. It was a t-shirt bra with an underwire that is super comfortable to wear. when I walk sometimes I wear them and save my sports bra for more bouncing activities. I dropped one of my earbuds, bent down to pick it up and felt a shooting pain in my general heart area. I thought, ‘this is the end, I’m going to die in the middle of the walking trail.’
And then I realized the pain stopped when I straightened. Turns out one of the wires had worked its way through the bra material and when I bent down everything shifted and the wire broke through the cloth and stabbed me.
Which was quite a relief.
I’ll take undergarment failure over heart failure anyday.
So I took extra long on my walk, got scared silly by a bra, took a shower and now get to play paperwork catchup. Not a bad day in all really. lunch was a bowl of honey nut cheerios, because the heart smart bee looked quite appealing after my walk, and as long as I don’t bust my calories at dinner I should be right on track. And as long as I take more veggies than rice onto my plate I should be well within my calories. It always astounds me how caloric rice is. I understand why, I get the whole food and nutrition break down, but my brain still looks at the tiny grains and things I’m missing something. Luckily the veg tonight lean heavily towards peas and mushrooms, both favorites of mine so veg over rice isn’t a hardship. But that is later, now, I have a contract to finish and later underwear to buy.
Technically speaking, this post should have been posted earlier in the month because that’s when I switched out my walking shoes for a new pair. In case you had forgotten the shoes in question were the above pictured New Balance #574.
The reason I held off posting is that I was trying to find more official information on the length of time a pair of sneakers should last. Figuring companies would best know about their own product, I sent New Balance an e-mail. I never heard back. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was sent a form e-mail thanking me for my interest and telling me that my opinion was important to them. Then I heard nothing.
So I branched out.
I currently have several e-mail inquiries asking about the duration of time a pair of sneakers should be worn (or milage as that sounds more like something they would test for). Thus far, no responses. But I remain hopeful that someone will get back to me with somewhat of an answer. To be honest, if they do, I will probably buy their shoes next just out of respect for the fact that they bothered to answer my question. Or at least attempted to do so.
So without any official information I am left with the tidbit I found in a fitness article that stated sneakers should be replaced every 300-500 miles of wear. As you know I was doubtful my sneakers were going to make it that long. They were shy of the 300 mile mark when they started showing really worn spots on the soles of the shoes. But they didn’t hurt my feet so I kept wearing them. The worn spots gradually got more and more worn.
But again, my feet showed no signs of discomfort. And the soles retained their integrity. So I kept wearing them.
Finally, I felt a sore spot on my pinky toe that usually heralds the beginning of a blister if I don’t stop what I am doing. I decided this was a good point to stop wearing the sneakers instead of wearing them until I actually got the blister.
Surprisingly, the part hurting my toe was not due to the sole wearing away, but the the interior foam of the insole breaking up in little chunks. There was a small chunk of the interior foam missing under the spot where my pinky toe hit. For about a week prior I was seeing little bits of stuff attach to my socks and thought nothing of it. Apparently this was the insole giving up the ghost. While I couldn’t get a decent picture of it, the worn spot where the foam is missing on the heel looks much the same as the spot under my pinky toe.
So I watched the slowly melting away sole only to be undone by the insole.
I’m sure there is a metaphorical lesson in that, but we’ll leave it and move on to mileage.
On the day I decided I was not going to wear the shoes any more, I checked my charts and added up the mileage. The final total of usage clocked in at 538.6 miles. This was calculated using both the treadmill and a pedometer so there may be a little bit of wiggle room in the numbers but I am confident it is pretty close to accurate.
If the 300-500 mile gage is also accurate it means that my New Balance exceeded expectations. As I didn’t expect them to even meet the 300 mile mark, I am both pleased and astounded. Time wise I am a little put out as the shoes only lasted three and a half months and I was hoping it would be more, but I can’t really blame the shoes for that. I’m the one who walked that many miles in that short a time span. Of course, I am kind of proud of that as well so its not really a complaint. I was just hoping I would only have to buy new sneakers every six months instead of every three.
But I’ll live.
