• A 9-5 Commitment

    February 8, 2012

    Good morning!

    Let’s get right to it because I want to hear your responses to the Question of the Day!


    After CrossFit last night, I snacked on a bunch of Pretzel Crisps + hummus while dinner cooked. I’m not sure how many crisps I ate, but enough to finish off the hummus!

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    On the menu for dinner: roasted broccoli.

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    And Soy-Glazed Cod, which is the best fish recipe ever. It’s super simple to prepare and it takes no time at all to cook.

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    After dinner, I enjoyed a few pieces of dark chocolate. I love this stuff. And I (usually)only need a little bit to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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    This morning, I woke up thinking about Teddie Peanut Butter. We haven’t had it in our house for a couple of weeks now, so I finally made a special trip to Stop & Shop yesterday to buy a jar. We typically do our grocery shopping at Whole Foods, but I refuse to buy Teddie there because it costs like $6 a jar and everywhere else it’s $3-4.

    Anyway, Teddie is just so perfect in oatmeal, so I made myself some Super Creamy Oatmeal and added two huge scoops to it. So delicious!!

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    Feel Great Weight

    When I decided to lose weight, I worked full-time in an office where I sat at a desk for 40 hours each week. I also worked part-time at a healthclub and took night classes to complete my Master’s degree. Monday through Thursday, I’d leave my house at 5:00 AM and not return until after 10:00 PM. Obviously, my schedule was a challenge, but I knew if I started to make excuses, I’d never lose the weight, so I toughened up and created a fail-proof plan that helped me drop more than 20 pounds. See the slideshow of what helped me, and how it can work for you too.

    Question of the Day

    How do you stick to your healthy habits with a busy schedule?

    P.S. Interesting article: Coffee Vs. Tea: Which is Better for You?

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    { 57 comments… read them below or add one }

    Nicole February 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I plan ahead! I prep food on Sundays to have available all week. I compare my work schedule to workout goals and have a plan in mind for the week that I can tweak as conflicts arise.


    Fiona @ Well-Fed Redhead February 8, 2012 at 7:29 am

    I always make sure I get enough sleep. It can be a challenge, but when I’m tired I am much more likely to forgo exercise and seek comforting food in large quantities.


    Kelsey February 8, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Prepping foods the night before really helps me make sure I have a balanced diet the next day… although I often end up throwing my lunch together in the morning, it always ends up better when I plan ahead!


    Kara February 8, 2012 at 7:34 am

    A 3:30 AM alarm wake up call allows me to make no excuses to get a work out in as a single mom who works 7 days a week.


    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh February 8, 2012 at 7:36 am

    That cod looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it!

    That’s funny, I asked a similar question yesterday! I’m in the throes of several home improvement projects that are sucking the life out of me. But one thing that hasn’t suffered is our workouts and food. We plan our workouts a month in advance so we check the schedule and do it, period. Our health comes first because for so long, it didn’t.


    Cait @ Beyond Bananas February 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I just make my health a priority.. because it IS! I wake up at 4:30 to go to the gym before work.. so I can spend time with my dog and fiance after work! I pack my lunches at night so I don’t have to worry about it an an ungodly hour.. and prep my meals on the weekend. Once you fall into a routine.. it is easy!


    Faith February 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I have to make a routine of it, like I did in college. Unless there was something seriously wrong, I went to the gym right after my last class of the day, didn’t even let my butt hit my bed for a few minutes before going. It just became an engrained part of my busy day! Now, with a different type of busy schedule, I have to make sure the exercise is fun. I love practicing at the studio, so I don’t have to coerce myself to go. When it feels like just another chore from a laundry list, it’s harder to fit in!


    Anna February 8, 2012 at 7:55 am

    When I was super busy with life, I always found it easier to be mindful with making healthier choices. I could make time to prep for the week and go to the gym. Now that I am a SAHM of a 9 mo. old, I have NO TIME — and no break in sight! Kids create too much inconsistency but it’s worth it.


    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 8, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Great question! I’m all about planning ahead, so any meals I can make on the weekend for lunches during the week are usually made on Sundays. I also get up really early to work out, because really, apart from sleeping, what else is going to get in the way at 5am!? A lot of my friends ask how I get up so early, but over time, my body has just become used to it. A day just isn’t the same without a morning workout, and it gives me time to sort out my plans for that day in my head.


