Every day I hear tons of "reasons" why people can't exercise or eat better. There are so many fears and hesitations, but the good news is that most of them are just false myths.
The biggest offender of all? "Healthy" takes too much time.
It's really not as bad as people make it look.
That doesn't mean your life isn't busy. Your fears, stresses and concerns are totally real and are your own. I'm just here to (hopefully) take some of those away for you. I want you to see that creating a healthy lifestyle doesn't need to be as stressful as people make it out to be. It doesn't require 40 hours a week or even 20 hours a week. It's actually rewarding and will improve several aspects of your life!
Every time I hear someone give me their "reasons" (cough, excuses), I just want to tell them about all the easy changes they can start making right away! Not "when I have time" or "when my kids go back to school" or "when I find a gym I like." It doesn't need to be hard, overwhelming or time consuming.
You can easily start making healthy changes now.
Those changes toward a healthy lifestyle do NOT have to be overwhelming or intense (despite how it might appear). All those Instagram pictures and Pinterest posts you've been ga-ga'ing over - NONE OF THOSE PEOPLE GOT WHERE THEY ARE OVERNIGHT!
We ALL make small changes and by continuing to make small changes over time, we create lifestyles and some of us end up posting the meals, workouts or abs you've been staring at.
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The Myth: "Healthy" takes too much time
Raise your hand if you've been guilty of saying you don't have time. Are all of our hands raised? Mine is.
Life is busy and everyone seems to be demanding our time and attention. Whether you're working in an office, traveling or attending to little ones, I'm sure you have your hands full. Work, family, friends, me time, and a million other categories I could list -- are constantly asking for our full attention.
And getting fit? It's likely that when you hear someone talking about creating a healthy lifestyle that all you actually hear is "here's one more thing I want you to juggle in your already hectic, head barely above water life."
Let me be totally clear: I am NOT here to make you feel overwhelmed.
I am not here to convince you that you have to un-earth the sought after 25th hour.
I'm also not here to try to convince you that your life isn't as busy as you think it is.
I'm busy too and I know I would absolutely hate it if anyone tried to convince me of any of those. The thought alone is annoying.
What I am here to do is to show you that a healthy lifestyle isn't nearly as out of reach as it sometimes appears. I'm here to show you that a healthy lifestyle does not have to require a lot of time.
So the myth: "It takes too much time." Here are 3 reasons that's totally busted.
myth buster #1:
You've already made time for 90% of what you need to do
That's right. You don't have to reach into a magic bag and pull out extra hours. You've already made time for 90% of what you need to do! A healthy lifestyle doesn't have to take a lot of time.
If you're just starting out, start with eating healthy. Eating the right foods makes the biggest impact anyway. And guess what? You're already eating every day! (At least I really hope you are.)
What an anomaly!
You don't have to incorporate anything new into your day, you just have to make a few better choices.
Instead of reaching for a candy bar, eat a piece of fruit. Same amount of time. Better choice.
Instead of downing an entire bag of chips (the extra large bag of course, because that's what's sitting in your cupboard), instead of that, eat an actual meal. If you don't want to cook, store some healthy, quick freezer meals.
If you're craving a snack, eat an apple and peanut butter or a handful almonds instead of a tube of oreos.
These small changes make a HUGE difference but don't require any additional time.
Do you already go grocery shopping? Choose to store healthier foods in your cupboard. Want quick grab and go snacks? There are healthy options for that too. Try fruit leathers, nuts, pre-packaged veggies, fruits or even beef jerky. Need a sweet touch to your snack? Get trail mix.
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So now you're sitting there like: "snacks are great Amanda, but what about meals?" I need real food too. I know, I don't expect you to live off of snacks.
But cooking!? Ugh. Too much time.
Before we dive into cooking, does this sound familiar:
..."What do you want to eat?"
..."I don't know, what are you in the mood for?"
..."How about that Chinese spot?"
..."No, I think I want Mexican food."
..."Oh.. I'd rather have a burger."
"Let's just pick something up" isn't usually a quick process. Picking up something to eat means taking time to decide on what everyone wants (which we all know is a long process), going to pick it up, eating the food and driving back.
By the time you "pick up" food, you usually spend a minimum of 30 minutes getting your food. (Don't believe me? Time it next time.) On occasion, I'm sure you'll go to a nicer, sit-down restaurant that could easily take a minimum of an hour.
So instead, on a regular basis, try making 30 minute meals instead of spending 30 minutes getting food. On occasion, make a bigger, nicer meal instead of going out to eat. You can turn your kitchen into your date night. Not only will it be healthier, but it will also save you money. Win, win!
Remember, making healthy changes isn't an "all or nothing" lifestyle.
