Stressful Times Call for Desperate Measures: Making Your Health and Diet a Top Priority

how to make diet and exercise a priorityAs many of you know, for a few months now, our lives have been turned upside down (in a good way!) as in just a few weeks we will be launching our vegan online program Brownble. We’ve been working so ridiculously hard that every morning when I open my eyes I feel as though I’ve just run a marathon the night before. The good thing about doing something you love though, is that you still jump out of bed ready to do it all over again. This doesn’t mean however, that the process has been completely stress free. What has made it slightly stressful is basically trying to have a double life. Or maybe triple or quadruple! By that I mean that balancing our regular jobs, plus the launch of the program and content creation, plus home life, plus health and fitness life, plus the having fun with dogs life, plus cleaning the house life (which sometimes seems like two!), has been challenging.

I have never been much of a to-do list maker. In fact, I’m quite messy and love going off the cuff and feeling like I’m free to make decisions and change my plans at any point. I’ve tried a million times to keep an appointment book or calendar to no avail. My iPhone calendar app still has my teaching schedule from two years ago! (yes, I was almost too embarrassed to confess that one). Stressful times however, call for desperate measures. I had to give myself a brief intervention and decide to take a look at what all you wonderful and superb little organizers and go getters rave about. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been a total go-go-go girl. I’ve always managed to stay on point with my responsibilities and I’m never late for anything, but something was different now. When life gets so busy with multiple tasks and activities, and yes, now two jobs, a little adjusting and reseting must be done. Here’s where a wonderful woman called Chalene Johnson comes in.

Chalene is an author, a speaker, a rockin’ entrepreneur and business woman, and I was going through some of her podcast episodes a few days ago and stumbled upon one called: Reset Your Time Management Button and Get Focused. That part about getting focused really resonated with me. I immediately realized that I have been suffering from what I will now coin as scattered-brain-itis. I was wasting so much time on just thinking of all the things I had to do. I listened and I decided to pay the piper. I would now give this to-do list a shot and see where that took me.

So why am I telling you all this? Partly because I think you’ll get a kick out of Chalene’s podcast, but mostly because guess what’s coming soon… that’s right, ‘school season’. Even if your kids have finished school, you don’t have kids, or you yourself haven’t been a student in a while, September always marks the beginning of the go-go-go season. We’re expected to go from lazy days in the sun to 100% productivity practically overnight and it’s hard! Can you guess what the first thing that usually suffers is? Your diet, health, physical activity and general well-being.

So I have a little challenge for you

You always hear me talk about planning. Planning your meals, your snacks, making grocery lists, organizing what’s in your fridge and making lists of what you need to prepare in advance. Isn’t it ironic how I could be so organized on the cooking and diet front, and a total mess with everything else?! For you, it might be quite the opposite. You might be a Swiss watch when it comes to work and keeping your home in order, but your health might be suffering through it. So here’s a little challenge I have for you (and me!) today: we’re going to round everything out. Wherever you’re lacking a little bit of planning, let’s give it a little push and make it happen. Here’s the second rule for our little challenge, you are going to make meal planning and regular exercise a priority. Today my new to-do list was a mile long, but I still managed to  prepare some healthy snacks for the next few days and pack them all up, and of course I did my daily workout. Then I was free to continue down my list.

So many times we postpone healthy eating or stocking the fridge with healthy food, or we say we’ll go for a walk or run later because we feel other things are more urgent. The world might end if we don’t get to them quickly. I can honestly tell you, that nothing, NOTHING, will make you more productive or less stressed than having a healthy happy body to carry you around while you do all the other stuff on your to-do list. This needs to come first.

Here are my top 5 little tips that have helped me stay tuned into my health and not let anything come between us:

  • I wake up early and exercise first thing in the morning. Even if you are not a morning person, I want you to try this for three weeks (that’s how long it takes to break or start a new habit). It was a game changer for me. I never again postponed or made up excuses as the busy day went by. In fact, exercise doesn’t even go on my to-do list because I consider the actual start of my day to be the moment I finish my workout and not before then. Nothing is scheduled or happens before then. In fact, it’s after I exercise that I’m sitting down to write my new to-do list.
  • I plan all my meals and snacks on the same day every week, the morning or the day before I do my shopping (check out our last post for more on this subject and 9 other tips for starting the new season eating healthier). This prevents me from having yet another thing to think and wonder about every day, and it has finally, finally prevented the hundreds of extra shopping trips I was always making to get something I was missing. This doesn’t mean I don’t stray from the plan or indulge sometimes, but it does mean that my healthy diet is all planned out for me and I don’t even have to think about it.
  • Make your to-do list ‘the Chalene way’. You’ll hear more about this if you listen to the episode I mentioned, but she basically gets you to make a list with everything you need to do (including showering!), and then choosing only three items that must be done today. This is how my new to-do list is structured and I can tell you that it has already made a huge difference in my stress level and has helped my scattered and wandering brain so much! You’ll notice that you’ll stop procrastinating, start doing hard tasks you were dreading and that were quite literally a drain on your health, and you’ll also see that after your top three things are done and you’re a little more focused, a lot of the other things in the list get done too!
  • Take a moment every single day to be present and relax. This can mean something as tiny as sipping a warm cup of coffee as you look out the window. Or my little time of bliss in the early morning when I walk our dogs.
  • Finally, take at least one moment a week for hardcore relaxing. I like to call it ‘my hardcore don’t interrupt me relaxy-time’. For me this is usually sitting out in our terrace with the dogs and a nice cold smoothie in my hand (or a hot cup of coffee in the winter), some well deserved couch potato and TV time with my hubby, a walk in the woods or making bread or a pie (yup! It’s one of my favorite ways to relax!). For you it might be getting a massage, going to a yoga class, or getting a mani-pedi.

I hope you jump on board with me on this little challenge. I was doing pretty great on the healthy diet and exercise arena, but I’ll be working on the rest of my busy life right alongside you. Share with us in the comments what it is you struggle the most with when trying to get organized and stay healthy.

I’ll see you in our next post everyone! Don’t forget to check out the new sneak peek videos in our youtube channel! We’ve been making some super healthy PB&J Roll Ups and later today we’ll be releasing a very short video on how to cook oil free but ‘oh so crispy’ potatoes, so stay tuned for that! Don’t forget that we’re moving to our new blog and website really soon, so make sure you’re signed up below so we can send you updates, let you know when we go live, and send you a very special gift we prepared just for you, as a way of saying thanks and welcome to Brownble! click here and receive your free gift

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