When Life Gets Busy

Busy Times

I don’t know about you all, but this time of year is just crazy for us.

My oldest daughter is graduating from college in a couple of weeks, my second daughter is finishing up her Freshman year, my oldest son is frantically trying to prepare for his upcoming ACT and finish his math so he can have a break this summer, and the four other little boys have end-of-the-year activities, competitions, concerts, and more.

Here is my oldest daughter receiving the Academic Excellence Medal in Engineering for her university. (A little mom brag here. 🙂 )

Awards Day

It is certainly busy, busy, busy. My husband and I have to coordinate our calendars carefully to make sure that the right people end up at the right place at the right time!

So what happens to my commitment to healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle when life gets super busy?

Well, in the past, I would let the crazy schedule be an excuse to “fall off” my diet plan, eat fast food because I didn’t have time to cook, and any thought of exercise would fly right out of the window.

And predictably, those busy times would also be times where I gained more weight, became even more unfit, and felt guilty over my lack of willpower.

Fortunately, a busy life does not have to result in weeks of fast food, no exercise, and a general lack of concern for all things healthy.

I learned a lot of things during my years of weight maintenance, and one of the most important lessons I learned was to let nothing be an excuse for “falling off the wagon.” Not busy times, not rainy weather, not tragedy, not stressful situations – nothing.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that committing to that is not always easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult because when life gets busy, our first inclination is to fall back into old food and lifestyle habits. That’s what always seemed to happen to me.

It took me a lot of practice to not let the busy times dictate whether or not I would stay on the healthy lifestyle path. Even though we are super busy, we have not gone out to eat at all, I still find time to exercise first thing in the morning, and I have not served the kids hot dogs or chicken nuggets!

What I have done is this:

I plan ahead as much as possible.

When John and I compare those busy calendars, I also plan what food will look like for that day. If we have to be at an event at 6:00 – we eat an early dinner and then I offer the little kids a healthy snack either at the event or when we get home. If we are going to be out for any length of time, I pack what we need in advance so I’m not caught unaware and feel any temptation to “swing by Chick-fil-A.”

For me, eating healthy and exercising in the midst of a busy time not only keeps me healthy and fit, but also helps relieve the stress I naturally feel when life is crazy. It almost helps me stay grounded, if that makes any sense.

So if you have busy times coming up or are in the midst of one right now – I want to encourage you to plan ahead so that you can keep moving forward with your goals and not stagnate or fall behind.

What do you do with regards to your healthy eating and lifestyle plan when your life gets busy? Any tips? Diane

21 thoughts on “When Life Gets Busy

  1. HappinessSavouredHot says:

    Yes, Diane, nothing is an excuse. 🙂

    I’ve read that if you’re too busy to have a healthy lifestyle… you’re too busy, period.

    I try and make choices that enable me to have time for my health (and my family member’s health). For example, I “only” work 35 hours a week, and I let go of some of the non important stuff. 🙂

  2. blackhuff says:

    Congratulations to your daughter. That’s a wonderful achievement.
    Yes, planning is such a big thing in my life too. When I get busy or know my calendar will become busy, I plan ahead.

  3. Jody - Fit at 55 says:

    PLANNING is one of the most important keys to this Diane – you are so right!!!!! Got to do it with a busy or even non busy life!

    Congrats on your wonderful family – beautiful!

  4. Marc says:

    Congrats to your young achievers! Their successes are a reflection of the excellent parenting they received. I see other successful maintenance bloggers that also strategize their food ahead of time so there are no surprises. Fortunately for me, I don’t believe there is a Chick-fil-A within a 3 hour drive in any direction:)

  5. Marz says:

    This isn’t related to this specific post, but I just want to say I’m glad you exist out here and your blog exists. I’m trying to get fitter and loose weight. I am focusing more on the fitness than the weight (as it feels like something I have more control over) but I still do want to loose some, even if I never end up “skinny”. Well a great many of my friends are either really into whatever crazy fad diet is around and preaching it like the only way,… or posting discouraging articles how any sort of diet (or for that matter any attempt to cut calories) won’t work and absolutely everyone will gain it back (implying its pointless to try?). I am very moderate in the changes I’m making, eating more real food and vegges and less junk and exercising a lot more. I don’t see how that could be a bad thing. Its very reassuring that there is at least one person out there who has lost a large amount and kept it off a long time.

  6. Janis says:

    I have nothing good to add to the main question because my general solution for eating when life gets busy is that I just stop doing it or forget to do it, which is not the best advice.

    I just wanted to congratulate your daughter on her engineering buttkickingness. 🙂

  7. L says:

    I’m so glad you picked this topic to write about today, Diane, because I have been struggling with busy-ness for weeks. Busy days turn to exhausted nights, and the temptation is to sit down, turn the TV on or pick up a book, and escape the real world and its difficulties. Your blog today reminds me that staying healthy is a fight against old habits and new temptations, and if I’m going to be successful in the fight, I better get my armor on. Over the weekend I decided to make some big changes in my food plan, but I know staying away from old habits will be hard. Plan, plan, plan, and then plan. That’s the answer, I’m sure. I’m also sure it won’t be easy, which is why I’m happy to be able to stop by your blog for support. Thanks for being here!

