Monthly Archives: August 2015

Staying Healthy on a Busy Schedule

Hello, again, my wonderful readers! I have clearly been M.I.A. for quite some time. Since August 3rd, my days have been lengthy and jam-packed with English, social studies, grading, data-analyzing, and all those other fun activities that come with a teaching job.

Returning to Title I public school teaching is great, but it requires an incredible amount of work. I’ve been putting in 10-11 hour days at school, and then I do at least an hour of more work once I get home. It’s a little nuts and makes finding work-life balance a challenge, but I love what I do!

Staying Healthy on a Busy Schedule

Once life gets hectic, it’s so easy to let everything else go. When I come home after a day of teaching on my feet, it can be nearly impossible to convince myself to go for a run, stand in the kitchen to cook a decent meal, or avoid the chocolate and beer calling my name.

Because I’ve had a past with unhealthy relationships with food and exercise, it can be easy to fall into extremes….binge eating or restricting, chronic over-exercising or an out-right refusal to ever get off the couch. Extremes are easy to fall into when I’m anxious and stressed, even over a job I love and enjoy.

So I’ve set up a few basic guidelines to moderate myself when I’m too tired to give food and exercise my full attention.

1. A specific exercise goal

smoky mountain half picture

Fortunately, I can’t actually be a couch potato that outright refuses to move once work has ended. Two months ago, Ryan and I signed up for the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon. We’re SO excited about this race because the scenery will be gorgeous and we have an excuse to spend a weekend in Smoky Mountain National Park!

I created a rough training schedule that requires only three runs per week, with the long run scheduled for the weekend. On a good week, I can add in an additional run or workout. (I’ve only had two good weeks out of my eight week training schedule…) Otherwise, three runs per week can safely get me to my goal. Sure, it won’t be my fastest half, but who cares? I’ll be in the mountains!

Take Action! Choose a short term exercise goal that encourages you to get moving! Maybe you can find a race a couple months away. Thanksgiving is about 3 months away, and there are countless Turkey Day races around the country! You could also choose to aim for a certain amount of push ups, complete a month-long squat challenge, prepare for a long hike on your next vacation, or try a new class at the gym.

Make a short term goal that will motivate you, and then celebrate once you’ve accomplished it! Short term goals are more manageable, and you won’t get bored before the challenge is over.

2. Shop Smart

fridge-001

Enough leftovers, salad mixings, apples, and eggs to last us the week!

Set yourself up for success. Get your grocery shopping done on the weekend (or on Monday after work when, like me, you run out of time) and go in with a plan. I try to plan three meals for the week. That will give me three week days’ worth of meals and a few leftovers for other dinners or lunches. We also have our staples: salad mixings, eggs, almond butter, apples, almonds, chips and salsa (for Ryan!), yogurt, and avocados.

With three planned meals and our weekly staples, there’s always something healthy to eat! Ryan and I also go out to eat once a week and don’t really worry about how “healthy” our choices are because the rest of the week is well planned.

3. Squeeze it in

12 minute athlete

Sometimes, life really doesn’t work out as planned and there is no time for a workout and no time to make dinner. Having a list of go-to ideas for these hectic times makes all the difference.

For quick dinners, I think it’s important to choose something you actually want to eat. Sometimes a salad doesn’t sound appealing, so I need to come up with another option. In my personal opinion, food IS more than just fuel. You should enjoy every meal! Here are a few quick and easy meals I enjoy:

  • Scrambled eggs and sliced avocado
  • Soup or chili
  • Giant salad from the salad bar at the grocery store
  • Rotisserie chicken

For quick workouts, the key is choosing efficient moves. Some days a run will do the trick. On other days, I don’t want to leave the house. Throwing together a short, super efficient circuit is a great option! Here are a few ideas:

4. Sometimes, Rest is Key!

Know your limits, and know when skipping a workout or having some wine and chocolate is truly the best option! Self-care is important, too. If you’re too tired, take a bath and call it a day. Watch an old movie or TV show, and give yourself a break. Rest helps you recharge so you can make better choices the next day!

The Ultimate Fitness Challenge Song: Bring Sally Up!

Hello, everyone! I hope you’ve all had fabulous weeks and are ready for FRIDAY! I started a new job this week, and so far I’m loving my school and fellow teachers :) Being surrounded by enthusiastic teachers who choose to work in a challenging environment and constantly talk about how they love what they do is so inspiring! I am so ready for Monday!

“Teacher Tired”

There is, however, one small negative aspect of this otherwise wonderful week. Fatigue. There’s a certain “teacher tired” feeling that comes with the first few weeks of school…and every year I forget about it before it comes roaring back in August.

In the midst of the new job adventures, I’m also training for a half-marathon on September 12th. Skipping workouts is not an option…but I still skipped a run and a cross-training workout anyway. I’m just so tired! I need to get it together, be an adult, and go to bed on time!

