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Finding a happy medium

July 16, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
I have a hard time finding the center of anything.

I can’t seem to adjust my thermostat so that I am neither too warm nor too cold. As I type this, I am wearing a sweater because the air conditioner is on and I can’t seem to find that balance.

The same goes for just about everything else and I doubt I am alone. Balancing work with everything else is a challenge nearly every day. When I was what I like to call, “retired” for nine years before going back to work, it wasn’t as difficult to stay on track with most things. I could easily spend an entire morning planning out meals for a week that would not only be healthy, but would stay within my dietary guidelines for portion sizes and calories.

I had no trouble keeping a food journal and updating it continually throughout the day. I had no problem with keeping the kitchen stocked with emergency food that would with whatever plan I was following. But when our days are filled with responsibilities that keep us from our own routine, we tend lose that control. Sometimes our jobs or other pressing matters take over our lives and when that happens, losing control begins to snowball and overflow into other areas.

I am not a control fanatic, but I do like to have all my ducks in a row. I like things to operate smoothly without too many reverberations along the way. While I can adapt to change, I find I am calmer when my routine isn’t altered by outside influences.

A study published in “Science Weekly” a couple years ago carried out by the University of Helsinki, Department of Public Health noted that nearly 25 percent of woman and 19 percent of men admitted to gaining weight on the job. This was attributed to fatigue from working long days and still feeling tired in the mornings. Some workers blamed stress on their lack of control over their lives. Others said they were just too tired to make better choices.

It is difficult to find the time to plan and is much easier to grab something quick, which in our day and age, usually refers to fast and processed food.

I also have mornings when I have to rush out the door without taking time to pack a lunch. Like most people, I don’t live close enough to my work to be able to go home and prepare something. But it can be done. And it doesn’t have to be difficult. Let’s learn together.

The week has been moving along quickly without much distraction. I managed to get most of my work done without having to put in a lot of extra hours this week. So far; however, I haven’t gotten myself back to the gym, and am still working on making that a part of my routine.

Monday and Tuesday, I was able to stay within the calorie guidelines I set for myself, which is 1400 per day. There was one difficult moment when I succumbed to fast food, a quick trip to Burger King on Tuesday, but it didn’t throw me off track. I opted for a Junior Whopper with no mayo and a small order of fries. The total calories was in the neighborhood of 700 for that meal, but for dinner I made up for it by having a big salad with a couple ounces of grilled chicken. I’m moving on with today and plan to stop at the store on my way home tonight so I don’t fall into the fast-food trap again.


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Breakfast was a bowl of Fiber One cereal. I chopped a peach to put on top along with a cup of fat-free milk. This calculates to: 2 ounces grains; 3 /4 cup fruit; 1 cup dairy; 33 discretionary calories. Total breakfast calories: 295