I’m Too Busy to Get Healthy (And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves)

Written By Marla Harvey

On August 20, 2019
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       No time to work out, how much time did you spend on social media today? Binge watching Netflix for hours, but don’t have time to cook a meal? Can’t find an hour for yourself to recharge, but you can scroll through Instagram or Facebook for hours? I gotta call BS on you right now. You see, we make time for the things we want to do. We make excuses for everything else.

I get it –  you’re tired, you’ve had a busy day, you’re overwhelmed, life is hectic, the kids are fighting again, and all you want to do is sit on your couch with your favorite snack, binge on Netflix shows, and escape for a little while. I know that feeling, I’ve been there many times, and sometimes it’s good to just veg out and escape every once in a while. But we can’t do that every day, or every weekend! Here’s the reality about escaping – you might feel good for the time you’re in fantasy land, but nothing will have changed in real life once the escape is over. If you want to improve your health and your well being, you have to make the decision to make a change. You can start small, with even as little as 10-15 minutes a day to do something good for yourself and your health that will pay off in dividends in the future.

I Don’t Have Time to Exercise (Yes You Do!)

Remember when you were a kid and you loved to play all day or go to the park or swimming? Who knew that all that play was so good for us? Studies show that regular physical activity can improve your mood, your ability to function and your quality of life (read about all the benefits here: https://health.gov/moveyourway/).

This doesn’t have to be a trip to the gym – it doesn’t even have to cost money – just get outside!  You can go for a walk or do some exercises at the park or even in your living room. Got kids? They love exercise, it’s playtime for them and it’s an awesome way to spend quality time together – it’s a two for one with budgeting your time! How about spending quality time with your significant other over a fun workout dance session – what could be more fun? There are many free videos available on YouTube, so find something you both like and get to it! As a Zumba instructor, I’m partial to this dance fitness routine, but there are many others out there. Just these small steps will improve your state of mind and your overall well-being and hopefully you’ll be motivated to stick with and keep working towards your best health!

I Wish I Could Eat Better, But I Don’t Have Time to Cook Healthy Meals (Yes You Do!)

If you’re able to fit in the workouts (good for you!), but you are one of the people who thinks you don’t have time to cook healthy meals, guess what? You can chop vegetables and prep foods while watching that show and not miss anything – how cool is that? Meal prepping for the week is a great way to set yourself up for success and stay away from the drive thru or food delivery service. One of the biggest challenges I experienced when I adopted a vegan lifestyle was the shift from using ready made foods or getting food to go (we live in a vegan food desert, lol) to making almost every meal everyday. I had to actually prepare in advance for meals because I was cooking almost everything from scratch, and sometimes things take longer to make than I’d like. With balancing homeschool, work outside the home, work on my online business, and still being a rockstar mom, I would love to have the option to skip cooking at all, but since it’s not an option, I make it work because feeding us as nutritious as possible is a non-negotiable. I accomplish this by planning ahead, making extra, and using my time wisely when I’m in the kitchen. And you might have guessed, I don’t spend a lot of time in front of my screen when I could be doing something that is more beneficial for my life.

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I Can’t Afford to Eat Healthy (But I Eat Out Every Week)

You know what’s expensive? Pre-packaged and pre-prepared foods, processed foods that claim to be healthy, eating out, and ordering in. According to forbes.com, we spend 3-5 times as much on pre-prepared meals and food service delivery than we would if we just make it at home ourselves. Studies show over and over again, when it comes to eating healthy, it’s not as expensive as you might think, and it’s cheaper than what you’re probably already spending.

If you’re finding that you’re spending more when you go to the grocery store, you’re probably buying too many convenience items that are marked higher than items that require a little work. Next time you’re shopping, instead of getting prepackaged salads, buy the lettuce and cut it up yourself. Same thing with veggies, rice, pasta, meat. Anything that is already done for you is going to cost more, so in order to save a little money, try doing it yourself. Here’s three suggestions to eat healthier without spending more at the store: 

  • Buy in bulk (hello Costco); 
  • Buy what’s in season and on sale; and 
  • Limit buying processed foods. 

You can thank me for saving you money later!