Expecting a longer life though meant that I didn’t look up a new pair of sneakers to try for the next round. I simply re-ordered another pair of New Balance #574s. I will be looking into trying out a new pair afterwards though and I have three months in which to find them. Perhaps someone from one of the companies will get back to me and I will have an idea what to choose.
At the moment I have none.
Although I think it might be interesting to see how my weight affects the duration of my shoe usage. Perhaps as I get lighter, the shoes will last longer. Who knows? I certainly don’t, but I think it will be fun to find out.
If any of you out there have any recommendations for sneakers used primarily for walking, let me know in the comments. I’d like to have multiple options to look into trying. After all, if I am doing the walking I might as well see how different shoes hold up during my not so scientific tests.
When I first decided to focus on actually losing weight instead of sort of wishing the weight would go away on it’s own, I got onto the scale for the first time in years. After all, I reasoned, if I was going to lose weight I needed to know what my starting point was. Logical, right? Some might even say sensible.
What was not logical or sensible was my fear of the scale. My hands were actually shaking. I went to the bathroom, then stripped down to my underwear. I went to the bathroom again, just in case, then I decided my underwear might actually add weight so I took it off to weigh in au natural.
Just in case those few ounces sent me over the edge.
I was alone in the house, no one to see or hear anything the scale reflected back at me. I didn’t have to tell anyone. It was just for me to know, me to see.
I was, to be quite honest, terrified of what the numbers might reveal.
Its not logical, but there it is.
In the months since, the scale has stopped being a terrifying symbol of ALL THAT IS WRONG WITH ME and become a tool. It lets me know my progress, or lack thereof. It lets me know if the adjustments I’m making to my routine are helping me out and when there are delicious treats in the kitchen it keeps me accountable, reminding me that there will be a weigh in so maybe I should only eat one cookie instead of the entire batch.It is not something I fear.
I occasionally cross my fingers when stepping on to the scale and sometimes think nasty thoughts when I think I’ve worked harder than it reflects, but over all the scale and I have reached a decent place in our relationship.
This morning I have to admit, that old fear came back, at least in part. Due to a rabbit related injury I haven’t been able to burn my calories like normal. While no longer swollen, my foot and ankle are still tender. On Monday I am going to start easing back into my routine, but this is the longest I’ve skipped my regular workouts since July when I went on a trip with friends.
And gained five pounds.
After a moment of thought, I realized that was what worried me. Not only how I gained those five pounds, but the fact that the holidays, no, let’s call them what they really are, The Feasting Season, is soon to be upon us. Buckets of candy start arriving in October to whet your appetite and make the traditional family recipes that come out of the back of the cabinet seem almost healthy by comparison.
(Seriously our family stuffing/dressing recipe calls for five sticks of butter. Sure it is designed to feed thirty and absolutely delicious, but watching it get made nearly stops the heart.)
With family gatherings sprinkled over with various parties and gatherings with friends, both work and personal, every kind of food has it’s personal justification regardless of its critics or the fact that you don’t even think about whatever delectable edible it is that you now crave like a zombie seeking brains, throughout the rest of the year. I’m pretty sure that is why come New Year’s day, when the gamut has been run and you are left picking silver tinsel out of the last of the cocktail food to cobble together a weird and wonderful sandwich, most people’s thoughts turn to their annual resolutions.
While I am not actually thankful for the rabbit and the stupid hole I stepped in, I do appreciate knowing that when one element (cardio mostly) is removed, I can still use the other element (diet) to at least maintain. I have less fear of the upcoming season than before. I can take a few pieces of candy on occasion (counting them up instead of nibbling randomly), I can nibble at parties and take reasonable portions of the delicious high caloric traditional fare and know that as long as I keep track, or evan approximate track, I can burn enough to maintain my weight even if I don’t lose any. Admittedly, I am fairly certain rich foods will be interspersed with lots of salad, but I like salad so it’s not really a hardship and doing so may mean I don’t feel completely done in on January first.
Which would be a nice change from the harpooned whale feeling I usually get at that time of year.
So since I could do nothing about being taken down by a bunny, I’m using it as a dry run. Even though the holidays are not quite the same thing, this helps knock back some of the mental fear I didn’t even realize I was starting to build until I stepped on the scale this morning. Because the truth is, that was what I was afraid of, both in the beginning and now, its the fear that no matter what I did, my weight would continue to increase. Having this dry run helped to negate that fear. While I didn’t lose anything this week, I didn’t gain anything either.