Make your habits healthy ones. On occasion when you want to indulge, grab the ice cream or fast food you've been craving. Just make the healthy choices the habits and the unhealthy choices the exception instead of the other way around.
Moral of the story: healthy changes don't have to require any more time. Instead, just make a slight change to the things that are already part of your every day life. You'll feel less overwhelmed and you'll feel great about yourself and your new choices.
Myth Buster #2:
You only need 30-60 minutes a day to exercise
That's right. There's no requirement that you need to be a gym rat exercising 2-3 hours a day. I mean, if that's your thing, go for it! But it isn't my thing and it isn't necessary to get fit.
Here's a good rule of thumb to remember: anything more than what you're doing is an improvement!
Are you planning on sitting on the couch all day watching tv? Probably not, you probably have a million things to get done. But if you don't go to the gym, what will you be doing?
Getting outside and walking for a mere 10 minutes is better than sitting on the couch, and it can also be used as some "me time" to collect your thoughts, get out of your house and get moving more than you are now. If all you can muster up is enough time to walk 10 minutes a day and you aren't exercising at all right now -- then it's a great start!
If you are ready for a good workout, remember that you can get in an effective workout in 30-60 minutes. I absolutely recommend learning how to create your own workouts. If you do, you'll be fit for life because whether you're at home, a hotel or outside, you'll understand how to get in a good workout. I cannot stress how valuable that is!! Creating your own workouts = complete freedom and control!
Now, if you're not quite ready to venture into creating your own workouts, that's totally fine! Like all things, it's something you can work up to.
As far as workout resources go, there are so many workout DVD's you can buy now. Do a google search and you'll see tons of options come up. There are also a lot of workouts on Pinterest (my go to when I'm creating my own workouts). AND there are plenty of free videos you can find on YouTube. My personal fave (and what I often use while traveling) is HASfit.
Just remember that if you want to spend a minimal amount of time exercising, you need to really use your time wisely! In order to get in an effective 30 minute workout, you need it to be fairly intense. That doesn't mean go so hard you can't walk the next day. (If you need help finding your pace, I have a whole blog post about it here.)
If your goal is 30 minutes of exercise, don't spend 15 minutes "resting"!!
It's only 30 minutes. You can rest when you're done. Or, if you need 15 minutes to rest, know that you need to plan 45 minutes of exercise time so you actually get your 30 minutes of exercise and your 15 minutes of rest. You know yourself best. Do what you can, push yourself and use your time wisely.
Remember that for both exercise and healthy eating, you'll be most successful if the details are individualized toward your likes, dislikes and abilities.
myth buster #3:
You already have the time, you're just wasting it (99% of the time)
Remember how I told you that I'm not going to tell you that you aren't actually as busy as you think you are. This isn't that.
Is it possible that every single minute of your day is booked and there's not even 5 minutes that you could spare? Yes. It's absolutely possible. And if that's you, bless your heart! You are a total rockstar!
But most likely, you're not using every moment of your day effectively. Most people are spending at least 45-60 minutes a day doing something "expendable."
Don't get me wrong, rest and relaxation is a very important part of life and I'm all about balance. But how much time do you spend watching tv? Or scrolling through Facebook? Or playing Candy Crush? Or watching cat videos? You're laughing because you know exactly what I'm talking about, right?
Don't worry, I'm guilty of binge watching Netflix too. Like I said, rest, relaxation and balance are vital parts of our lives. But what I've learned is that a good night of binge watching might be totally called for on a Saturday night, but it's not necessary in the middle of my day. And it's definitely not necessary every day.
If it's between watching one more show or getting in a quick workout, it's definitely the better choice to go to the gym. And if you don't have time to get to the gym, find a 30 minute workout you can do in your house. If you can only spare 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week, that's a great place to start!
Analyze your day. Take a good, hard look at how you're spending your time. Are you going to find that coveted 25th hour? No. But most likely, you will find time that you could be using better.
If you end up looking at your day and decide that you're not necessarily booked out every single minute, but you really, REALLY like the layout and you don't want to mess with your schedule, there's still hope!
Look again at small changes you could make. Can you exercise during your lunch or while kids are sleeping? Can you wake up earlier to get to the gym? Can you go to the gym right after work?
"Finding time" is often more about priorities, motivation and mindset than it is about actual time.
Remember, anything more than you're doing now is progress and is part of creating your healthy lifestyle.
The ironic part is that once you exercise, you'll feel more productive. You'll accomplish tasks quicker and you'll have more clarity to think straight and feel less frazzled - all of which will actually help you feel like you have more time.
Let the myth now be officially debunked! A healthy lifestyle isn't time consuming, it's just a matter of using your time differently. Try it. You'll be grateful!
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