Priorities and the problem with ‘all or nothing’

I sometimes feel guilty about doing things for myself. And it’s a problem.

I’m the owner of a fast growing, highly demanding private nutrition practice, The Healthy Eating Hub. It’s actually Canberra’s largest team of nutrition professionals and I’m obviously biased, but we’re pretty awesome!

I have two kids. They’re 7 and 9 and they’re involved in two extra-curricular activities each and also attend a VERY busy little school. I feel like I need a PA just to handle all the school notes some days. And the school app? Don’t even get me started on those incessant notifications!

I have a very supportive husband who works in a sometimes high pressure job and has extra-curricular activities of his own. We share the child rearing and household chores 50/50.

I’ve been slogging away at growing my business for a long time now and I’ll be honest with you:

I haven’t consistently participated in exercise consistently for almost 3 years.

Are you shocked? Well, you shouldn’t be. I’m not superhuman. Health and fitness experts aren’t unusual people. I’m a normal person. With normal pressures and stressors. Juggling competing priorities is a huge challenge that I’m not sure I’ll ever master. I find it hard to prioritise myself when it comes to exercise. I occasionally rely on ready made connivence foods. In saying that, despite the busyness of my life, I do have a pretty good handle on my food. Here’s how I do it.

About 3 years ago, I was regularly exercising. About 6 hours per week. My business was smaller. My kids were littler. I prioritised the exercise because it was a wonderful social connection time for me with great friends and it made me FEEL SO GOOD.

But then I injured myself. Badly. I couldn’t move my head for weeks. Then the business took a massive step forward. My youngest started school. I started working LOTS. And that was that. Blah Blah blah… I sporadically exercised from then on. Since then I’ve found it difficult to switch off from work and take a break. I find it difficult to exercise with my kids in tow. The whinging, complaining and fighting. Argh! Drives me crazy! I feel guilty about taking even more time to do some exercise by myself.

I’ve been in a pathetic manky slump about it all.  Just a grumpy, cranky workaholic, feeling guilty and sorry for myself.

I miss the fitness. I miss being strong. I miss muscle tone in my body.

But no more. I’ve decided that prioritising my health is NOT selfish. And for the good of men and women everywhere, I’m taking a stand with advocating that if we don’t change our mindsets about prioritising our health and stop being victims and start being ‘doers’, then we’ll NEVER turn long term changes (with exercise or diet) into long term habits.

So, how do I plan on making this happen?

Well, I’m going to set myself some small, achievable goals, rather than trying to do it all at once!

  • First goal (4 weeks): Run 5km in under 30 minutes. I know that I can do this distance easily and that it’ll only take me 4 weeks, of 2-3 runs per week, to easily build up to this.
  • Second goal (to build on the first) (4 weeks): Add two weight training sessions per week. I have a program from an old coach, that I’m going to use at my local gym.
  • Third goal (4 weeks): Run 10km in under 60 minutes. I’m going to stretch out the distance. I love running when I’m in the habit of it. I think, pray, dream and it’s as good for my mind as it is for my body. I have no desire to run further than this, 10km is my limit.

So the next 12 weeks of my Spring/Summer are all planned out. By January, I’ll be regularly running 10km and lifting weights!

If you’d like to follow my progress, I’ll be documenting my journey (food and exercise) on my Instagram story. @kfnutrition. I would love to take you on the journey! Feel free to share with me your goals too!

See my meals, snacks, drinks, training sessions, and most likely my crazy family! Plus get heaps of tips and tricks about how to stay consistent with your eating and exercise habits long term!

I’ll be showcasing my food, taken straight from my recipe book: Everyday Eats. Check it out!

Everyday eats is available as an eBook or hardcopy!

Article by Kate Freeman

Registered Nutritionist. Writer. Presenter. Home cook. Mother. Wife. Runner. Hiker. Amateur photographer.