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Old 04-12-2010, 02:36 PM   #1
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Question Help required from those who work full time!

PS - Sorry this is so long!!!!!



Hi all, I need some help, because I'm so close to this problem that I can't see a clear way forward....

My eating has been fine for a while now, but I really struggle to get in sufficient exercise, and without it my weight loss really slows down.

However, I'm finding it hard to make time for the amount of exercise that I feel that I need, and I want some advice from others that have managed to juggle the same sorts of competing priorities.

If I tell you a bit about the things that I have working for and against me you'll maybe understand the problem a little better.

The pros: (some of these are biggies - before you all start shouting at me, I do honestly realise how lucky I am!!!)

1) I have a gym membership, and the gym (which is basic, but adequate for my needs) is mega-convenient for work (it's actually on the same hospital site where I work), but it doesn't open until 6.45am.

2) The hospital itself is LITERALLY a 5 minute brisk walk from a really beautiful sandy beach with a lovely promenade which is well-lit 24/7. There are some dodgy looking characters lurking around there if I get there too early before the usual doggy walkers arrive, but the doggy crowd tend to arrive around 6am.

3) I will soon take delivery of a real honest-to-goodness Spinner Pro bike (yes, a gym-quality Startrac one like they use on the Biggest Loser - I am soooooo excited!!!)...so I have access to one piece of top quality gym equipment at home. I also have some small dumbells and a skipping rope.

4) I have a very supportive husband, who encourages me to get fit and healthy, without once making me feel uncomfortable about my size.

5) I live in a little village that is surrounded by countryside, with signposted footpaths across miles and miles of farmland. I can be out of my house and on one of these footpaths within literally 2 minutes. And it's great cycling terrain too.

OK...so with all these fabulous positives, what could possibly be the problem?

THE CONS:

MY problem is my job....which seems to take up so much of my time!

I'm contracted (and paid) to work 37.5 hours per week, but I'm expected to work considerably more hours than that. I have a very highly paid job, and it comes with a certain amount of expectation that I'll work as long as it takes to get the job finished. Everyone else on my pay band is in the same boat...we live and breathe the hospital and are really conscientious and dedicated - but sometimes it seems to take over my whole life! My boss is the top man in the whole hospital, so I have no one to escalate the problem to, and although he tells me not to work such crazy hours (I work at least 20 hours more per week than he does) he also constantly gives me a hard time for not managing to meet his expectations. He's only been in post for 6 months and he's making quick character and value judgments, and because of this and because of the recession my job is much more insecure than it's ever been before. The boss has a reputation for firing people that he's unhappy with, and he's made it clear that I and my team need to deliver more to 'earn our keep' as he puts it... So I feel unable to really challenge the situation, and I can't afford to lose my job because I'm the only bread-winner. And - to be frank - jobs as well paid as mine are like hens' teeth, and in many ways I'm lucky to have it.

I've tried really hard to cut back on my unpaid hours lately, but it's a rare week when I don't work 50 hours at my desk, and another 10 or 15 at home...and more isn't uncommon. And my boss has started to make snidey comments about me being 'part time' because I leave at 5pm, when he doesn't leave until 6pm...but then he doesn't start until 8.30am and he never works in the evenings....

My usual schedule is as follows:
4am Get up, shower etc.
4.30 Drive to work
5am Park up and walk on the beach for 1 hour
6am Start work
5pm Finish work and go to the gym
6.30pm Drive home
7pm Arrive home and eat dinner
8pm - 10pm Catch up on more work
10pm - 11pm Spend a bit of time with my long-suffering hubby
11pm Bed

What makes this worse is that my husband doesn't work for health reasons, so he spends all day every day on his own...and when I a) hit the gym for 90 minutes before I get home and b) spend a couple of hours working after dinner I feel HORRIBLY guilty about neglecting him.

So what should I do? Do any of you have any bright ideas?

