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How can I create an exercise habit if I don't have a schedule?

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Ok, I figure I need to exercise quite a bit to lose the weight, and then, hopefully, exercise moderately to maintain a healthy body weight going forward. This requires some degree of regularity. I can (usually) get myself out the door if I am free to do so, but what about when my schedule gets in the way? This has been a perpetual problem for me, and it's not going anywhere - EVER, so I have to find a way to work with it.

I lost the weight 6 years ago, by running regularly. When I didn't run, and didn't reestablish a pattern of regular exercise, I slowly regained the weight.

I know. *what an original story!*

But that's a different blog. For now, how will I fit in the exercise I need to lose the weight, and start to build that pattern, that habit that I'm always on about?

1. Plan AND
2. Facilitate
3. Do
1 and 2: so yes, I have a plan. I've worked out lots of ways to make it possible - talked with my family about setting the time aside for me, quit some activities I didn't like doing anyway, joined a gym I can afford that has hours I can work with... forced myself to start getting used to swimming as a means to exercise...
3. And, working with you all, my FANTASTIC SparkPeople, I have the accountability and motivation pieces covered.

But I get totally derailed when my schedule changes, and I have trouble getting BACK to the plan once I am back to a 'regular' schedule. (ROTFL - regular? oy!)

Last week I was scheduled for 2 shifts, but worked 5 in a row so I couldn't get to the gym at all during that time. So my workout plan for the week was foiled; going to the gym on days that I work is generally unrealistic.

I just realized, that probably sounds silly to those of you who work 8 hour days. Why not just go to the gym after work (at 8pm or at 8am)? Get up earlier and work out then? (I'd have to get up at 4:30am for that to happen. NOT going to happen.)

So, why not just work out before and after work?

Because Math.

12-hour days are really 13 hours when you factor in the half hour before and after each shift to give/receive report and complete documentation. Factor in an hour to get out of bed, get ready and pack the right foods (plus get dinner in the slow cooker, plus pack kids' lunches), 8 hours for sleep (lol! RARELY happens) and an hour to get to and from work:

12+0.5+0,5+1+8+1=23 hours

So on the days I work, I have exactly one 'free hour,' and I still have to, you know, say hello to my kids now and then!

My schedule can change at a moment's notice since I pick up shifts and get called in. I usually have 2-3 shifts per week on my schedule (math - leaves 4-5 days for exercise). This means that if I pick up more than one or two shifts in a week (last week I picked up three and a half 7-2-3.5=1.5!)) then I won't get the exercise in that I need. I'm worried my plan will get derailed completely if that happens too many times.

I guess what I really need is a mental strategy to forgive those missed workouts and move on. I need to work out a way to deal with the fact that I can't count on 'streaking' as a means to set my exercise pattern; ditch the 'all or nothing' mentality.

I guess it also means that I have to treat every workout as if it's the only one I have time for this week - really make every one count and not 'phone it in.' Don't skip one because I may miss one later. NOW is the time. Ok, I think I've got it...

Ok, off into the world.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great way to face that "this is your life" (at least for now).
    Little bits of exercise (take the stairs not the elevator, even part way) can help. Walk a little further from the car to shops, etc.
    Tiny habits (a formal method of teaching habits) does things like squats in the bathroom, to sneak in little bits here and here.
    On your days off, can you do 2 exercise sessions? Think of it as a treat for yourself - like going to a spa emoticon when you "get" to workout. Maybe one at the gym and one at home or with a friend/family members (out for a walk, game of tennis, a hike, etc.). Great way to bond with the kids/partner.
    You can do this, you just need to be a little more creative.
    1678 days ago
    I feel your pain as I have done it most of my life. I came to the realization that they do not really appreciate all of those extra hours you give to work. I asked for a raise after 8 years and got let go! You are worth it more!!
    1678 days ago
  • ZORO22
    I have worked 12's a lot and I don't think working out those days is realistic. Focus on your diet and keeping close track of your calories and just exercise on your days off. Let go of the all or nothing mentality - it will only hold you back!
    1678 days ago
  • ZORO22
    It's key to remember that for weight loss, diet is more important than exercise. Exercise is important for many reasons but you can be successful without daily workouts. My suggestion would be to not worry about exercising on the days you work.
    1678 days ago
    Can you work in a short work out during your lunch. I've read several places thats a 10 mins of exercise a few times a day works,just as much if not better than,an hour.
    1678 days ago
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