Today we are going to get a personal. Previously, my husband was working a job that required long hours and I was working full time with an hour commute, while taking care of our two kids (one of which was a newborn!). We were working 75% of the day, with the remainder just surviving.
What does that have to do with our diet? When we our work life balance is off balance, our diet is the FIRST thing to suffer. In those moments, we switch to whatever is quickest, which is fast food, restaurant foods, and convenience foods.
Think about the time you had a big project at work and had to stay late at the office – you likely ate take-out or something from the vending machine. How about when a coworker was on vacation and you worked an extra day (or two!) than normal - you likely just picked up a burger and fries at a drive through or reheated TV dinner at the end of a long day.
These situations happen to all of us but you have to set boundaries for not only work life balance but to help you reach your health goals.
Work Life Balance Steps
1. Write down what you want your priorities to be:
For us, that meant a better balance of family and work. This meant that my husband found a position that didn’t require long hours and I decreased my work hours to 4 days per week. If physical health is a high priority to you, blocking off time - just like appointments and meetings, needs to put on your calendar.
2. Consider money.
Long hours may be padding your paycheck but when you go through the drive-through multiple days a week, that extra money is going to a fast food restaurant instead of your savings account. Meal prep once or twice a week will help you not only stick to your health goals, but it will keep more money in your bank account.
3. Learn to say no.
No is a powerful word. By learning to stay no, I have stayed true to my priorities and no longer allow others to dictate what my priorities should be. Saying no to after-work-drinks with co-workers multiple times a week will allow you to make it to your evening workout and cut out empty calories.
4. Put your own mask on first.
"Put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting those around you” – the mantra of flight attendants everywhere. We need to put this advice into our daily self-care. Self-care isn’t just face masks and manicures, it is getting enough sleep each night, exercising regularly, eating foods that make you feel good, and cutting down on stress.
5. Be flexible and plan.
There will always be a week that you are overbooked, stretched thin, or have to work extra hours. Taking time each week to make a menu plan and meal prep simple things will give you healthy grab-and-go foods without spending time in the drive through.
Tell me in the comments below, what are you doing to maintain your diet and fitness goals in your work life balance?
Until next time,
Amanda Rosenberg RDN