Finding time to maintain a healthy lifestyle despite a hectic working schedule calls for inventiveness, says the busy writer of this blog. Read how she achieves her health goals!

Think your hectic job, kid’s schedules and other demands in your life leave no time for fitness? Please pause and re-order your priorities.

On an airplane, the flight attendant instructs: “Please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.” Take a cue from this. Put your own oxygen mask on first: pay attention to your own health. Without this, you won’t survive!

When the warning bell sounded

Being a workaholic, I barely thought about fitness. Stress was like a dark cloud in my life. I had no energy for anything, after a long day at work. Weight gain was the least of my worries since chronic migraines, back pains, and anxiety issues took precedence.

My annual medical checkup confirmed my physical decline. I longed for a “lifestyle reboot” button, but who was I kidding? Only I could improve my health, with support from my loved ones.

box with sandwich fruits and chocolate and bottle of juice

New eating habits

Being a foodie, dieting was not my thing. Instead I went back to basics- a diet comprised of vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts. I gradually curbed my intake of processed foods. Here are some tried and tested tricks:

#1 Practice meal prepping to maintain a healthy diet. Keep aside one evening a week to list your daily meals, grocery list, and quick recipes. Prep and chop versatile vegetables that can be used in multiple recipes.

For instance, my fridge is always stocked with chopped onions, garlic, ginger, chilies, carrots and peppers. I keep frozen vegetables and cooked lentils in my freezer for a quick nutritious stir fry, soup or a protein-packed dal. Meal prepping is a real boon for dieters.

#2 Carry your own meals to work and take no shame in packing your own lunch box the night before, based on your meal plan. Eating out daily can be detrimental to your health because you have no control over meal preparation. For on-­the­-go breakfast, blend up a quick fruit smoothie or stir up some oats .

Healthy snacks for workplace lunch: baby carrots almonds cashew and glass of water. Vegetarian healthy food for office job meal.

#3 Store healthy snacks at work to help curb hunger between meals. Most easily accessible snacks are high in carbohydrates, refined sugar, and salt. I like to keep a bag of mixed nuts, granolas and cocoa nibbles.

If you have a common fridge or a kitchen in your office, then store a pack of frozen carrots, protein balls or yoghurt. Remember, snack in moderation!

Tips for working out

#1 Working women need to set realistic fitness goals: There’s no ‘One Size Fits All’ fitness routine. Some prefer to work out in the gym, while others enjoy outdoor activities like running or routines like yoga. So take time to figure out what interests you, and be open minded about this.

#2 Quality wins over quantity: Before I tried yoga, I never imagined I’d like it. But I was wrong- yoga brought back discipline into my life.  I also learned that quality wins over quantity, when it comes to exercise. Doing some activity is better than doing none!

#3 Vary the intensity: On a busy day, I sneak in 30 minutes HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout, which is hardly 2% of my day! Most HIIT workouts require no equipment, are efficient, burn body fat, improve lung capacity, and increase your endurance.

In life there are no shortcuts and sometimes a JOLT is required to get you to adopt a healthy lifestyle. My jolt was my annual medical record. What’s yours?