Last week, I posted a blog post that I had a lot of fun writing, as well as reading your responses to it. In case you missed it, check it out here, then come back and read this post: How I Stay Active Working A “9-5” Desk Job
With the permission of Lisa, I wanted to share a really great tip to stay motivated to move more, as well as ways to get the movement in. Here was her response to my post- I’ve bolded the parts that really stood out to me:
I work as a 911 dispatcher overnight. I work a long week of 12 hour shifts (7pm-7am every night except Wednesday night off) then a short week (off every night and only work 4 hours Tuesday night and 12 hours Wednesday night). I also have a one hour commute each way. I’ve gained about 20lbs since going back to this schedule about 7 months ago. When I was working during the day, I was going to OrangeTheory classes in the evening and doing some weights at another gym on my own. When I went back to working nights (by choice), there are literally no OrangeTheory class times that I can go to, other than in my short week. I didn’t feel like paying what I was paying to only be able to to OTF every other week and ended my membership. So, I used excuse after excuse. We are also, literally, tethered to our desks at work with our headsets and can’t just freely get up and go to the bathroom when we want. There has to be a certain number of people answering the phones and working the radios at all times so we have to wait for someone to take our spot when we need to use the restroom – definitely hinders the water drinking.
Finally, about 6 weeks ago, I decided enough was enough. I started using the treadmill desk at work when I can. I had forgotten we had it – it’s at the other end of the room from where I usually sit when I’m on the call-taking side of my job. I can’t really walk very fast and I have to stop when I’m doing a lot of typing, but it’s better than sitting. We are allowed several breaks during our shifts so I’m utilizing those better as well. I also have myself on a better sleeping schedule during my long week. I don’t really have time to get to the gym before I have to turn around and head back into work, but I have accumulated a stability ball, yoga mat, and a few weights at home and I use those daily. Between those things, and YouTube videos (yoga, dance, barre), I make sure I get in at least some activity every day before I go back into work.
On my short work weeks, I go to the gym as much as possible and either do some cardio on the bike or arc trainer plus some weights.
Between that and getting my eating on track, I’m down about 10lbs. (<– !!!!!B2B insert)
I also tend to lose sight of the “everyday” if that makes sense. I’m constantly looking back and realizing 3 months, 6 months, 1 year…have passed and I could’ve been at my goal like 10 times over. So, I put a yearly calendar up on my wall and I mark an X over every day that I consciously moved – could be a gym workout, could be 10 minutes of abs on the floor while watching Netflix, any kind of activity that got me off my butt. It has helped me tremendously to visually watch the days pass by.
THIS! This right here gives me ALL.THE.FEELS. There are so many amazing things going on in this post: self-reflection, tough-love/being real, breaking things down, taking it one day at a time, embracing doing what you can, when you can & every little bit counts.
But, I think the biggest takeaway that I have after reading this- and the reason why I wanted to share it with you- is the fact that she a. acknowledged the excuses she was making for not being able to workout or simply be more active and b. that she took action. Nothing huge, but I think that’s exactly why she’s been successful in keeping up with her goal of moving more and losing weight.
So often we get caught up with how overwhelming it can be to make a change like this. We know what we want: to make healthier choices, to be more active, to make movement a priority, to lose weight, but when it comes down to taking those first steps towards making these changes, it can be really scary. What Lisa has done, though, to take these first steps is what is so great. She isn’t telling herself that she needs to get up at 3am to get in an intense workout before working a 12 hour day or that she needs to go to the gym after she’s done. She isn’t saying that the only workout that counts is an hour at the gym. She isn’t doing an all or nothing approach- she is doing her best to to make small choices to get more movement in, which add up to so much more in the end:
She started with using a treadmill desk, which she’s lucky enough to have in her office. She’s also utilizing her breaks- I know I’ve been guilty of just working all day and not breaking, but the days I step out even for a 5 or 10 minute walk I feel so much better! She’s acquired a few pieces of at-home workout equipment to make it easier to fit workouts in. And, my favorite- she has a calendar hanging up and she uses it to mark off the days she moves. I think this is huge! Just the sheer act of being able to see how much movement you’re getting in is so helpful to continue to move. It reminds you to take it one day at a time, rather than getting overwhelmed with the bigger picture of weeks, months and even years. By focusing on each day, you can appreciate what you get in for movement in be happy about that… not to mention, it’s motivation to keep going!
If you find yourself looking for something new or different to help you meet goals or feel less scared about getting back into something, I really suggest this calendar idea. Start small and focus on what you are able to accomplish in each day. And, if you find yourself looking at the calendar and realizing days or weeks have gone by with no “X” marked off, you know it’s time to have a little chat with yourself (or a friend or a health coach!) to try and figure out why this is the case. Are you stressed? Tired? Busy? Once you pinpoint what is going on, you can probably figure out a way to sneak in even 10 minutes of movement (and notice how I say movement, and not workout- start small, remember?).
Again, I would love to hear your thoughts- do you have any tips to share? I’m always looking for new ways to get movement in, and to help share motivation to the B2B community. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing such great tips and for sharing your story- I absolutely love stories like this!