I thought I’d take a break from my usual posts and share with you all how my husband and I (attempt) to make a healthy lifestyle work. I work part-time, and the schedule I follow on the days I do work is quite different from the schedule I follow on the days I don’t work, so I’m breaking this into two different posts.
Today, here’s a look at the schedule I follow on the days I work…
4:40 AM – Wake up
Yes, sometimes it feels brutally early, but this is the time my alarm goes off on my work days. I work from home, thankfully, which saves me some precious sleep time, but my day still starts at 5:00 a.m. It may seem like a rough schedule when you’re on the outside looking in, but it’s one I’m extremely thankful for. My employer graciously allowed me to change my hours to accommodate life, which means I’m only away from my kids two days a week. Though I’d love to be with my kids every day, I am thankful that I don’t have to be away from them any more than this. And since I’m a morning person, I try to embrace 5:00 a.m. with a good attitude.
I like to start the day with a 5-10 minute yoga routine to help wake me up. Currently, I follow this one, by Jayne Becca. It’s just what I need to work out the kinks in my body and get me ready to focus.
Then, I drink a glass of water and sit at my computer to work through my email and any other task that is relatively easy to finish.
6:00 AM – Wake up the kids
On the days I work, our girls spend the day with their grandparents. My husband starts work at 7:00 a.m., so he needs to have the kids to their grandparents by 6:30. Around, 6:00 my husband and I each wake up one of the kids and carry them downstairs for a few minutes of cuddles before I change them and we load them into the car.
7:00 AM – Breakfast
On most days, our breakfast is eggs with some fruit or a slice of homemade bread on the side. Occasionally I’ll make a quiche or baked oatmeal and we’ll eat on that for a few days. Eggs, however, is our staple breakfast food. My husband has his with a cup of coffee and, until this next baby is born, I have mine with decaf tea. Earl grey tea, to be exact. I love the rich flavor of it.
From breakfast on, it’s crunch time. We stay as focused as possible on the work at hand. The workload is higher on some days than others, but regardless of the workload, the next several hours are spent in front of a computer, seated at a desk.
9:30 / 10:00 AM – Snack time
Typically, I’m ready for a snack a few hours after breakfast. To help ensure I don’t succumb to eating food I’ll regret later, I keep a few chosen snack items on hand. I like to grab some string cheese and fruit, some nuts, or a homemade treat, such as a homemade Larabar or protein bar.
12:00 PM – Exercise
Without fail, on the days I work this is the time both my husband and I work out. We each focus on cardio three days a week and strength three days a week. He runs and lifts weights using his bench press and the dumbbells he has in the basement. Since becoming pregnant, I’ve adjusted my routine. I now walk instead of run and I primarily do yoga (this or this) instead of the bodyweight HIIT circuit I was doing. However, because I feel good and have the strength and energy to do it, I practice my single-leg deadlifts on the days I walk and I add a brief HIIT circuit (this) that focuses on my legs to my yoga routine. What I love about yoga is it’s easy to adjust to your own fitness level and comfort, and that can change every day, especially when pregnant. By following this routine, I’ve been able to maintain my upper body strength and keep myself appropriately challenged. (Once the baby is born, I plan to dive into lifting heavy-to-me weights.)
12:30 – 1:00 PM – Shower, eat, and dinner prep
At 12:30, we have to quickly shower and eat. Usually, I’ll enlist my husband’s help in cutting up veggies and preparing whatever meat we’re having for dinner that night. Often, this means I am quickly throwing down my lunch as I begin work for the afternoon. Lunch usually consists of leftovers, tuna fish, or a deli sandwich. When we’re running a bit low on that stuff, we resort to peanut butter sandwiches. However, I try to minimize the amount of bread we eat and I’m careful to buy bread that is low in sugar and low in carbs overall. In the summer, we also eat a lot of cucumbers. I often cut up a cucumber at lunch time that is quickly devoured.
1:00 PM – Back to work
For the next couple hours, I’m sitting back at my desk again, plowing through whatever I can to stay on top of my workload. It’s not bad but it’s not glamorous, and I don’t pretend that it’s either.