    Emily @ The Swallow Flies February 8, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Planning meals ahead – and buying a big lunch box – is key. Another great idea for office jobs is to use an exercise ball as a chair – instead of a comfy desk chair. Then your core is engaged all. day. long. I am lucky enough to work with 150 goofy ninth graders, so I’m running around from “9 to 5” most of the time anyway. 🙂


    Khushboo February 8, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Planning ahead is to stick to healthy habits despite busy schedule! Batch cook, carry healthy snacks,schedule in workouts even if they are short burst–> whatever it takes to keep temptation away!


    Hillary February 8, 2012 at 8:01 am

    I have pretty much the same schedule that you just mentioned: I work full time as a teacher (at school from 6:45-3:30 every day) and I’m working on my Master’s (at grad class two days a week from 4-10). I really try to make myself a priority, even if that means a little extra planning and prep on my part. I schedule workouts, I prep meals, and I make sure I take at least 30 min to an hour for myself every night (and get plenty of sleep!)


    kathleen @ the daily crumb February 8, 2012 at 8:01 am

    i squeeze in what i can when i can. i used to think if i didn’t have time for an hour at the gym, i might as well skip it. now i do whatever i have time for. for example, this morning i had 20 minutes before an early morning flight — i ran 15 minutes of intervals outside (just 1.5 miles) and then did 3 sets of 10 pushups. not a 6 mile run, but better than nothing!


    Stacy February 8, 2012 at 8:01 am

    It is all about having a plan. I prep lunch foods on Sunday and try to at least partially prepare dinner before leaving in the house in the morning (I leave home at 9 but don’t get home until 7:30 most days). This way I have healthy foods for lunch and also am not tempted to eat something less healthy for dinner if it’s already in the fridge. I also make sure to work out in the morning because I know I won’t be in the mood after dinner. It also helps to write my training schedule on the calendar so I can mark it off.


    Christa February 8, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I make sure to bring my gym bag to work! That way I can catch a class during my lunch break or go right after work. No excuses. I also always have healthy snacks on hand at all times.


    Molly @ RDexposed February 8, 2012 at 8:02 am

    It’s all about planning ahead and documentation! Document your plans and if you stuck to your plans. Also, you can’t be too picky (ahem, type a-like). Nike nailed it with: just do it.


    Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon February 8, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I try to get some food prep done over the weekend. For example, sunday morning I cooked barley, made batches of hummus and granola bars, washed and snipped my green beans, and chopped some carrot sticks. I also treat fitness as a priority, just as I would class or homework, and write it on my calendar!


    Ali @ Peaches and Football February 8, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I cook a lot on Sunday night – at least enough to get me through Mondays and Tuesdays when I am swamped with night classes.

    I also make sure the food I buy can be made quickly. 60min brown rice isn’t a good purchase for me unless I plan on eating it with something over the weekend. Plan and buy for the time you have!


    Lena @Fit on the Rocks February 8, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I try to schedule it into my day. If it’s just that busy that day, I take more stairs, take a walk when I can or do a non embarrassing office workout. it also helps to be flexible with rest days.


    Erica @ For the Sake of Cake February 8, 2012 at 8:13 am

    It’s definitely a challenge, but I’ve just sort of adapted a “no excuses” mentality. During the school year last year, I would work out maybe twice a week & once on the weekends. I only noticed a major difference in how I felt, though, over the summer when I started working out about 5 days a week. I know that in order to feel good, I’ve got to squeeze in a workout & try to remember that whenever I feel too overwhelmed with other work/life obligations. An hour at the gym isn’t going to cause any major catastrophe in another aspect of my life!


    Jody February 8, 2012 at 8:13 am

    That fish looks great, I’ve got a try that recipe!

    Just a suggestion for the blog…I’ve noticed that sometimes I have to click multiple links just to find something like a recipe. I wanted to quickly print the soy glazed fish recipe, but your link sent me to another one of your posts that I had to scroll through and THEN find the link to the actual recipe. It would be really great if you could either type the recipe in the body of the post or link directly to the original recipe. Not a huge deal, but I find it kind of frustrating as a reader.


    ashley rebekah February 8, 2012 at 8:16 am

    i have gotten into the habit of taking my gym bag to work 3 days out of the work week. when my lunch hour rolls around, i see the bag sitting there and i remember how awkward and heavy it was to walk to the bus carrying it, wrangle into the seat with me, and haul it up to my desk. i tell myself “you didn’t go through all of that not to use it”, and head to the gym.

    another thing that has helped me as i work in a meeting-heavy company, is that i mark my outlook calendar with a private out-of-office appt from 11:30 – 1:00 on mondays, wednesdays and fridays. that way, it doesn’t get scheduled over.


