“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
Are you struggling to live a healthy lifestyle? It’s not that you don’t know the importance of health. However, we may ask ourselves how staying healthy is feasible without time and money. Most of the healthy people we see online are full-time fitness/health influencers/guru, are in the health industry, are models/athletes, etc. However, I want to show you how I stay healthy while working full-time, juggling my side hustle, and a 3-hour daily commute. This applies to full-time workers, students, people who work multiple jobs, or stay-at-home moms.
My Struggle with Health
In the summer, I was at my peak health. I took a 2-month long break after college but continued to eat clean, exercise every day, and sleep at least 7 hours every night. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty darn good.
However, all the time I had suddenly slipped away once I started working full-time. After a 3-hour commute and contributing to this blog outside of my 8-hour workday, being healthy was the last thing on my mind.
I ate junk food, constantly snacked out of stress, stopped exercising regularly, and had an irregular sleep schedule.
Unsurprisingly, I started to loathe the way I was feeling. I constantly felt sluggish. My motivation for doing anything productive was disappearing, and I struggled with tasks that once considered easy. Getting out of bed used to be something I looked forward to, but it soon became something I despised.
If this was how I would feel every day, then I would come to hate my existence. I decided that there has to be something I could do that wouldn’t take up too much of my time and money. I started to incorporate some small and easy healthy habits that soon shifted the way I felt.
Here are the 5 effortless and easy ways to stay healthy while working full-time, healthy habits that will save you money, time, and health. You can easily incorporate them into your busy life today.
Prepare your Meals ahead of Time
Part of the reason why I gained weight is that I ate whatever and whenever. I also ate what was most convenient, which happened to be the french fries and burger downstairs. Not only was this unhealthy, but it was a blow to my wallet.
Planning is the key to victory. This is where meal prepping comes in. You can control what and how much you eat beforehand. Also, you save time by doing all of your cooking on a single day.
With meal prepping, you can dedicate one day (I prefer the weekends), to prepare meals for the entire week.
You also want to portion out your food to make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of calories and nutrients. To help portion out my meals, I use a food scale to measure out my food. Because of this, I’ve been able to lose and maintain weight. The one I use is inexpensive and easy to use — it does everything you need it to do. You can get it here.
I also recommend using the Myfitnesspal app to help log calories, nutrients, and your weight loss/gain/maintenance progress. You can enter and log your food, and the app will have data on the number of calories and data on the nutrients. To read more about nutrients and weight-loss/weight gain/maintaining weight, read our thorough and beginner-friendly blog post about losing weight.
Sneak Exercise in
When you only have a few hours left of your day, going to the gym sounds like a faraway dream. After commuting from home to work and back, driving to the gym was the last thing on my mind. Aside from not having any time, I didn’t have any money to go to the gym. The membership of the gym closest to me was $55 a MONTH.
Besides, I just wanted to lay on the couch and watch TV. However, inactivity was a big factor as to why I was feeling so sluggish and unmotivated.
These are some simple ways I snuck in exercise at my workday — all without a gym membership.
Park farther away (only where it’s safe)
This allows me to sneak more cardio into my day. Brisk walking is a great form of cardio. However, only park farther away in an area you feel safe at.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator
It’s easy to conform to the majority, following the stream of people into the elevator. However, this is a perfect opportunity to sneak more exercise into your day.
You also avoid getting squished by ten other people. Furthermore, Implementing a little bit of cardio helps you feel invigorated and more energized. I’ve implemented this step and noticed a major increase in my energy levels. This is also how I kept off excess weight.
Replace your chair with an Exercise Ball
Did you know that just sitting on an exercise ball burns calories? Your core has to work harder just to balance yourself.1
This is easier if you work at home, but many people in my office sit on an exercise ball! If not, you can replace your desk at home with an exercise ball.
There are many exercise balls you can get, but this is the one my family and I use. There are different sizes available depending on your height and weight, and it can support up to 2000+ pounds. It sounds like a long-shot, but the weight limit is guaranteed. You can purchase it here.
Use a Standing desk or Get up and Walk Around
Sitting for prolonged periods is detrimental to your health. If your workplace allows it, consider installing a standing desk. If not, be sure to stand up and walk around every now and then. Propose to walk over to people rather than them meeting you at your desk.
Utilizing lunch breaks for walks
If you have an hour for lunch, you can use 15-30 minutes of it taking a walk. Ask your other co-workers if they would want to join. You can also walk to your lunch destination to squeeze in those extra steps.
Wearing ankle weights and body weights
If you’re stuck sitting in one area for a long time, using ankle weights will help burn more calories when you do walk. I recently incorporated ankle weights into my walks and have gotten some noticeable results. I use a light-weight pair that doesn’t hinder my everyday activities. You can find them here.
