Just a little blog about me and mine.

Harmony September 18, 2009

Filed under: family,finances,fitness — Katie @ 10:54 am

I’m not a very new-agey person, but I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that I find a certain harmony and wholeness in focusing on going to the gym, eating healthy, and managing my money wisely–all at the same time. I’ve always read that you should never try to break or start more than one habit at a time if you want to succeed, but I’ve noticed that the opposite is true for me. Each good habit fuels the others in a circular way. Lack of time and money (created by going to the gym and simultaneously cutting back on expenses) foster good habits and keep me away from bad habits.

Here are a few further thoughts on why this works for me:

  • When I go the gym I feel so good that afterward I want to eat healthy, light foods that will refuel my body. I also drink a lot more water during the day because when I don’t I can feel that my body doesn’t perform as well when I work out. So while it’s hard to get home late from the gym and then have to cook dinner, I don’t actually have the desire to just grab something quick and unhealthy on the way home.
  • Since I’m also trying to watch our finances more closely, we plan our meals a week at a time and have all needed groceries on hand. When I do get home late from the gym late and need to cook, I know what we’re cooking that night and know that everything we need is thawed out and ready to go. I have also been trying to plan easier meals on nights I’ll get home late, and even cook larger amounts on other nights and have leftovers.
  • Since we tightened our budget, I have less available funds to spend on going out to eat, going to movies or other entertainment, so I actually have more time to go to the gym even though it’s time consuming. I’ve been going Tuesdays and Thursdays when I get off of work, and don’t get home until close to 8pm.
  • When I eat better, I feel better and have more energy, so it’s easier to generate the energy and motivation to go to the gym–which makes me feel even better. When I eat poorly, I feel sluggish and even sort of sickly so I certainly won’t go to the gym even if it would make me feel better–instead I’ll get home, crash, snack, and sit around on the couch all night.
  • This new routine also affects how much alcohol I buy and drink. I really don’t drink very often, but when I do drink, it’s usually social and it’s not just usually one drink. But wine and beer is expensive, and full of calories, so by not wanting to spend an extra $10-$15 on a bottle of wine at the grocery store, and not wanting to consume an extra 500 calories or so when I’m trying to eat better, I don’t really buy or drink much alcohol.

It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve started this new routine of being all around healthy and awesome, so I can easily back slide (to use the lingo of my southern religious roots), but I keep reminding myself how good I feel when I go to the gym, how much better I will feel about myself if I get in better shape and lose weight, and now nice it will be to increase our savings and have more money for the future.

I’ll close with a somewhat embarrassing and self-effacing story from last Friday. I had my gym back packed and in the car but felt tired and cranky and worn out after work–I even ended up staying almost an hour late to finish up some things. When I left I really didn’t want to go to the gym. I called PL and said, “I either need you to talk me into going to the gym or tell me it’s ok to come home. I want to go home and drink and eat pizza and sit on the couch.” She knew I was in a classic foul mood, and would be even worse all evening. While I was whining about going to the gym I still drove that way instead of towards home, I turned onto the road and even pulled into the parking deck while still on the phone with her being in a bad mood. I was so grouchy I even pulled back out of the parking lot and decided to head home instead–I didn’t want her to be right that I’d be in a better mood if I went to the gym, so I’ll go home and be a pill all evening–that will show her! But I didn’t want to be in a bad mood, and I didn’t want to be cranky with her all evening when she did nothing wrong. I also had just told a co-worker that I was going to the gym after work, so I exited the parking deck, drove back around the block, pulled back into the parking deck and walked to the gym. I didn’t have a great workout, I hadn’t had enough water that day so I felt sluggish, but I went and then felt a 100% better and less grumpy and managed to have a good Friday night instead of starting a fight.


3 Responses to “Harmony”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Good for you, Katie. I’ve been in the same exactly place and didn’t go and was a pill and then felt guilty for not going. You made the right choice.

    Are you on a “plan” for your eating or just trying to eat wisely? And 3 hours at the gym! Whoa. What are you doing for three hours?

  2. Katie Says:

    We’re not really on a formal eating plan-I’ve been aiming for 1500-1600 calories for a while to get a deficit going and lose weight. In2004/2005 or so we did the Dr. Phil plan (don’t judge us), and lost a lot of weight and actually learned how to eat proper portions of protein, carbs and vegetables–a useful skill I never managed to pick up. But since moving back to Atlanta in 2006, I have gained 20 pounds gained back from 40 lost-most of that gained back in the past year even though I still needed to lose another 15-20. Late afternoon snacking and late night cereal, eating out and ordering pizza are my problems, so I’m watching that but mostly just eating plenty of healthy food in the right portions.

    I’m also entering everything I eat, for now anyway, on the Daily Plate at since I find it a good accountability tool–I don’t want to have to enter in that I ate a big bag of Peanut M&Ms or McDonald’s fries as an afternoon snack and then see how many calories that is!

    It’s not quite 3 hours at the gym–it’s closer to 2 hours actually working out and then an hour of urban and university hassle–I’ve been doing 30 min of cardio, 2 sets of some weight machines (45-60 min) and then do a little more cardio if I’m up to it and having fun. I’ve found that since it’s a big gym at Emory, just the logistics of parking in a deck across the street and walking over, getting my stuff in a locker and then going up several flights of stairs to the cardio/weight room eats up a ton of time too–then I have to drive 30 minutes home. So, that’s partly why staying longer on just Tues/Thurs is a good plan for now rather than doing less on more days.

    • Rachel Says:

      M&M’s are my favorite afternoon snack also. Not good. We’ve decided to start training for a long backpacking trip (hopefully in late Spring 2010) so I need to drop some weight but mostly I need to work on some cardio and weights.

      I’ll have to check out the livestrong site. Right now I’m tracking our training schedule in a good ole spiral notebook. We also had a brainstorming session and listed 20 activities we could do (both indoors and out) to help get us moving more.

      Also I totally agree doing more on less days sounds much better, especially when the gym is so inconvenient.

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