    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 8, 2012 at 8:16 am

    the good thing about being a law student is that I have a very flexible schedule. I could get a part time job, but I’ve chosen to work in the summer and dedicate my free time to half marathon and marathon training. I need some sanity time!


    Jessica @ Healthy Urbanista February 8, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I gained some weight during the first year of my marriage! I’ve heard of so many others who have done the same…the nesting syndrome, right? Learning how to cook for two and not eating as much as your husband (My husband is a triathlete- he eat a Lot! I quickly realized splitting the meals were my biggest problem!)

    The pattern of consuming too much, even healthy food, rings true with many of the patients that I see. I always suggest that they track their calories for short time (some keep doing it daily). Writing your food down to provide a visual list for yourself is one of the most effective weight loss tools for patients. Great tip Tina! It really works!


    Sherry February 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Being a busy wife and mom of 4 I have to plan ahead! I wake up at 4:00am to get my workout in before any one gets up. If I don’t workout first thing in the morning I don’t have enough energy to do it later in the day. I eat breakfast and then I wake up the rest of the family to make them breakfast. I work 7-3:30pm and once I get home I start on dinner. It’s a challenge since I eat a mostly clean diet compared to the rest of the family. So I make a bunch of my food in advance and all I have to do is re-heat it and I still get to eat with my husband and kids. I am on the go non-stop until about 8 or 9pm. I go to bed early to get a good 7 hrs of sleep before I have to do it all again. So, to sum it all up, if I didn’t plan ahead with my workouts and eats it would be impossible for me to live a healthy livestyle.


    katie @ KatieDid February 8, 2012 at 8:48 am

    @Sherry: you’re inspiring!


    Sherry February 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    @katie @ KatieDid: Thank you, that was really nice! Something I needed to hear, or read, today.


    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots February 8, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I plan my workouts for the am before work. Because I know that after work I wont want to, I would rather take my dog for a nice stroll after work to be outside and I want to have the evening to do my school work, relax or teach swim lessons. Having your workout first thing in the morning doesn’t give you time to think about doing it or not.


    KerriAnn February 8, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I’m a Sunday-food-prep-per (? spelling?). I meal plan, food shop, cut, chop & cook all day on Sunday (while I clean my condo/do laundry/get set up for the week). I also right my planned workout in my agenda (I’m old school and still carry an agenda in my purse) – then the next day I take pride in highlighting it off the list (I don’t cross out – I like to look back and see what I did).


    Lori Lynn February 8, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I break my dark chocolate into pieces, and then freeze it. I have to make my lunch the night before, and then I can just grab it in the morning. Workouts are a “work” in progress, b/c I should do it in the morning, b/c I do feel better, but it’s a struggle getting up in the morning!


    Kerry @ Totes My Oats February 8, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I make my healthy habits a priority. For example, if I have a bunch of tests, I try to make it to the gym, run, or do a home circuit workout because I know it will enhance my ability to focus on other things afterwards.


    Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life February 8, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I stick to my habits by working out 4-5 days a week and making the meals that I can control to be as healthy and full of fresh ingredients as possible!


    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio February 8, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Scheduling is a BIG part of staying healthy when my life and schedule are crazy. I plan out my workouts and my meals each weekend for the week ahead. Although things may change, having a plan and having it on my calendar makes a big difference.

    I also try to stay focused on how working out and eating right positively impact my day. My days are better after a good workout!


    Mark February 8, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Planning ahead, and making my health and training a priority have worked for me so far. Up at 6am to get to the gym before work, getting up early at the weekend so I can fit in my training runs before the kids wake up, and having healthy snacks on hand at work and home in case I need them!


    Sarah@The Flying ONION February 8, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Being busy makes working out and eating good tough sometimes!

    I definitely have to pencil working out into my schedule during busy/stressful times. It’s a no-nonsense, non-negotiable schedule that I stick to religiously! I know in the end that it’s going to make me feel and do my best with work and family and everything else.