I could cut down on the gym hours (I try to go M-F for 90 minutes each day)...but I can't think of anything else that I can tweak. I already start my day really early so that it doesn't erode my evenings even more than it does already - I figure I can get in my walk and the first couple of work hours before my hubby has even gotten out of bed - but I'm getting really stressed trying to figure out a solution...and as usual, the only solution that comes to mind is sacrificing my gym hours, which I'm reluctant to do.

Can anyone give me some independent advice??????

Thanks!!!!
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:46 PM   #2
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Maybe I'm just not up on my exercise knowledge....but two and a half hours every day seems like a lot to me. A whole lot.

If I were you (and I may catch heck for this), I would cut out the evening work-out. Skip the 90 minute session in the evening, since you already have an entire hour of cardio from the morning time, and just go home. If you want some weight training, you could easily get a set and do quick work-out at home. This still seems like a solid amount of exercise to me and you might need to adjust your calories to compensate for the decreased activity...but two and a half hours, in combination with the rest of your life, equals a quick burn out, imo
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:48 PM   #3
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WOW! I don't have all of that pressure and I feel GREAT to get in at least 30 min a day of walk/jog. U are walking for an hr and hitting the gym- sounds good to me! So you eat dinner with your hubby and what if you spent an hr or so with him after dinner and saved the 10-11 for work? Also do you work weekends? Do you do a date night once a week? I LOVE date night and totally miss it when we skip a week! Sorry if this didn't help.....and good luck....u r one busy lady!!
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:59 PM   #4
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Like the others, I admire your dedication. I'd be a quivering mess getting up at 4 am every day. And working at night, too. Wow.

One way I could see you getting more time is by increasing the intensity of some of your work outs. If you do interval training, you'll get fitter faster. On most exercise machines, they have an interval option I think. You do a quick burst of activity, slow down, quick burst, etc.

Mixing up your exercise will freshen you up. And keep your heart rate up. And maybe if you have one hard workout, the next day you can skip the gym and spend it with your hubby.

I think you should keep your walks on the beach. I'm guessing they do a lot for your serenity as well as your waistline.
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:08 PM   #5
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I do a lot of juggling of time, work, and family... my solution has been to outfit my home with equipment that can get me the workout I want, in the hours that I can fit in. I have a bench, weights, television/DVD player, workout bike, and so on. My self-rewards generally are things that help me in my effort, so they either expand my home gym or help me outside (e.g. day pack for hiking, jacket for biking).

I would do the beach walk sometimes, but it wouldn't be my priority. 2 days out of 3I would do a serious hour of weights, calisthenics, and cardio (instead of the beack walk). The third day is serious cardio (my choice), and the fourth is rest.

You might want to make sure that you give yourself 1-2 days off from exercise for week, which time you can then give to your hubby.

Hope that helps -
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:13 PM   #6
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You don't need to exercise so much. Exercising more won't solve your weight-loss problems.

What you need to do is:

1. Sleep more. 5 hours per night is simply not enough. This can independently cause you to be unable to lose weight, and it will make your eating much more difficult to control. Not to mention that your work performance will suffer from ongoing sleep deprivation.

2. Relax and have some fun. Spend more time with your lonely husband. De-stress. These things are definitely more important than somehow fitting yet more exercise into your day.

3. Look for ways to add physical activity into the work day you already have, such as standing at your desk while you work, or getting up to do an errand every half-hour.
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:15 PM   #7
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I'd have to agree with everyone else. I know you don't want to give up workout time, and I commend you for your commitment to everything in your life. If you don't want to completely cut out the evening workout, how about decreasing it by half? As far as work goes, any chance you could delegate some of the responsibilities or duties to someone else? I work a 48 + hour work week, so I get the time crunch. Maybe you could divide responsibilities into "sectors" or groups and have a group leader? I really have no idea what you do for a living, so I'm just throwing some ideas out there. Good luck to you, whatever you decide!
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:22 PM   #8
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Wow, thank you all so much!! You are so amazing!!!

