I used to keep in shape -- until my son was born three years ago. I quickly found it impossible to schedule serious exercise into my life while raising an infant, being a husband and working as a marketing executive at a tech start-up. For three years, I've averaged six hours of sleep per night (or less), the bare minimum -- a recipe for weight gain and heart problems.
Then our daughter was born, and that made exercise matters worse. My only salvation (and barely) has been my daily speed walks between our home and the commuter train station -- about a mile each way. A few months ago I felt I'd hit a low point both mentally and on the pudginess scale. That was reinforced when my doctor suggested it wouldn't hurt to lose 10 pounds.
So was my New Year resolution to go on a diet? No. New Year resolutions are declarations for failure, so I kickstarted my new health plan the day before last Thanksgiving. I love food and didn't want to hold back too much for the holidays, nor did I want to feel gross and sorry for myself.
My New Health Plan
Results and Observations So Far
Sacrifice & Scheduling
Adopting a health plan like this requires discipline and sacrifice -- and a lot of scheduling savvy. I can motivate myself to do anything, but the tricky part is scheduling and prioritizing time with parent and work responsibilities. While I've been in the habit of working nights until midnight or 1 a.m., I've been stopping hard at 10 p.m., so I can get some rest and be at the gym by 5:59 a.m. I get home from the gym by 7:15 a.m., so my wife and I can get ourselves and the kids dressed and fed by 8 a.m. Then it's off to the office. With half my colleagues in India (9.5 hours ahead), it's easy for meetings to be scheduled very early in the morning or late at night. Therefore, I've blocked off times on my work calendar to dedicate room for exercise and sleep.
Dealing with two toddlers and a busy start-up, I find my system doesn't always work. But it does most days, and it's forcing me to be even more selective with my time. Meanwhile, the added time pressure and heightened mental acuity seem to make me more efficient and effective. I suppose the worst outcome is that I'll feel better and live longer.
How do you integrate fitness into your busy life?