Oddly enough, that actually feels like a really big win.
So the stats:
Starting weight: 246 lbs
Last week’s weight: 209.2 lbs
This week’s weight: 209.2 lbs
Total weight lost to date: 36.8 lbs
Still left to lose (apx).:86.2 lbs
This weekend I am going to rest myself, letting the last of the twinges fade and possibly use the quiet time to sort through a few things. I have a closet where I’ve tossed things all summer that needs a bit of sorting. Since I use shoe boxes to contain things I can take out a few boxes, sit on the bed and sort while bad movies play in the background. It will be restful. And I have been wanting to re-watch Killer Clowns from Outer Space again to get me into the spirit of the season. It’ll sort of help me usher in October. We all have our own classics I suppose.
I feel like I’m back on track with everything. So even though it is just shy of my one pound weekly goal (0.8 lbs lost this week), I am happy. I readjusted things a bit as my schedule changed for fall and I should be good going into winter. Not that the weather is cooperating. Soaring temps this week made the treadmill more attractive than the walking trail. Admittedly, I did try the walking trail one this week and sweat like crazy. I returned to the house feeling like a dehydrated camel. I spent the rest of the afternoon rehydrating.
Also on my one walk outside this week I had a strange run in with one of the new neighbors. Technically they have been there a little over a year so new is a relative term. Our neighborhood is an older one that is just starting to transition into the next generation. We moved in three years ago at the beginning of the changeover and are among the younger residents. Or were, most moving in now are younger than us. We are kind of the mid-point.
The general age range is why our neighborhood still has some of the older type gatherings that a lot of places don’t have. They’ve been gathering for fourth of july festivities for decades and don’t intend to stop. Attendance is dropping though so soon I think they’ll stop of their own accord.
Lately our neighborhood has seen lots of ambulance visits and home sales. In between the two is the sprucing up of houses that haven’t seen much change since the seventies. Agnes is holding on, in case you are worried.
All of which is a long winded way of saying our neighborhood is in transition and one of the people I don’t know stopped to talk to me. It was a bizarre conversation. It started by her telling me she has been watching me. She tried to put it in a less creepy way, but that’s what it boils down to.
Anyway in the year she has been living here, her watching has noticed that I have lost weight. She wanted to know what plan I was following. I told her that I was exercising more and watching my calories. She insisted I name a plan. I told her I wasn’t following an actual plan as established by someone else, but just eating fewer pre-packaged foods, cooking more and watching my calories. (I should also point out that this was at the end of my walk and I was dripping with sweat, providing evidence of the exercise part at least. I wasn’t my best but I did remember my manners, which is more than I can say for my neighbor).
She did not believe me, because “That’s not how dieting works”. Sadly she now thinks that I am keeping my diet plan a secret from her so that she can not get thinner thighs (or whatever she is after) and despite my attempts to calm the situation she flounced away angrily. She was very vocal in her scorn of my common sense dieting. I fear I may have made an enemy.
While I don’t fear any sort of retaliation (just dark glares as she seems that sort) It really bothers me that she thinks exercising and watching what you eat aren’t how dieting works. The fact that she appears (at least based on a somewhat casual one time conversation) to feel that if a diet plan isn’t named and officiated by devotees who are legion, that it can’t possibly work. I’m using what I like to think of as a common sense plan. The results aren’t dramatic. There are no twenty pounds lost in five days moments. But it is consistent and cumulative. And it works. Some weeks better than others, but it still works.
To use one of my grandmother’s favorite phrases, “Anything labeled common, usually isn’t, common sense chief among the rare.”
It still bothers me. Maybe I should get a t-shirt printed up ‘Common Sense Diet Plan in Action’ or something to that effect. (I’m sure the second I hit publish on this I’ll come up with something pithier as that is how it always works.) And we all know if something has merchandise it is legitimate, right?
