Who has time to head to the gym after work? Bah! Who has the energy? Busy women who put their fitness on the back burner can be relieved. Quick, simple strategies that you can do at the office will make a significant difference in your fitness levels.
You know this, so why don’t you do it?
You can easily find exercise to do
There are scads of articles out there about quick and easy exercises you can do at your desk. From taking the stairs to doing triceps dips on your chair, there is no shortage of ideas.
The million-dollar question:
Why don’t we, body image, weary women, do the quick office exercises?
So what is the not reason we don’t do these speedy little techniques?
Our inner critic stops us
The big challenge is in getting through the voices in your head that stop you from doing them. As much as we tell our kids not to worry about what others will think, we are role models in wimping out. Sadly yes, we hard-working women allow peer pressure to sway our action or lack of it.
It's not even what others say, it's what we think
It isn’t truly what others have said. It is the incessant inner chatter that goes on in our minds about what we think others might say.
It’s time to start boldly changing things
Put your health and wellbeing first. You may not have time to head to the gym on a daily basis. But you do have the ability to add fitness to your day.
Here are 4 strategies to help you challenge your inner voice of fear and start adding fitness to your daily office regime.
Take care of you - Be a good role model
Remember October is Healthy Workplace Month. Do your part in creating a working environment that is healthy and fun.
Three evil enemies can prevent you from eating healthy on the road if you let them:
• Gas station convenience stores
• Donuts and muffins on the boardroom table
• Hotel vending machines
If you’ve tried sure will power to eat healthy while travelling, stop wasting your time. It takes more than just stubbornness. Nutritious eating while away from the office calls for a plan.
Traveling took its toll on me
For a period, I was traveling to the city almost monthly for meetings. I’d hop in the vehicle the day before for the 6-hour drive down. The following morning I’d arrive at the meeting, and along with my colleagues, I would snatch one of the “healthy muffins” to start my day.
Mid afternoon, I’d munch on the cookies brought in by some well-intentioned administrative support. I was fatigued as much as hungry by then. The sugar rush kept gave me short-term alertness as the afternoons dragged on.
By the end of the day, my defences were completely down, and I’d grab a Mars bar from the conveniently hidden vending machine in the alcove in the hotel corridor before bed. On the road home, the following day, liquorice and a can of Coke were my weapons of choice for me to fight against driving fatigue.
On the road eating, coupled with unending pressures of leadership resulted in a steady increase in my weight. I reluctantly noticed it each time I went to buy new dress pants and found they needed to be a size bigger.
I'd finally had it
One day I had enough and decided to do something about it. Research, a lot of determination and focusing my will power helped me to turn things around. As I changed my overall eating habits and diligently kept up with an alternate on the road system of eating, I lost over 30 pounds and found my self-esteem.
It felt soooo good
One of my most proud moments was walking into a restaurant with a few months between seeing some of my colleagues. A peer stared at me exclaiming, “Where did you go? Only half of you came!” I can still see the pantsuit I had on in a much smaller size than I was used to. I’d felt good before I walked into the restaurant, but I felt elated after. I knew my hard work was paying off!
The way I looked was truly only a small part of it
The change in how I felt was a marvellous piece. Instead of feeling bloated and uncomfortable after lunch, I felt engaged in conversations. Rather than being sleepy on the drive home, I strategically made rest stops, had health snacks planned along the way and found the trips more enjoyable.
If you are eager to switch up your on the road eating style, try these three steps.
1. Be Prepared
a. Use Containers (Lots of them!)
Get over yourself. Eating healthy may look nerdy!
b) Shop Ahead of Time
c) Prepare your Food in Advance
2. Be ready
a) Pack Ahead of Time
Don't be doing the packing a few minutes before you run out the door. Non-perishables can be packed the night before or on the weekend.
b) Plan when and where to eat
Know the drill; what time, where and what you are eating. I used to plan bathroom stops on the road and my eating times. Know what will happen. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Delaying eating leaves us unable to resist urges, like the bag of chips at the till when you fuel up.
c) Plan what you will say
Figure out the language you need to say to others and more importantly, in your head.
Someone is going to ask you to go for lunch. If you have planned to eat your packed lunch, what will you say?
“No thanks, I’m really into this great Thriller I’m reading and want to get 10 minutes in over lunch.”
In your mind, you will need to be clear on what you are saying to yourself.
I will eat out on Tuesday, and this is what I will allow myself to eat. AND when those other delicious things show up on the menu, this is what I will say to myself.
When I traveled to management meetings in the city, we traditionally ate lunch at an Italian restaurant. You know that that mean right? Warm, fresh, soft, amazing, delicious buns! The kind you soak down on butter. OMG! These are my enemy! Bread is not good for me.
I had to psych myself up before going to the restaurant. You are not going to eat buns, Kathy. When the buns come, head to the bathroom. Just pass them on. Being prepared was the best option!
