When I decided to take my fitness training more seriously and join the Hourglass Workout 3 Month Challenge, I worked full-time in an office where I sat at a desk for 40 hours each week. I also am a mother, wife, I worked part-time at a marketing company, also part time as tutor and took night classes to complete my Fitness certifications. Monday through Thursday, I’d leave my house at 5 a.m. and not return sometimes until after 7PM. Obviously, my schedule was a challenge, but I knew if I started to make excuses, I’d never get fit or lose the weight, so I toughened up and created a fail-proof plan that helped me drop more than 15 pounds. Here’s what helped me, and how it can work for you too.
When I worked in an office, I used daily planner that kept me organized with all aspects of my life—from my son and partner’s activities, projects and projects deadlines to grocery lists and social events. I wrote down everything, including my workouts. On Sunday afternoons I’d spend some time scheduling my workouts for the week, just like I would with other obligations.
I’d also pick a couple of group exercise classes at my gym and schedule them like appointments that I could not miss. Seeing my work week all laid out with plenty of time for exercise helped me to stick to my plan.
Late meetings, evening events…..—so many things got in the way of my evening workouts, so I became a morning exerciser. Working out first thing in the morning guaranteed that I fit it in before my day got carried away and excuses popped up.
Even though I’m naturally a morning person, becoming a morning exerciser was no easy task! The first few mornings were really hard, but the more I forced myself to do it, the easier it was and eventually it became a regular part of my routine.
In the past, I halfheartedly kept a paper-and-pen food journal, but it was time-consuming and inconvenient to calculate all of those calories, so hundreds of them often went unaccounted for each day. So when my coach gave me the weight-loss journal that tracks calories, exercise, goals, and progress, I knew it would make food journaling simpler.
Filling out my serving estimates online helped me realize that I underestimated portion sizes. Even though I was eating mostly nutritious foods, I was serving myself too much, so I began using measuring cups at home to learn how to identify a healthy serving.
The Hourglass Workout First 2016 3 Month Challenge (www.hourglassworkout.com)
Every Sunday I sat down and planned a week’s worth of quick, mini me school lunches, souper for the week and travel-friendly lunches. Brown-bagging what I ate during the day meant I had more control over how many calories I consumed. Lunch could be leftovers from the previous night’s dinner or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with veggies and honey mustard.
Planning lunch ahead of time helped me stick with healthy options instead of buying a greasy slice of pizza nearby. Plus, once I bought the food and had it readily available in my kitchen, I had no excuse for not packing a nutritious lunch.
I would keep a number of non-perishable, healthy breakfast options in my work desk. Many mornings, I’d bring a piece of fresh fruit from home (often a banana) and used hot water to make instant oatmeal. I kept various ingredients to mix in like dried fruit, sunflower seeds, nuts, and a jar of peanut butter in my desk, so I never had to think twice about planning my breakfast. When I got sick of eating oatmeal, I’d bring a different kind of fruit or a container of yogurt and mix in the same ingredients.
Instead of hitting up the vending machine or office candy bowl for an afternoon snack, I bought five pieces of fresh fruit each week and displayed them on my desk on Monday morning. Whenever I wanted a snack, it was the first thing I saw, so I was able to keep my munchies light and nutritious. I also hated to see fresh food go to waste, so I never let a day go by without eating a piece, which helped keep my hunger steady so I didn’t overeat later in the day.
If getting to the gym was difficult or interfered with my work schedule, I knew I’d never go, so I joined a gym close to home. I could pop in before or after work. The sight of other exercisers motivated me to get my butt in gear.
I made my exercise routine even more convenient by renting a locker at the gym. Having everything that I needed for a workout already at the gym kept me from making excuses and helped me stick to an almost-daily sweat schedule.
To switch things up with my workouts, I often asked my co-workers if they wanted to go for a run after work or a power walk on our lunch break. Having a fitness buddy to rely on really helped me get in a groove with my workouts and kept me motivated. Plus, exercising in a new way with someone else kept my workouts fun and exciting!
I created the one-drink rule for when I went out to social events. These events was what got me in trouble with my weight in the first place (hello, wine, cheese and nachos!), so I knew I needed to treat these outings differently if I wanted to fit into my clothes again. (I also didn’t want to be the girl on a diet sipping seltzer water!)
My new go-to drink was white wine because I knew I’d savor and sip it slowly. Choosing the drink that took me the longest to consume saved me calories because I passed on a second round, and usually at that point most people were heading home.
If I missed a workout during the work week , I made up for it by exercising on Saturday morning. Of course, I’d preferred to sleep in on the weekend, but my mini me is up early a.m. plus my workout always started my weekend off on the right foot. Instead of snoozing the day away, I seized it, which felt great knowing that I could enjoy the rest of my weekend stress-free! Inspired by healthy living.
While I am still on my journey, to date I have already lost 15 lbs and 5 1/2 inches. Not only do I have more energy, but I am back into clothes I had always saved pre-pregnancy, hoping I’d one day fit back into them. It’s a great feeling when the people I see daily at work even notice the difference in my appearance and new found positive attitude when under stress. My results inspired me so much (*See 3 Month Challenge pictures above) that I decided to do another Hourglass Workout 3 Month Challenge starting in April 2016 and I am hoping it will inspire you with your journey. Not only do I feel great, but I am so happy to be helping others make positive changes in their life. If you are looking to be fit, lose weight, feel better, and improve your overall health and fitness I highly suggest the Hourglass Workout (www.hourglassworkout.com)