I also need to squeeze in those strength workouts that are so important for well-rounded fitness. When there’s no time (and little energy) to devote to a full workout, I do a couple of quick fitness challenge videos on YouTube. Recently, I’ve noticed a particular song, Bring Sally Up, lends itself to some tough ones!

“Bring Sally Up” Fitness Challenge

PUSH UP CHALLENGE

I’ve done this one a couple of times. I can make it to 1:15 before I have to drop down from regular push ups to assissted. This one’s tough!

PLANK CHALLENGE

Today, I completed this one right after doing the push up challenge. My arms were burning! In the middle of the video, I gave the up/downs a rest and started doing plank twists instead. But I made it through 2 minutes of the video in plank position!

And last but not least,

SQUAT CHALLENGE

I haven’t tried this one yet. I’m pretty certain I can finish this one, but I’ll report back after I’ve actually completed it :)

Before I go, let me leave you with this fantastic link! I had the opportunity to write a guest post at CarrieElle.com! I wrote about the body positivity I’ve seen this past summer. Click here to read it! Thank you to Carrie Elle for the opportunity!

Question: What’s your favorite fitness video, YouTube or otherwise?

Healthy & Easy Snacks for Teachers

Happy Monday! I had a WONDERFUL first day of work. This morning, McNair Middle school teachers returned to work for a jam-packed week of professional development and intense student data analysis–Woohoo!

So far, everyone I’ve met is incredibly helpful, generous, and devoted to their job. I very much miss my Luling crew and my New School crew, but I know I will love my new co-workers just as much :)

Of course, being the happy eater that I am, I have to turn today’s chit chat towards food. I don’t know about the rest of you teachers out there, but something about the schedule makes me SO hungry for much of the day.

I eat breakfast before work, and then lunch is about 6 hours later. Then dinner is about 6 hours after lunch. I don’t know about you, but it would take a lot of food to hold me over for six hours. Sometimes snacks are necessary, but those teacher lounge vending machines full of candy and chips aren’t doing us any favors. So in the spirit of a new school year, I thought I’d put together a list of healthy snacks that are easy to eat on the go…because we all know you have to sneak these foods between classes because God forbid you take care of your hunger needs like a real adult!  Anyway…

easy and healthy snacks for teachers

HEALTHY & EASY SNACKS FOR TEACHERS

PISTACHIOS

Pistachios are a wonderfully delicious and healthy snack. Shelling them inconspicuously during class might be difficult, so I suggest buying the pre-shelled ones. Compared to other nuts, pistachios are lower in calories, higher in potassium, and higher in vitamin K. A 160 calorie serving packs 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of fat. Those are awesome stats! (If you’ve been here before, you know that fat content generally doesn’t bother me. Blame sugar!) Pistachios also deliver significant percentages of essential vitamins. And last but not least, they are so yummy!

LARABARS

Okay…so I just made a comment about sugar a few lines above, so this suggestion should be adjusted according to your daily needs!

Larabars are made of 100% natural and normal ingredients. The coconut macaroon Larabar above has 8 grams of sugar per bar. That’s not great, but it’s reasonable. These delicious bars make a great on-the-go snack :)

I would, however, watch out for the original flavors. Apple pie, peanut butter, pumpkin pie, blueberry, and most other original flavors pack anywhere from 16g-25g of sugar per bar! Those bars are too tiny to pack that much sugar! Granted, the sugar in Larabars usually comes from dates. But this is why I said you should take a look at your own daily needs…do you exercise a good bit? Then it’s fine. Do you have a pretty low sugar diet? If so, 20g of sugar from dates may not be a big deal. Just do what works for you!

PALEO “GRANOLAS”

I love this stuff! I discovered Nograinola at my local Whole Foods in Decatur, GA. What is it actually made of? Almonds, coconut, prunes, carrots, and Himalayan salt. That’s it. It’s actually quite good :) You can buy one of two versions: unsweetened or sweetened with Stevia. I’ve only tried the unsweetened, and it’s awesome. It’s a great yogurt topper, it goes well with milk (like real cereal!), and it can be added to just about anything and complement the flavors. And with only 3g of sugar per serving, this snack is definitely a winner!

KRAVE JERKY

This one is a little pricey, but it’s quite good! Krave jerky can be found just about anywhere now…Walmart, random gas stations…it’s not a Whole Foods exclusive product.

All of the ingredients are a little different (meaning some do have added sugar), so read up and purchase the one that works the best for you!

And last but not least,

FRUITS & VEGGIES

A tried and true option, portable produce is obviously an awesome snacking choice. Next time you’re at the grocery store, grab carrots, grapes, apples, bananas, grape tomatoes, mini peppers, mini cucumbers (mostly found at Costco), or celery. Just pick something that’s easy to carry around and eat quickly!

Earlier today I bought pistachios and Uber Larabars to hide away in my classroom :) What snacks or back-to-school tips do you have?