2:30 – 3:00 PM – Snack time
When the afternoon rolls around, it’s usually time for another snack. Now, we don’t always eat two snacks a day, but we often do. And the snacks we pull from are the same, whether it’s morning or afternoon.
4:00 PM – Pick up the kids and start dinner
Depending on the day, my husband will pick up the kids at his parents while I make dinner or I’ll pick up the kids from my parents and leave my husband with instructions for starting dinner. This system works for us but its success depends on my ability to plan ahead and be prepared. I plan my meals out a week in advance so this isn’t usually a problem.
4:30 / 5:00 PM – Eat dinner
We eat dinner early. In part because our kids want to eat at this time and in part because we end our work day earlier than many and it’s just a natural flow of things. Our evening meal typically consists of meat and veggies. Occasionally we’ll throw in some other carbs, but for the most part, it’s just meat and veggies. We are fortunate enough to have 1/4 of a cow and a whole pig in our freezer (well, that’s how much we had right after the animals were butchered), so our meat supply is plentiful. I also cook chicken once or twice a week. With all the different cuts we get from the cow and pig, we are never bored by our options.
Once a week I make homemade pizza. I use homemade whole wheat dough and homemade sauce. I shred the cheese myself and use just enough to ensure every bite will have a bit of cheese when it’s melted. When I add pepperoni, I first reduce the amount of grease that seeps out onto the pizza by “cooking” it in hot water for a minute or two. By doing so much of it myself and taking caution to cut the calories where I can, we don’t feel bad about eating it.
I also keep a DiGiorno in the freezer for emergency situations. No, it’s not healthy, but that’s OK since we rarely eat it. And when you’ve been gone for a week and are coming home with a hungry family to an empty fridge, you’re thankful for it!
5:30 PM- Play outside
It’s important to me that my kids play outside. Inside play is good, too, but I really want them to love being outdoors and getting dirty. So on most nights, my husband and I go outside with them after dinner and let them play in the backyard. We have a humongous playset that the kids have yet to fully grow into, but they love to swing and climb through the tunnels. My husband will also kick the soccer ball around while our girls chase it. It’s fun, it helps the kids get out some energy, it adds some much needed movement to our otherwise sedentary day, and it sure beats sitting on the couch and looking at each other, getting bored.
6:30 PM – Start bedtime routine
At 6:30, we give the girls a bath, brush their teeth, do our potty routine, and settle in to read or watch an episode of Bubble Guppies. All you parents of young children know exactly what I’m talking about. Our girls wake up in the morning asking for this show. It’s nuts. But it’s not half bad to watch, and when we snuggle in for the night, they settle down and cuddle, which is the best.
7:30 PM – Adult time
Our kids are up the stairs and in bed by 7:30 every night. After we tuck them in, my husband and I retreat to the living room where we watch an episode from a TV series we’re interested in (usually Star Trek, from one series of the show or another), and enjoy a little seltzer water and popcorn. It’s my time to wind down. If I work the next day, I typically only make it through one episode before calling it quits.
8:30 PM – Bedtime
That’s right. If I have to get up at 4:40 a.m., I need to be in bed by 8:30 p.m. Most days this is an adequate amount of sleep but there are definitely times when I’m struggling to keep my eyes open until 8:30. No joke.
What I hope you take away from this…
- No routine is perfect, but any routine is better than none. We eat healthy and exercise every day because we build the time into our day for it. It doesn’t automatically happen, you have to plan it into your day.
- Making healthy choices at meal time and snack time is 100% dependent on planning ahead and being prepared, for us, anyway. If I didn’t take the time to build out a weekly meal plan or purchase and make healthy snacks for us, our lifestyle would look a lot different because convenience does matter. Having to take 15 minutes out of the afternoon to make a healthy snack is not convenient. Having a whole batch of healthy snacks made up ahead of time and ready to consume is.
So there you have it. This is what a typically work day in my home looks like. The days I don’t work are spent doing other activities that make the days I do work possible. Stay tuned, because I’ll be covering that next week.