I Want to Be Healthier, But I Can’t Give Up Tacos (or Your Favorite Indulgence)

This is probably the real reason behind every objection I’ve ever gotten to eating healthier, and it was mine for a long time. We just don’t want to give up the foods we’ve grown accustomed to, no matter how bad they might be for us. I feel you so hard on this one, I grew up eating the best southern and Italian meals you can imagine – my grandmother would make fried chicken and biscuits and gravy for breakfast on Saturday mornings and homemade ravioli for dinner! Can you imagine waking up to the smell of fresh homemade biscuits and crackling chicken in the cast iron skillet – it’s probably as close to Heaven as I’ve been here on Earth! That same grandmother, who was an amazing cook, is suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease and she hasn’t known who I am for at least three years; I would give up every decadent meal and dessert for just one more normal day with her. You see, what we didn’t know in the 80’s (and some people will still argue against it and doctors still don’t share this with their patients) is how diet can affect your health and lead to a host of diseases, including Alzheimer’s. There’s no doubt in my mind that if we had been more health conscious as a family, my grandmother wouldn’t have Alzheimer’s, my uncle wouldn’t have died from cancer before age 60, my mom wouldn’t have Type 2 Diabetes, and my great aunt wouldn’t have died from cardiac arrest after dialysis at 63. I could go on but the reality is this: the food choices you make today affect your health tomorrow, and I can’t be at my best health for as long as I can when I make those bad choices.

You have to ask yourself: “Am I ok with managing my health on medications because I refuse to quit eating junk?” And maybe you are. You are free to keep making excuses, just recognize when you’re choosing not to eat healthier, you’re also choosing to put yourself at greater risk for a food related disease and reduced quality of life.  

I Don’t Have Time to Take a Break (Yes You Do)

I included this because so many women I know are going all day everyday, filling every waking hour with activity, going to bed exhausted, waking up tired and doing it all over again. 

Every. Single. Day. Often when asked about taking some time for themselves, they reply “I’m too busy”. Being busy has become something of a badge of honor for women, but honestly “busy” is a dirty word that means we either don’t have control over our lives or we are trying to keep up with some crazy myth of being a superwoman who does it all. I know, I’ve been there, and my hair fell out, I gained weight, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t stay focused, and sometimes I couldn’t breathe. And I will never go back to being a person who sacrifices my mental, physical and emotional health on the altar of busyness. 

As hard as this might be for you, you need to make some time for yourself, no matter how difficult it is or how guilty you feel. Because you life depends on it. Chronic stress increases inflammation in the body, and inflammation is the trigger for many diseases, including heart disease, some cancers, and a host of autoimmune diseases. So can you find half an hour a day (hiding on the toilet in the bathroom doesn’t count) just for you? I didn’t think I could either, so I set my alarm to wake up an hour (or two) earlier so I can have some quiet time to read, pray, exercise and write. I am NOT a morning person, so this requires effort on my part; when the alarm goes off and I want to stay in bed, I remind myself how important it is to have some quiet time, and I get up and start my day. The results? I feel so much better and more productive during the day and I am able to show up in a more positive way, all because I took some time for myself! 

Maybe getting up early doesn’t work for you…what about an hour in the evening or midday? Can you find an hour or two once a week to get away for a coffee or a meal with a friend? Once a month? What about taking an hour to recharge in whatever way feels good to you? I love shopping alone – give me a solo trip to Target and I’m good! I don’t even have to buy anything; I just love walking through the aisles and window shopping. Maybe you love getting a mani/pedi or a massage – do it! Self care is not selfish – it is necessary in order to show up and be at your best for everyone depending on you. 

If you still think you can’t make time for yourself, consider this: Jesus did. Several times during his three year ministry, He withdrew away from the crowds to be alone and pray, or spend time with his disciples. I would argue that His mission was far far more important than anything we could ever do, so when we make excuses for why we can’t they are just that – excuses. After all you’re not God, who, by the way, also rested.

After God created the world, He created a sabbath and rested. He is God and didn’t need to rest, but He knew that we would come along, and in our effort to be all and do all for everyone, we would need the example of taking a day to rest and recharge. Do you have a day of rest, where you allow your mind and body to renew so you can continue in this fast paced world? If not, can you add a day of rest to your schedule (and stick to it)?

   

Next Steps???

It’s hard to implement every change at once, but small changes do make a difference. So what can you do today to improve your health for the future? I’d love you to comment and let the community know – you might just have the answer someone else needs! 

My prayer is that you will take a step towards improving your health today – whether it’s adding a workout to your day, eating a healthy home cooked meal, or just saying no to adding something to your schedule so you can say yes to rest! If you would like more info on how to implement some of these changes, check out my recent post on making a lifestyle change, and if you need help figuring out your next steps, I’m just a message away – let me know how I can help! 

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