I don’t mean to complain about anyone’s personal favorite plan. If you find something that works for you, then use it. I just personally knew it was unrealistic of me to cut out untire categories of food from my world and went with what works for me. And with the exception of the gym membership with occasional trainer check ins and my doctor’s assist, I don’t think I should have to pay a lot of money (or any really) to lose weight. Personally, I like to cook, like fresh food in almost every category and don’t mind doing the math to count calories. When my own math fails me, calculators work.
sure I have to occasionally look up conversion tables for millimeters and grams, but that’s not a bad use of the internet and I can now help third graders with their math homework.
I’m not upset with anyone who goes with a plan someone else created, I just don’t think people should be mad at me for going my own way. And I don’t mean to sound grumpy, I just don’t like being yelled at and called a liar. Especially not in public. Even if it is a relatively quiet street.
At least Agnes is on my side. She told me I shouldn’t listen to communist propaganda. (the yelling neighbor brought her and a few other neighbors out to see what was going on). Not entirely appropriate to the situation, but I appreciate the sentiment.
I know It’s been a meandering post, she just caught me on Monday and it’s been bothering me on many levels all week. She is one neighbor, I will not be spending time with in the future. Luckily she is also one who avoids the neighborhood gatherings so avoidance is easy. Shall we move to the stats?
Starting weight: 246 lbs
Weight last week: 211.4 lbs
Weight this week: 210.6 lbs
Loss this week: 0.8 lbs
Total loss thus far: 35.4 lbs
Left to lose (apx.): 87.6 lbs
Thanks for hanging in through the ranting whinge. Now that it’s out I can clear it from my mind. I hope everyone has a good weekend and I’ll return bright and early Monday morning. Unless my irate neighbor does me in with the garden hose. Not a strong possibility, but you never know. Stranger things have happened.
I don’t know about you, but it seems every time I turn around there is another article about how someone’s life was changed by getting up at 6 am or (god forbid) 4 am. The articles generally are written in a tone that suggests once acclimated to the new schedule a person wakes up in some sort of Disney Princess fantasy world where birds sing with you as you wash your face and various woodland creatures fetch your garments so that you can dress (without the drudgery of hiring a qualified lady’s maid, because as we all know, good help is so hard to find these days).
I suspect these articles are written by people who are natural morning people just trying to eek out a little more productivity.
I am not one of them.
And this is not that sort of a tip.
I will admit I actually tried it. The getting up at 5 am thing. If it works for you great, more power to you. I can admit, I am slightly jealous. It went horribly wrong for me. I tried it for two weeks to give it a bit of a chance. My productivity actually dropped and my coffee intake doubled.
But to get back to the point. Scheduling itself is a very powerful tool. I work at home and for myself so I generally set my schedule. I know some of you are sighing with envy, but there are complications. There are the expected ones where other people’s schedules need to be taken into consideration. There are instances where something needs to be done during the work day and because you can more easily rearrange your schedule, you get tapped to do it. Usually the phrase ‘it will only take five minutes’ appears in the conversation. There are also people selling things from raffle tickets to religion periodically knocking on your door when they see your car in the drive.
Then there is the unexpected guilt.
Working at home as your own boss means that you are your own task master. When I switched from working in an office to working at home I was unprepared for the level of guilt I would feel if I took some time during my day to do something non work related. It was as though my brain said if you aren’t constantly working then you aren’t pulling your weight.
While I got over this initial rush of guilt, mostly because I realized I was pushing myself like a crazy person and not getting as much done as I thought I was due to mental fatigue, the guilt resurfaced once I started adding exercise into my day.
If you read articles or books or watch tv shows about incorporating more exercise into your daily routine, the person speaking usually uses something along the lines of ‘incorporating 20 minutes of moving time in your day is easy.’ Or ‘just skip one television program a night to do your workouts and you will be well on your way to a healthier new you.’
If you only have a little weight to lose, or are just getting started and getting your body used to moving, this is great advice. And it is advice I followed in the beginning. I still use the breaking it into small chunks advice that they tout. But as I moved forward, the time needed to achieve my goals took up more of my day than I expected.
To get to the gym it is a fifteen minute drive each way (not too bad actually). I am there generally about 45 minutes. Then I drive home and take a quick shower (15-20 minutes). This means it adds up to an hour and a half three days a week for weights. I also walk about an hour and a half each day, sometimes more on the days I don’t go to the gym.