I find these super helpful on days where I’m glued to my desk. Because of how versatile and flexible they are, I can take them off and put them on whenever I please.
These are some things I did before or after work:
Quick yoga in the morning
This will only take a few minutes from your morning but leave you feeling more energized. Here are some free resources/videos I follow (for yoga):
They all provide beginner-friendly yoga videos that are quick and effective. They also have more advanced content if you are further along your yoga journey.
Squeezing a super quick 15-30 minute workout at night
I do a quick 15-minute workout on my elliptical on most nights. This is the specific model I use, (Bowflex max), and they have a quick 14-minute interval training workout.
However, there are millions of free workout content available online that are short and effective. These three fitness YouTubers provide a wide variety and range of workout videos. You don’t need any equipment for these and can do them in your bedroom.
If you’re interested and want to learn more about fitness, check out our blog post about Dieting and Fitness Myths. This blog post will help you save time by avoiding the fitness advice that doesn’t work.
Sleep earlier – morning routine
“Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.”2
Who needs sleep, right? Well, a lack of sleep is associated with weight gain, fatigue, a weaker immune system, inflammation, high blood pressure, and more.3 But how do we exactly squeeze in more sleep when there are only 24 hours in a day?
Some solutions I found are:
Plan your day out accordingly
“Gain control of your time, and you will gain control of your life.” John Landis Mason
Using a planner will help you keep track of your day. Write down everything you need to get done, listing the highest priorities at the top. A planner that I like to use is the Moleskine planner. The planner is very durable and beautifully designed, which will motivate you to write in your planner every day. You can purchase the planner here.
A lot of our time is wasted by additional distractions. Something that takes me 10 minutes to do might take me an hour if I get sidetracked by Youtube videos, Facebook, and other social media posts.
A good solution to this is to use a browser extension that blocks distractions, such as StayFocusd.
The less time you spend distracted, the more time that gives you to finish your tasks. The goal is to finish everything with time to spare, which can be used for self-care and most importantly, for sleeping.
Reduce Blue light before you sleep
Not only the quantity but the quality of your sleep matters. Blue light has been known to decrease the quality of your sleep. It also makes it harder for you to fall asleep, which can be stressful if you have a high activity day coming up.
A few hours before you sleep, activate the blue light reducer filter on your phone. A half-hour/hour before you sleep, shut off all your electronics altogether.
Although this might be hard, establishing a night-time routine makes this transition easier. Your routine can include reading, doing night-yoga, practicing self-care, and whatever relaxes you.
If you need to use any electronics at night, I recommend purchasing a pair of blue-light glasses. You can put these on when using your phone, computer/laptop, when watching TV, or whenever a fluorescent light is on.
Drink at least two liters of water every day
Seriously, drink your water — the things it does are almost magical. Drinking water can help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism, which helps burn calories faster.
Coffee counts as water too right? When I started working, my office had a coffee machine and hot chocolate, which led me into a rabbit hole. With my workload increasing, I was caught up more and more into my work. I soon found myself to be dehydrated and sluggish. Plus, I was consuming extra calories.
When looking into the matter more, it is proven that water helps weight loss, increases metabolism, helps reduce teeth decay, flushes waste in the body, boosts performance during exercise, and so much more.4 As you can tell, water is necessary and can exponentially boost your health. In addition, drinking extra water gives you an excuse to take frequent bathroom breaks.
Some easy ways to incorporate more water are:
- Carry around a water bottle.
- Drink a glass of when you wake up, before you eat, during a workout, and throughout work.
- Have a glass of water beside you when you sleep.
Stay motivated and develop your mindset
“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.”-Steve Maraboli
While the steps above will increase your physical health, your mindset is the one thing that will keep you healthy in the long run. With a positive and strong mindset, changes will take place. Your mindset will motivate you when things get too hard, and it’ll keep you going when you feel like giving up.
Carol Dweck presented an informative and inspiring speech about mindset that you can watch here. This speech covers the growth mindset and how it can apply to your situation.
You’re always growing and learning. Developing yourself doesn’t stop. If you have the right attitude, work ethic, and motivation, then growth is inevitable. Over time, staying healthy while working full-time won’t feel so hard.
Hustling with a full-time job, kids, school, another job, etc. is no joke, and it feels like there is time for nothing. Although staying healthy while working full-time might seem unimportant at the moment, prioritizing your health is what will keep you going. You deserve to feel your best.
After incorporating these five steps into my life, I saw a major change in my energy levels, productivity, and the way I looked.
The major takeaways from this post are:
- Meal prep to save time
- Incorporate exercise into your day
- Prioritize sleep
- Drink more water
- Shift your mindset
If you enjoyed this post, please share it for others to read. If you have any additional tips on how you incorporated healthy habits into your lifestyle, feel free to comment below! Thank you for reading!
Resources in this article: