It’s Go To Time

March 24, 2009

Find your go to outfit, stat!

Find your go to outfit, stat!

You’re busy. You work full time, which means all hours, because nobody works from 9 to 5 anymore, especially in this economy. And/or you’ve got kids who, go figure, have needs. And/or you’re in a relationship, and that takes time to tend to and keep it right (or at least civil), and/or you have a living space, which needs to be cleaned and repaired and decorated, and you and all of your potential hangers-on need to eat, so you’ve got to keep the fridge full and whip something up come to mealtime…I could go on. But this isn’t really about that. This is an assignment, because of that.

Carve out an hour for yourself and a mirror. Your mission? Find your go to outfit, from the lipstick down to your shoes. You need to have that outfit down pat no matter what else is going on in your life. Why? Because you’re busy! And the last thing you need to spend time doing in the am is standing in front of your closet, fretting over what blouse would look okay with what skirt. Do that in this hour. Important meeting at work? Find the top, bottoms, jacket, jewelry, makeup, socks/tights and shoes that make up the outfit that gives you the confidence you need. Commit it to memory. Write it down if you need to. And then the next time you have an important meeting at work, go to it. You don’t have to think about it, it’s done. You csn do it with other things too. Brunch with friends? Saturday night dinner with your husband? Interview for a new job? Done, done and done. The added bonus is that it will make you realize what does and doesn’t work for you, which gives you clues on what to look for the next time you’re out shopping. You know, with all of that found time you’ll have…File this under a little pro-activity going a long way.

For the Boys

Guys can save time with this approach as well, but men seem to have an easier time given the more narrow focus of their closets. Of course a great suit always looks nice, but a button down and khakis seems to be the clear favorite. 209410_426_41Our friend Andy was over tonight and he swears by the wrinkle-free button down shirts from LL Bean. (The official name is Wrinkle-Resistant Classic Oxford Cloth Shirt.) Apparently you literally wash it, hang it, put it on and go. Very low maintenance, which I like. And at $29.50, a veritable bargain. I think it’s worth trying out.

And Stretch

My pilates teacher (who’s stuck in Japan right now, but I digress) reminded me about the importance of stretching AFTER you exercise. If you’re on the treadmill or elliptical, you’ve got so much blood flowing downward that, according to her, even just lying with your feet up against the wall for a few minutes will help even out the blood flow to all of your muscles, and make your stretching more beneficial. I have been putting my legs up and then doing my ab crunches and my hamstrings have felt less tight, so maybe it is helping. Just something to keep in mind.

Hope your Monday was good!


Just Do It

January 29, 2009

Go for the burn and stick with it.

Go for the burn and stick with it.

As I was trudging to the gym through the snow this morning, early enough that no one had been out to shovel yet, carrying my sneakers in a plastic bag, sniffling due to a cold that is on the verge of being full blown, I wondered why I hadn’t just stayed home. But I couldn’t – for over a year now, Monday through Friday, I feel compelled to go the 2 blocks to the gym and break a sweat. And since it’s that time of year when New Year’s resolutions start to fall by the wayside, I thought it would be a good time to share some tips about how I found a way to fit regular exercise into my schedule.

Morning Glory: Mornings are the only time I can control – by the time after work comes around, I’m exhausted and just want to see my kids for a little while before they have to hit the hay. And frankly, with kids, I’m up early anyway, it was just a question of getting myself out of the house. So we have a routine where Ken is off to the gym first and when he returns I go. I know people express reluctance to waking up early, but if you commit yourself for two weeks, your body will acclimate. Getting it done in the morning means it’s out of the way and by 9am you’ve already accomplished something great for yourself.

No Pressure: I used to feel like I had to go all out with my workout and run several miles and do this many push-ups and on and on and on – and the effect it had was that it felt too daunting to go every day so I’d make it two, maybe three days. But after I had Addison and knew I was done procreating, I wanted to commit to exercise on a regular basis. So I made a new rule: I could do any machine I wanted, I just needed to burn at least 300 calories and go at least 2 miles. This allowed me to break a sweat and it was achievable. So sometimes I do the treadmill, sometimes the elliptical, sometimes a combination with the bike, but I always stick to this rule and without any pressure on myself, I usually blow past those numbers.

Timing is Everything: Although I make time in the morning to go, I don’t have a lot of time. My regular workout is usually 35 minutes of cardio, some push-ups, crunches and stretching, which gets me in and out in under an hour. Some days I have a little more time so I do more cardio, some days I have less time due to an early meeting or appointment, so there are rare days when I can only get cardio in for 20 minutes, but I figure some is better than none. If you make the time commitment easy on yourself, you’re more likely to fit it in.

These are some things that worked for me; I hope they can work for you too. And that way you won’t become a February casualty. You know, the ones that crowd the gym in January, all gung ho, and then leave a month later, unable to live up to their unrealistic expectations. You can do it!

I’m bummed Gossip Girl was a repeat this week.

I forgot to acknowledge the Chinese New Year earlier this week. It’s the year of the ox – hope it’s a good one!