    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables February 8, 2012 at 8:29 am

    pretzel crisps + hummus has become my new go-to snack lately as well. Such a good combo!


    Sabrina February 8, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I plan it into my day. I pack my gym bag, leave it in the car, and plan for 30-40 minutes that are all mine. Lucky for me, my gym is open 24 hours from Monday morning through Friday night. It’s not easy, bit I’m getting better at it.


    Lauren @ What Lauren Likes February 8, 2012 at 8:40 am

    That broccoli looks so good! Interesting article btw 🙂


    Jane @ Jane's Addictions February 8, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I had cod and broccoli last night for dinner too. Freaky! Mine was with lemon and capers. I’ll have to try out the soy glazed recipe.


    Maureen February 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

    For me it is all about prepping my food on the weekend. I am out of the house 6:30-4:30 Monday-Friday, so if I go to work prepared with a filling lunch and plenty of healthy snacks, I am good. I even make extra snacks that I can shovel in my mouth in case I am super hungry one day without killing my diet {it works most of the time}.


    Lindsey February 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Planning, planning and more planning 🙂 Every week I plan out my meals and snacks, though this may not be for everyone its perfect for me. I always have healthy food on hand this way too! And it saves me time standing in the kitchen staring in the fridge trying to figure out what to eat. I also find planning my daily eats helps to keep the overall day more balanced, less veggies in supper? Then a salad for lunch. I also plan my weekly workouts, this helps me stay accountable to them and I plan my rest days around days I am just too busy. Since I work 8-5 if I have evening plans I will either have that as my rest day or do a shorter workout in the morning.
    Great question!


    Lauri February 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I have made workouts non negotiable. I block off time on my calendar at work to exercise at lunch because it is the only time I can hit the gym since I drop my son off and pick him up at daycare on my way to and from work and my gym is at work. If I end up with not enough time to work out at lunch, and my husband isn’t traveling, then he does morning drop off duty and I arrive at the gym before work. Some days it is tough squeezing it all in but I don’t give myself an option!


    Jessica H. February 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I leave my house at 6:30/45am each morning and some nights get home after 6/7pm. I try to eat six small meals a day and I work out at 5am in the morning for about 30 minutes. I eat the small meals on the breaks I have at school, I am a teacher, or when I have a break from a meeting after school.


    Jessica H. February 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I forgot to add I also have a husband and 2 kids, 3 and under, that I make dinner for each night. I do not meal prep on Sundays, I just make a healthy meal when I get home each night. My husband will cook on the nights I get home after 6pm.


    Laura @ My Pink Thumb February 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Planning is KEY!!!
    I have been working on trying to lose weight since early December (almost there!) all while working my glued-to-the-desk job 40 hours a week – my hours are 8-5. I wouldn’t be where I am today if i wasn’t for planning.

    It all comes down to accountability. I literally have printed out calendards on my fridge with my workouts all planned out a month ahead of time. My main workouts are scheduled for 6am before i get ready for work and about 95% of the time, I will also do another workout after work – either go and ride my horse, or a yoga dvd, or a ride on my stationary bike. As I finish each day, I check of the workout. Having it there in front of me every single day makes me never want to fail.

    Meal planning is key too. Every friday, I make a meal plan for the week and then base our grocery list on the plan. We only buy food for what is on our meal plan so that there are no ‘bad’ temptations in the house. As for snacks during the work day, I will take 30 min every Sunday and fill a massive container with chopped veggie sticks (mainly carrots and cucumbers). Each night, I fill a small container with veggies, pack up some almonds, a protein dip or my new fav – roasted salt & vinegar chick peas, so that they are ready to bring to work the next day. i usually bring a sliced apple to work too, but I’ll slice that in the morning.

    It does take some planning ahead of time, but after doing this religiously for 2 months now, it is totally the way to go.


    Cindy February 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I think it was easier when I had a “real” schedule and lost weight. I had to be at work from 8:30-5:30. I worked out after work. I didn’t have a lot of extra time to snack. I suppose seriously restricting calories and being hungry didn’t help, but it worked. Now, I am a PhD student with an open schedule and I don’t have the same discipline and am having a hard time. I think also if I only had 10-20 pounds to lose vs. nearly 100, I would find it less daunting and overwhelming.