The time adds up.
And my guilt level skyrocketed.
So did the number of excuses not to exercise, especially when deadlines loomed.
So I started scheduling. I went from a general to do list, to timing things out. (although I still use lists. Its a permanent habit) I use a simple free daily schedule available as a template for excel. There are billions of ones out there so I’d encourage you to find one you like. Because if you like it, you will use it.
I put my work things, my errands and my workouts on the schedule, treating them all with the same degree of importance. By writing it down, I feel I have committed to getting my workouts done. While I have to take the gym in a solid one and a half hour block, for obvious reasons like drive time, I tend to break my walks up into forty five minute chunks.
The night before, I list out my most important have to get done things for the next day. This is my immediate list. The quick e-mails, the final review of a cover letter, whatever it is, if it is on this list, then I can check it off quickly. On the calendar I actually block out an hour first thing call ‘The Immediates’. SOmetimes it is a little longer depending on what is coming my way, but it never exceeds two hours. Usually I cap it at an hour and a half. So the next morning I pour my coffee and quickly blow through that first list of immediates, checking each individual item off the list while working through my block. It makes me feel productive and on top of things.
Inevitably, there will be an e-mail I need to respond to that takes more thought, or a phone message I need to work through or a response I need to think over. There is almost always one thing I can’t respond to without thinking it through a little bit than the other items on the immediats list. So I will set that to the side and after I’ve blazed through my quick list, I will fit the more difficult e-mail, phone call or decision into my brain, change into walking clothes and go on my first walk of the day.
When I walk, I listen to music. I put my i-pod on shuffle because even the radio announcer’s voices tend to intrude on my brain. If I hear morning trivia, or traffic or even a weather report, my brain will shift off topic. So I stick with music. And I mentally shuffle through the one difficult task I postponed to do after my walk.
I know there are loads of people who advocate focusing only on your exercise while you are doing it. While I’m sure there are benefits, I can’t do it. If I try then I will start thinking about the absurdity of walking so many miles in what is essentially a giant circle and getting no where or if at the gym I will fixate on the absolute ridiculousness of some of the machines we use to tone muscles that we clearly aren’t using in daily life (otherwise they’d be toned and wouldn’t need machines to isolate them to work out). So I work through knotty issues instead. having that one focused issue keeps me from wondering if I need to get groceries or any other little things that can spring up in my mind. I focus on the one task I need to think through making the workouts a part of my work day and not my home life.
When I arrive home, I generally have a plan for my issue and with a minimal cooldown I am able to dive right into the thorny issue and check it off my task list. By the time my next exercise block comes up, generally there is something else I need to take some time out to think about. By scheduling my walks and gym time, I not only get them on my calendar, but I find I can schedule the things I need to think about before dealing with. This actually makes me more productive, because I don’t sit at the computer writing and re-writing an e-mail or staring at a message trying to figure out what to say on my phone call. It has also kept me from sending messages I later regret. I can work out plot issues for the story I’m currently working on and get my exercise in.
Oddly enough, this method ramps up my productivity, drops my caffeine intake and since my workout time is also technically working time, my guilt level at taking time to do something just for me drops down. In addition, since the gym is across town, if anyone needs me to run an errand that ‘will only take five minutes’ I can add it either before or after the gym (depending on my required appearance) which takes fewer additional chunks out of my day.
There is no getting around the fact that if you add something, whether it is exercise or not, to your day, you will have to take time away from something else. There is simply a finite amount of time each day. You will have to adjust. My schedule is a little more free form than a lot of people have, but there are ways to incorporate exercise into your schedule. If you get an hour for lunch, instead of going out every day, schedule two or three days a week where you bring a sack lunch. Use half your lunch hour to eat, then change shoes and spend the other thirty minutes walking up and down the back stairwell, or around the building.
One of the key things I found to increase my exercise was to break it into smaller chunks so that I didn’t feel as though it was taking over my day. If getting up earlier or staying up later helps, go for it. But whatever you do, put it on your schedule, treat it as an important appointment, and if you can, make it do double duty as you work through a work related problem you need to solve.