3. Be Kind to Yourself
It is hard to be different than the rest of the crew at a meeting. When the gang is munching on the cookies and ordering the fattening specials, it’s easy to feel like you are getting the short end of the stick. Don’t beat yourself up.
Talk to yourself in a loving and kind way. Kathy, you are sooo good to your body! You can do this, I believe in you. I am taking care of me and will feel better for it in the long run.
Also, allow yourself the occasional treat. Some trips are special, and the chocolate mouse is a well-deserved delight. The trick is simply to decided when you will sway off the and not do it willy nilly. Know in the morning, that you will allow yourself dessert at lunch. Don’t decide when it’s coming around at 12:45…oh just this once won’t hurt.
When you fall, and you will, give yourself a hug and get back up and try again. Eating healthy is worth it, but I won’t lie to you and tell you it’s easy. It’s not.
Healthy eating on the road doesn't have to be so challenging
When you commit to changing your eating routine, remember to make a plan. Be prepared. Be ready. Be kind. When you take the time in advance to plan out what to eat, when and how you will deal with enemy co-workers and enemy voices in your head, you will be much more successful.
Most of us don't know how to be happy. We only feel joy or bliss when there is an exaggerated awareness of it. Thanksgiving this weekend was the opportunity to heighten our sense of gratitude.
What about the rest of the time? Do we miss those opportunities to feel pleasant feelings? I think we do, and I believe it’s up to us to change that. Here is how.
As I noticed what I am grateful for in my life, I realized these are my happiest times of the day:
Do you know your happiest times of day?
Here's the thing; if you don't know your happiest times of day, how can you even identify what happiness is?
Do you know the feeling you have when you're happy?
Do you know what it does to you and those around you?
Happiness starts with being able to feel it. You need to be able to get an understanding that something different is happening. To lock it in, you also need to expressive it in some way to yourself.
When I'm stretching, I feel my body relax. During reclined twist, I understand that my body chemistry is changing in that exact moment and that it is reducing the stress in my body. I can say that to myself, I am feeling my body unwind and soften.
When Ernie hugs me in his big bear hug at the end of the day, I feel myself leaning to him. I can sense us become one. I know that there is an exchange of love between our hearts at that moment. I can say to myself, I am loved, and I love.
To feel happiness and experience happiness you need to be able to:
Look back over your day so far. What have your favorite times been?
What was different about those moments?
To feel happiness, you must recognize happiness. Learn to look for happy moments in your day. Study happiness in your life. Slow down long enough to identify happy times. Feel the joy. Notice what it does to your body, mind, and notice.
When you become a student of happiness, you will find more happiness in your life.
No time for a headache? Do you push away hunger pains because you're too busy to eat? Maybe you don't even notice the tightness building in your muscles as you work away on your computer hour after hour. Ignoring the twinges that your body sends to you works momentarily, but left unchecked will treat you to some nasty surprises down the road.
My wake up call
A couple of years ago, I was Googling: how to heal cold sores, the day before I was heading out to speak at a large conference. My mouth was so full of the blisters that I had trouble eating. I wasn't sure how I was going to, speak for several hours. The reason my mouth made me want to cry each time I tried to eat something was undoubtedly stress.
My body was breaking down, and I wasn’t listening
I was frantic about the work I had on my plate. I was anxious about the upcoming travel and was feeling the pressure of performing. My body needed to rest and renew, but I wouldn’t let it. Pushing through the pain my body went from fatigue to a pounding headache. When I ignored that too, my mouth broke out in patches of sores. I was a mess!
I had a history of disregarding the impacts of stress on my body
I wish I could say that was the only time I ignored my body. Sadly, I can think of other times that I ended up with a bad cold, a back that was in so much pain I could barely walk or shoulders that were rock hard causing neck pain. The result of not listening to my body has triggered much pain and damage over the years. Ignoring my body's cries for rest and renewal instigated many trips to the doctor, naturopath, chiropractor, counselor, and physiotherapist. I now know, many of those visits could have been avoided had I taken better care of myself.
Self-care means you pre-empt trips to the doctor
Self-care is the care of yourself, without medical or other professional consultation. Too many of us wait until we can bear the pain not longer before we head to the specialist. Instead, we need to prevent much of the mayhem by doing small bits of self-care before we are over the edge.
I have learned to do tiny moments of self-care that will prevent the need for medical attention. I have absorbed to lessons provided to me and now listen to my body and respond, all day long. When I put off daily self-care, I regret it. We can’t wait until we need intervention. Prevent the serious cost to your body. Practice self-care constantly in small doses.
Four 3-minute self-care hacks to prevent the need for professional intervention
The point to self-care is rest and renewal
We need to give our body a break, and we need to give back to what we've drained from it. When you are struggling during the day and feeling the weight of the world on you, ask yourself the following question: "What can I do in this particular moment to rest for a minute or renew for a minute?"
It only takes a minute that could save you the 5 hour trip to the doctor, or life long medical problem that you allowed to creep up on you.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.