A Change Will Do You Good?

Change is good, right? Yes and no.

You know I got a new job in February (which is going great so don’t think I’m about to knock the job!). I knew that the company had a wellness plan and since my commute was cut shorter I had all these ideas for my extra hour in the morning. I swear, I pictured starting the job and dropping 10 pounds in the first month. Except guess what happened? Yup, I gained 10 pounds in the first two months. So what went wrong?

For one, a wellness plan only works if you actually do it. I had to wait one month to sign up for it, which for some reason really threw me off. When I signed up, I spent the next month downloading lots of great information and not doing anything with it. I printed out food diaries and then didn’t track. I got great advice on sleep, stress, nutrition, activity, etc. It’s all in a file on my desktop.

Second, I went from public transportation to driving. My commute went from more than an hour to 15 minutes – yay! But I really didn’t realize how much walking that public transportation commute got me. Just the train station to my office and back was a few thousand steps. The other part of that is I went from city to suburb, which means driving everywhere. Previously, going out for lunch at work meant walking wherever. And I’m a big walker so working in D.C. was perfect. I’d walk anywhere in the city rather than metro or cab. Now going out for lunch is walking to the car and driving somewhere. At the old job, I would do an easy 10,000 steps on the pedometer. Now, I struggle to get the 7,000 wellness program marker.

The third change is my actual office. Previously, window office with lots of natural light and space. I also turned off the overhead fluorescent lamps and used natural light lamps. Now, I’m in a tiny corner cubicle with terrible lighting and nowhere near any sunshine. It didn’t occur to me at first that this was an issue, until I really started thinking about why I was gaining all this weight. I’ve read a very little about the effect natural light has on our physiology, and it does seem to make a difference.

And, oh yeah, there’s my sleeping. I’m not a great sleeper to start with. I have terrible insomnia and generally wake up a few times during the night. Plus my mindset has been that since I have an extra hour in the morning, I can stay up an extra hour at night. The problem with that is that my husband still gets up at 5:30 and some mornings I can’t fall back asleep after he gets up. The other problem is I have a very cute little boy who has never been a good sleeper. There are many a morning that he’s up before 6, so that extra hour goes right out the window.

Lastly is extra time. I thought I’d have much more extra time with the new job because of the shorter commute, but I didn’t realize how much I was able to do at the old job. One big thing is that I had about 40 minutes each way on the train. Sometimes I napped, sometimes I read, sometimes I did bills, make grocery lists, etc. Either way, that time is gone. I’ve definitely struggled with going from work, driving home and then getting right into everything. Driving 15 minutes home and having 45 minutes of me time on the train is definitely not the same thing! The other part of this is how much personal stuff I was doing at the old job. For one, I worked from home at least once a week. I think most people who work from home will tell you, I’d get more done one day at home than three days in the office. Because of how much I was able to do, I’d take an hour of those days to do meal planning, hit the grocery store, or exercise. I haven’t done much meal planning since I started the new job and finally realized it was because I had that time before to do it. Also, the work I was doing went in waves. When I was busy, it was 12-hour nonstop days, but that also meant that there were times when the work was slow. I definitely took advantage of those times to do things I personally needed to get done. (Side note, I regularly worked nights and weekends so it’s not like I wasn’t putting in my fair time!)

So what’s the solution? I can’t put a window in my cube. I can’t walk to work. I can’t put an extra hour on the clock. But I can do something.

I can get up and move. One of the funny things about working here is that with the wellness plan, you get points for certain things that you can trade in for money, gift cards, etc. One of those is wearing a pedometer and getting different points for different step markers. So you’re constantly seeing people walking around trying to get more steps. They walk in the hallway, up and down stairs, and around the parking lot. I’ve been walking across the street into a neighborhood that at least gives me something interesting to look at. I can’t always use my whole lunch break to take a walk, but even if I have only 10 minutes, I know I can hit the parking lot for a quick walk. This also helps with the natural light situation. I got an indoor plant for my desk so maybe that will help too, who knows!

I’m going back and actually reading all those things I downloaded and just filed away. There’s some pretty good stuff there. I’ve also rejoined Weight Watchers. I’ll do more on that later, but for now, I really need the accountability that comes with the weigh ins, and the tools it provides to succeed.

I’ve really been trying to get better sleep, which I know effects not just my health but my work production, attitude and more. It’s hard with the insomnia, but I’m trying!

As for the extra time situation, there’s not much I can do about that. I can’t create more time so I just have to use my time more efficiently. I can run some errands during lunch. I can carve out me time on the weekends (much to my husband’s dismay!). I have to find time for meal planning and ME planning!

OK, so this change threw me for a loop but I’m back in control. So, yeah, a change WILL do me good. I just have to make that change work!

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