    Athena @ Fitness & Feta February 8, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I plan ahead! And schedule everything in – and then STICK to it. But also don’t get so down on myself if for some reason I stray for a day. Once you’ve made healthy living a habit it just becomes natural and you just DO it, despite how busy your schedule may be!

    P.S. This is probably really creepy, but I had a dream last night that I tried Cross Fit and you were there. You told me it wasn’t the best WOD to choose for my first time, haha! You’ve been writing so much about CrossFit lately that apparently it’s been engrained in my mind, even in my sleep!


    Tina February 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    @Athena @ Fitness & Feta: Haha! That’s awesome!


    Katy February 8, 2012 at 8:58 am

    LOVE teddie peanut butter and LOVE that Market Basket has it always for $2.50, on the rare occasion that I go to stop and shop I pass it by because it’s $3.99 there. Crazy-talk!

    Oh, PS: I got married at Sky Meadow too! So pretty!


    Tina February 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

    It goes on sale at Stop & Shop for 2 for $5, and I ALWAYS stock up. It’s the BEST!


    Tina February 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Aww, Sky Meadow! 🙂


    Erin February 8, 2012 at 8:59 am

    You can either be sore tomorrow or sorry tomorrow!! I love that and make sure I get in a workout right after I’m done at work. (I’m a teacher) Although I have a baby to get home to and spend time with her, sometimes I even take my workout gear with me to work. I change right after work and do a run then head home. I live really close to my school. I only have about thirty minutes a day to workout, so I’ve GOT to make it count. If you really want to make changes, you’ll assess your schedule and MAKE it happen.


    Tina February 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    @Erin: Love that!


    Ali February 8, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I try not to get stuck in thinking that the only place I can work out is the gym. A few weeks ago I didn’t have time to do a full workout, so at the end of my work day I ran up and down the stairs in my building and did pushups every time I got to the top. And I try to build exercise into my commute – walking or biking even part of the way.


    Suzanne February 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Hey Tina,

    Like you said, being healthy requires a lot of conscious effort, especially with a busy schedule.

    Here are a few things that work for me:

    • If you have a husband or partner, ask him/her for help with prep work.
    My husband gets home before I do, and I always email him a list of a few
    things he can get started on for me (since I do all the cooking). I haven’t
    had to chop an onion for the longest time!

    • Spend an hour on Sunday prepping ingredients and stashing them in the

    • If you can afford it, get convenient appliances like a Vitamix (or a Ninja
    blender – I got one and it’s almost like a Vitamix) and juicer. They’re great
    for shakes, juices, and snacks – especially for those late night cravings for
    something sweet and naughty.

    • Make enough dinner to take leftovers for lunch the next day

    • Prepare the menu and grocery list for the following week before you hit the
    grocery store. I find doing all our grocery shopping once a week saves the
    most time.

    • Go out to eat less. This one was a hard one for me, since I hate to cook.
    But you tend to eat a lot more when you eat out. The bread basket alone
    killed me. And if there are “bad foods” you love, find a healthy version of it
    online or in a cookbook and cook it at home. Ellie Krieger is my favorite
    chef who does this. I actually designed her recent cookbook covers and
    was drooling over all the food at the photoshoot. (sorry
    – shameless plug!)

    • Create a stash of healthy recipes. I have multiple binders at home that are
    full of recipes. Each week I pull them out and choose all my recipes for the
    week. I find it fun!

    • Pencil in your workouts for the week ahead of time. I’m very
    accurate about it. For example, last night it was P90X Plyo day. It keeps
    me focused, even when I’m feeling lazy. Who wants to work out at 8pm
    after a long day at work? Not me, but I make myself do it.

    • Read healthy/fitness blogs (like yours!) to get ideas and keep you
    motivated. A little Murphy pug love doesn’t hurt either. 😉

    Hope you all can find this information useful.
    Happy Health, everyone!


    Sarah @ BlondeBostonian February 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Being super organized is the only way that I can get everything finished during a busy week. I plan out my workouts for the week on Monday and I stick to that plan as much as I can. I try to plan all my meals for the week, but that sometimes proves to be a bit challenging. I just always make sure that I have healthy foods available every week so that I am not tempted to eat something I shouldn’t.


    Stacy @ Stacy Eats February 8, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I haven’t seen those jalapeno jack Pretzel Crisps pop up in our grocery stores yet. They sound delicious though so I better keep an eye out!


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