There is so much to think about in your replies, and I'll carefully consider each and every one of them. Sometimes it takes someone outside the situation to see it more clearly than you can yourself!

I'll mull over the problem and some of your suggestions this evening, and see what changes I can make from tomorrow...
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:32 PM   #9
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Wow, that's some schedule. Good you have the dedication to do it. I'd last less then a week just because I like my 9 hours a night of ZZZ's every night. I have to agree with other posters-if you increase the intensity of your exercising you can decrease the amount of time needed to get the same benefits. Plus a body needs sleep.

Also see about increasing your ADL (activities of daily living), park in the parking space as far as possible away from the door, walk swiftly to your office, drink extra water and go to the bathroom that's the farthest from your desk (well, that one might not be good for you since you are needing to get work done or lose the job). Pamela Peake suggested getting up and taking a 5 minute walk every hour you sit. I've found that it helps clear my mind. Stand while you are on the phone. Take the stairs instead of the elevator stuff like that.
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Dippy Chip originally posted My eating has been fine for a while now, but I really struggle to get in sufficient exercise, and without it my weight loss really slows down.
I am curious about your expectations. How fast do you expect to lose? In other words, how many pounds a week do you want to lose? How much exercise is "sufficient"? Do you think that 2.5 hours of exercise a day is insufficient?

I am wondering if you have "Biggest Loser" type of expectations such as exercising 8 hours per day and losing 5 - 10 pounds a week. Is it possible that the real issue is unrealistic expectations?
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by time2lose View Post
I am curious about your expectations. How fast do you expect to lose? In other words, how many pounds a week do you want to lose? How much exercise is "sufficient"? Do you think that 2.5 hours of exercise a day is insufficient?

I am wondering if you have "Biggest Loser" type of expectations such as exercising 8 hours per day and losing 5 - 10 pounds a week. Is it possible that the real issue is unrealistic expectations?

No, thanks for your concern, but I really don't expect to be losing 5-10lbs per week...I wish!

I find that if I keep my calories below 1400 and exercise for around 2-2.5hrs per day I lose around 1- 1.5lbs per week on average. Basically, I think I screwed up my metabolism from years and years of yo-yo weight gain and weight loss, so now I lose very slowly.

Honestly I'm not in any great rush to get to goal...I'm expecting it to take me 18 months to 2 years....but the reason I've been trying to get in this much cardio is because my job is so very very sedentary. I literally sit down from 6am until 5pm...apart from brief trips to the ladies...and I figured I needed this much cardio to get my metabolism revved up a bit.

Maybe I just need to relax a little as so many have advised...but my problem is that whenever life gets stressful, exercise is always the first thing I sacrifice, and I promised myself I wouldn't do that this time. Once I stopped exercising completely for 18 months, and I don't ever want to fall into that trap again!

Ideally I'd incorporate getting some exercise into my daily commute, but unfortunately I live 26 miles from work and the roads are very very busy and dangerous so cycling is out of the question. And unfortunately there is no public transport because I live so far out in the boondocks, so getting off the bus a couple of stops early isn't an option either.

Maybe shorter, more intensive workouts are the answer, as some of you have suggested.

I want to thank all of you again for taking the time to come up with your suggestions - I appreciate all of them, and will happily consider any others that you come up with!
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy Chip View Post
the reason I've been trying to get in this much cardio is because my job is so very very sedentary. I literally sit down from 6am until 5pm...apart from brief trips to the ladies...and I figured I needed this much cardio to get my metabolism revved up a bit.
Is there some rule at your job that you must *sit* in front of the computer, rather than setting your desk up so that you can stand, or investing in a treadmill desk for yourself? (It sounds like money is not really much of an issue. Treadmill desks can be purchased, or built.) Did you know that even standing for one hour will burn about 50 extra calories? (While treadmill desks at 1 mph, if I'm remembering right, burn something like 100 extra cals per hour.) If you were standing rather than sitting for even 4 to 6 hours out of your very long workday, you'd use more extra calories than you are probably burning right now in your workouts.

