Take Time to Practice Balance

It’s 5:15 a.m., and dare I say that with the exception of the news and the tapping of my keyboard the house is q-u-i-e…I’m too superstitious to finish. This moment is my secret weapon. This moment will allow for way more than just the creation of this blog. As far as I’m concerned, this moment means that later this morning, I will be able to drop my kids off at their respective schools….get to the gym…then to work…then pick the kids back up…then home in time to spend time with them, make dinner, do their bedtime… and then get a bit more work done. If it wasn’t for this moment, I truly believe that the rest of the day would not “work”…and I can just about guarantee it would make getting to my 9a.m. gym time far more difficult. As far as I’m concerned, my daily early rise makes me a healthier-balanced-more pleasant mom/wife/professional.

I found myself thinking about this topic after a recent conversation with a client, Mary. Mary has been tasked to lose weight, start exercising and make significant changes to her diet. As her RD, we have begun to do this together. Mary’s children are grown and she is currently unemployed. Yet, every time I check in with her she repeatedly tells me that she has no time to walk (on her treadmill…in her basement…by her TV…do you see where I am going with this?). In her mind, she literally has back-to-back errands, etc. to do all day long. Sound familiar? Yet, I just can’t see how this is possible. She has all the time, but no time. At my request she is keeping a “time log”…literally from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed, an hour-by-hour breakdown so that she can understand how she spends her time.

Time Management
Time Management / Ryan Hyde / CC BY 2.0

Here’s the thing…balancing everything that we need to balance in life is not innate. If there is a word we are all seeking to be in control of, it would be balance. We want a balanced work and home life, a balanced family schedule, a balanced personal life…a balanced meal on the table at the end of the day. It takes skill, practice and deliberate choices to work at achieving balance. It takes time and effort to find your secret weapon that makes it all “work.” And of course it means sometimes saying “no” and really understanding and defining what is important to you, which I believe Mary will have to learn to do to reconcile her situation.

We all know it is important to take care of our bodies, exercise and eat well. Yet everyday many of us partake in a risky experiment that challenges this. Think about it…how many unnecessary shows did you watch over the past three days? (Let’s be honest – there is a lot of bad TV.) How much time did you spend on the phone or on the internet? And how much time did you devote to meal planning and getting to the gym? Is the first part of the equation just a bad excuse not to get to the second part? If you are nodding your head yes, then maybe it’s a good time, like Mary, to note what you are doing with your day and recalibrate so you really can find the time to go to the gym and plan a meal.

Take a moment to make space in your day for better balance. Mary hasn’t returned yet with her time log. On the rare chance that her day is truly filled hour-by-hour, if she is truly busy from when she wakes straight through bedtime, then I can simply only offer her one more suggestion….get up one hour earlier. As for me…so far so good. The house is still …you know.

About our Consulting Dietitian

Allison Stowell MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian and a working mom of two. Allison enables individuals to make positive, sustainable changes in their eating habits by stressing conscious eating, improving relationships with food and offering a non-diet approach for reaching and maintaining ideal body weight.

She also runs a successful private practice with offices in Danbury, CT, Bedford Hills, NY and Mahopac, NY. Since 2007, Allison has also worked with the grocer, Hannaford Brothers Corporation, as a Nutrition Coordinator. She provides complementary nutrition classes and tours, community workshops and one-on-one shopping experiences at their Carmel, NY location.

She joins the Guiding Stars team to help people in a number of sectors (grocery, hospitals, schools and universities) to understand how to use the Guiding Stars nutrition navigation program to make healthier food choices.

Allison lives in Connecticut with her husband, two small children and her dog, Chase.