living a balanced life

No Social Life?

The common questions I receive from readers is usually one of two things: 1) How did I get started? and 2) How do you balance your work, workout and social life?

It’s hard, that’s for sure. Creating time for all of those things is often a challenge and sometimes things have to be eliminated. Living a busy life is a blessing and a curse: it keeps me from sitting on my couch on the weekends and stuffing my face from boredom AND it can be exhausting trying to fit everything in.

Obviously, work is essential. I have to pay my bills. I spend my 8 hours a day at work and I get creative with my time. I use my breaks and lunch hours to do things I enjoy like going for walks in nice weather (extra exercise) or I read a book, or work on writing MY book. Finding an hour here and there is often just enough time to do something fun and decompress before heading back to work. Time management helps a lot.

The second most important thing in my life is two-fold: my fitness and my boyfriend Michael. He’s an important part of my life and I need to make time for our relationship. It helps a lot that we like to cook together and that we like to do ACTIVE things together (like biking, hiking or snowshoeing). Doing fitness together on the weekends helps keep us connected and I get my exercise in.

Michael and Me

My friends are pretty understanding of what my workout schedule is like and are accommodating. And honestly,  a lot of my friends are super busy too and they plan their social activities far in advance as well.

I prioritize fitness and plan my SOCIAL life around it. Sure, that might not sound like as much fun but I always fit both things in. It just might not be an immediate gratification kind of thing. My life is pretty structured–even the fun stuff is scheduled into my calender. So last minute “Hey want to grab a drink tonight?” kind of plans sometimes don’t happen often.

Girl Time!

I make plans with my friends on a routine basis.  I’ll get a pedicure with my friend Star about once a month or every other month and we frequently get together for a homemade dinner (her place or ours).  My friend Robyn and I liked to meet each other at the gym and workout together. She’s way into fitness too so that helps! Two birds, one stone!

Robyn and Me

My other friends — Anna, Kat, Ember, Sam, and several others are good happy hour friends. It’s fun to meet up for some one on one girl time. Then of course, Michael and I have couple friends that we see together. The couple “date nights” are often game nights, homemade pizza night, movie nights, happy hours, or in the summer time–group hikes!

Some things had to go by the wayside. I rarely take the time to do things like watch TV or paint my nails. I definitely watch more Netflix during the ugly winter time, but as a whole TV is less of a priority. When I take the time to sit down and read, I usually have help. 🙂

I prioritize the things in my life because it all has value. I need down time with friends. I need down time with Michael and the kitties. I also need time to myself (the gym is great for that).

QUESTION: What are your priorities? How do you balance your social life with everything else?

How I Stay Motivated

(This is part of the “Ask me Anything” Series.)

Ivie asked: “I would love to know what you do to motivate yourself?”

Bonnie also asked: “I think it’d be interesting to read about how to stay motivated to eat healthy when all you want to do is lie on the sofa and snack on chips (obviously I’m speaking from experience).”

These are great questions and they are questions I get all the time. “Motivation” seems to be a hard one for a lot of people. For me it was an easy decision because I had to lose weight. I was developing diabetes and had a mess of other health problems. There really wasn’t any other decision for me to make than to lose the weight.

The crucial component to maintaining my weight LOSS is twofold:

1. Exercise. Moving my body 5 days a week.

2. A lifestyle change. My lifestyle has changed a great deal. I’m a different person than I was before and I like my life. I want to continue that. Just because I lost the weight doesn’t mean I can sit on my butt and not do anything to keep it off!

It’s All About Balance

I LOVE working out. I grew to love the high and working out FEELS good to me. Swimming is my Zen Time. It relaxes me. It clears my mind. Running was my Aggression Time. I got a Super Runner’s High and whenever I was frustrated or mad about anything, running purged that.

Biking is my Fun time. It’s when I get to explore the city and see new places. Hiking is my Adventure Time. I love exploring the beauty that is the Oregon Wilderness.

Growing to love activities like the ones I listed above have enriched my life AND kept the weight off. Plus it’s all the motivation I need. Since I like doing these things I don’t really think about “motivation.”

Sure there are plenty of nights when I am filled with dread about going to the gym. Driving there. Parking hassles. Crowds. All the treadmills full. Annoying people. Wanting to just go home and watch TV…

Then I remind myself: “I will feel better if I work out!”

And I always do! Working out is also a habit now. It’s part of my daily life, my schedule. In fact if I miss a day my whole schedule and routine feels off.

Now for the food…I think my blog is all about BALANCE. I eat in moderation, I count my calories but I also don’t deny myself anything. If I want a treat, I eat it. I may not eat an entire piece of cheesecake by myself but I still enjoy myself. I give in to cravings all the time. But I try to figure out “healthier” ways to enjoy the things I crave.

If you’re lacking motivation, does money help or hurt? For example, if you pay $300 a year for a gym membership does that motivate you to go so you get your moneys worth? It does for me.

The Great Gym Experiment

One gym took it a step further. I recently read an article about a gym experiment run by a Harvard grad that is very intriguing.

“Groups of exercisers at two different gyms receive a free membership—if they keep to their workout schedule. If they don’t, a $25 fee applies for every week that they slip up.”

I think this is AWESOME. It’s a brilliant idea. If health and happiness don’t motivate people to work out, would this gym model do the trick?

Geniuses! I think it is a fantastic idea. As someone who is a regular gym goer, it would be great for me because I’d save money and get a great workout. On the flipside, the gyms would still make there money because they can count on the percentage of people that quit going. It’s a win-win in my eyes.

QUESTION: What do you think of this Gym Experiment? Would it work? Would it motivate you?