  8. L says:

    Oh, and congratulations to your daughter. I work with a group of design engineer–incredibly bring and talented GUYS. So glad for another female in the mix. 😉

  9. Losing The Rolls says:

    This is a great reminder and in my case very timely. My husband and I work for the same company and carpool. This week he has training which will keep us at least a couple hours later and then heavier traffic commuting home. If we don’t plan and possibly prepare our meals ahead of time, eating out will be our easy way out. I don’t want to (anymore) use late days as an excuse. Having a plan this week will hopefully keep us on track.

  10. Babbalou says:

    First of all, congratulations to your daughter! I have no particular secrets for coping with a busy schedule. I do make sure to shop and load up on fresh fruit and vegetables and like to do prep work in advance. It is helpful for me to have washed salad greens and cut up raw vegetables in my frig, cooked rice, cooked chicken meat and maybe some meatballs in a sauce in the freezer and a kettle of soup in my frig. This combination can get me through most of a busy week. Salads, soup, stirfry and meatballs with rice are my go to busy weeks meals. And by the way, my meatballs are half vegetable and then I put vegetables in the sauce. Healthier and quite tasty. There are good and bad aspects to not being able to eat wheat – the good is that fast food and most take out isn’t even an option.

  11. PlumPetals says:

    I totally agree Diane. I feel like things are crazy busy for me more often than not. Before I would let that busy-ness get in the way (use it as an excuse) to neglect my health. It’s still not easy, but keeping my meals simple and staying focused on the bigger picture really helps. I still struggle, but each day I’m learning to go with the flow more and more.

  12. Joy says:

    Congrats to your daughter that’s terrific :). Yes I find this time is busier especially with the nice weather finally here. I’m still learning how to eat healthy put your right it’s all about planning a head 🙂

  13. Lisa says:

    Yep! I plan ahead too. I schedule my workouts each week on my Google Calender and treat them just like appointments that I can’t miss. I schedule everything else around it–friends, etc.

  14. Nancy says:

    You are so right. When life gets extra stressful it’s more important than ever to plan healthy meals and fit in your exercise time. My husband had a major heart attack last week and spent several days in the ICU. I did the best I could meal-wise (thanks to a friend who did my healthy grocery shopping for me) but had no time to exercise beyond my basic daily stretching/yoga. Last night, after our first family dinner in over a week, I went for a walk with one of my children. This morning I made time to get to the gym on my way to the grocery store. That may sound selfish but I cannot take care of my husband and children if I am not feeling my best. My making time to prepare healthy whole foods and go for a walk or get to they gym is what keeps me going. If you don’t think you have the time, look again. Your family needs you and you are worth it.

  15. KarenJ says:

    Great topic as always! Although I am now an “empty nester,” I am trying to start a business while working a full time job, so I’m out most nights of the week. One of the things that makes us maintainers different is that we are always thinking ahead for the week and planning to stay on track. For me that means cooking Sunday mornings to have meals for the week, planning my lunches every day, and planning for when I can’t be home. I just started going country line dancing on tuesdays, so I’ll stop at Wendy’s and pick up a salad. If I don’t need to go somewhere right from work, I’ll make sure to “pit stop” at home to eat before heading out. I never leave anything to chance because what I eat is one of the most important decisions I make every day. We all get busy, but planning ahead means making our health a priority. Congrats on your children’s accomplishments!

  16. Chris says:

    Diane- I think you hit on one of the biggest problems with a healthy lifestyle which is planning.
    I’ve learned a couple of things that certainly help me. One is that with the right knowledge, there are many places now (including fast foods) that do have very acceptable healthy meals if you take the time to learn and plan on what to eat there. But the best lesson for me is to always carry one of the several types of diet shakes and/or bars so that you never, never have to use the excuse of eating poorly just because you didn’t plan the day properly.

  17. Liam Rubel says:

    All are having busy schedules nowadays which gives them option to make excuses that we couldn’t perform this task, i couldn’t did that all in all. But the main things excuses can’t lead our lives we need to plan every bit to avoid making silly excuses.

  18. BlessedMama says:

    It’s so easy to get off track. When schedules get crazy, moms get tired and find shortcuts to preparing meals. Yours is such a great reminder that we are important enough to eat well no matter what is going on around us.

  19. Paula says:

    I am that person who falls off the wagon. I do not let exercise slip, but the diet can go straight to hell in hand basket if I stress out, eat one wrong item. It’s like the gates open up and it is an eat all I can before I catch myself. This post reminds me I have to NOT let life get in the way.

  20. Alejandra @ wishfulshrinking says:

    All it takes is an extremely hectic week for me to fall by the wayside. Even if I don’t have the time or am too tired to plan any meals, after our weekly grocery shop, I’ll chop it all up. Almost everything. My fridge has neatly stacked tupperware of things ready to be cooked, so if I have to make a dinner on the fly, I’ve taken out the prep work.

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