You work at a hospital, so if you start standing up and someone looks at you funny about it, you can go ahead and cite the Mayo Clinic's work on NEAT at them

Cardio will not actually "rev" your metabolism in terms of burning extra calories throughout the day. That's a myth; there are a few extra calories burned, but it's in the range of 20. Certainly not enough to make an appreciable difference to the big picture of calorie-burning. However, being more active in your daily life can make a huge difference.

I still assert, however, that you should put a big focus on getting enough/quality sleep. That's an area of your life that is severely lacking.
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarMaiden View Post
Is there some rule at your job that you must *sit* in front of the computer, rather than setting your desk up so that you can stand, or investing in a treadmill desk for yourself? (It sounds like money is not really much of an issue. Treadmill desks can be purchased, or built.) Did you know that even standing for one hour will burn about 50 extra calories? (While treadmill desks at 1 mph, if I'm remembering right, burn something like 100 extra cals per hour.) If you were standing rather than sitting for even 4 to 6 hours out of your very long workday, you'd use more extra calories than you are probably burning right now in your workouts.

You work at a hospital, so if you start standing up and someone looks at you funny about it, you can go ahead and cite the Mayo Clinic's work on NEAT at them

Cardio will not actually "rev" your metabolism in terms of burning extra calories throughout the day. That's a myth; there are a few extra calories burned, but it's in the range of 20. Certainly not enough to make an appreciable difference to the big picture of calorie-burning. However, being more active in your daily life can make a huge difference.

I still assert, however, that you should put a big focus on getting enough/quality sleep. That's an area of your life that is severely lacking.
Wow, that's helpful advice. No, I won't get into trouble if I do my work standing (I'm team leader so I get to make my own rules on that score and everyone will just have to tolerate my eccentricities ) so I could certainly stand at least part of the time. And the idea someone had about drinking more to force me to walk to the Ladies more frequently is also a good idea...sometimes I realise I've worked 10 solid hours and not even had a sip of water or a pee, so that's certainly something that would work to my advantage.

A treadmill desk sounds fab, but unfortunately I sit at one quarter of one large desk, so that's out of the question...but I certainly could stand (and drink) more than I do at the moment.

The sleep thing is also good advice, but I seem to function OK on 5 hours (always have, since infancy) and my sleep is good quality sleep. Most days I wake up feeling refreshed and raring to go. The early start makes my evenings so much more tolerable, and I admit I'd be loathe to give up the early starts unless I felt that they were really interfering with my effectiveness at work.
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:29 PM   #14
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Not sure if your office would allow, but you could take little breaks and do squats and pushups off of your desk at intervals throughout the day.
Use a swissball/exercise ball instead of a chair. Keep dumbbells at your desk and use them throughout the day. Building muscle is gonna help boost your metabolism.

Best wishes
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:40 PM   #15
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I have been in your shoes. I used to work salary and I HATED IT. I'd be in at 6 am and leave at 6 pm. My boss would stroll in at 9 am and then complain to me I wasn't working enough! I was like OMG I work 12 hour days and don't see my family at all! By the time I'd get home I was DEAD and would fall asleep by 10 pm.

Your boss strolls in at 8:30? I suggest doing the same- you really need more sleep than you are getting... It'd be nice to eat breakfast with hubby every morning...

I'd also WRITE DOWN and log all that you do- if he tries to fire you for not doing enough work you can show what you are doing. I did this when I had an issue with my current job.

Also- stop doing work at home.

The one thing that I learned in all this is no matter how much you do MORE work will be waiting for you AND if you don't get something done guess what? It'll be there tomorrow.

I mean I know you are concerned about your work and possibly losing your job but when you are home you should be home. I am sure you have a lot of stress and that definitely doesn't help with weight loss!
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