Summer. Is. Over. Well at least that’s what they say when all the kids go back to school, which should almost be the case by the time you read this blog! It’s been hovering around 100 degrees here in Dallas, so while the kids are in school, the school zone lights are forcing me to slow down and the school buses are lining up, it still feels like Summer will be in full force for a much longer!

Summer is my time. I have a bit more childcare and no rush to meet a school start deadline, so I wake up and get to workout on my own time clock. Aahhh summer! The kids back to school actually forces me to get creative. My time is not my own in the morning. There are 3 kids to wake, feed, dress and get to school on time…so the early morning workout is now just a summer memory. This used to really throw me off my game! My routine was officially busted!

It’s taken me a few years to figure this out. At first I was discouraged that my summer momentum was ‘disrupted’ by a (school) schedule that I didn’t create but I soon realized, excuses don’t = success. I had to game plan accordingly.


1.    Set Your Non-Negotiables  

This is a lifesaver for me and something I taught to a client this past week and have taught over the holiday season for many years…I find with 3 small kids I have to just live with 2-3 non-negotiables at all times. What’s that mean? It means that if your routine is busted, your perfect game plan dissected by ‘life’ you, NO MATTER WHAT, adhere for 2-3 actions that you know keep you as close to feeling your best as possible.

For a client recently in my office the following non-negotiables were set 1) Get 4 workouts in a week 2) Only two drinks, two nights per week of alcohol and 3) Get at least 7 hours of sleep (any less and cravings and mood related issues cropped up and there were then more problems to deal with).

Mine are 1) Exercise 2) Exercise 3) Exercise. Exercise always seems to be the ‘thing’ that gets dumped when my life game plan is blown, it’s taken me too long in my life journey to figure this out. I think I’ve finally figured it out – no matter what I’ll get my exercise one way or another when life throws it’s best at me.

WHAT NON-NEGOTALBES can you set to help survive a busted routine or blown game plan?

2.     Have a Go-To Emergency Dinner Always in the Freezer:  

This is a MUST FOR ME! Good food decisions never occur when there is less then 15 minutes before dinner time, you’re rushing in the door and everyone is cranky from hunger. What healthy thing could you possibly whip up in 15-20 minutes that you know your family likes and that you’ll feel good, not guilty about?

Here’s my families EMERGENCY DINNER meal: Brown a pound and a half of either ground bison, ground turkey or grass-fed beef, heat up a jar of no sugar added organic marinara sauce, sauté a bag of frozen veggies in olive oil with salt and pepper and boil up some gluten free pasta. My kids put each in a separate bowl and ‘create’ their own concoction from the separate ingredients. This takes max 20 minutes to prep. I always have this around.

What can you keep around in case of emergency?

3.     Don’t Throw in the Towel:  

If you’re anything like I used to be the fact that you might lose control of your planned out schedule is enough to make you want to throw in the towel and scrap the whole day…or week! This mindset is not only the fast track to mental and physical health DESTRUCTION, it’s super stressful on the rest of your family as well. If your game plan is blown and that killer workout you were planning doesn’t happen at the scheduled time you’d been dreaming about…instead of throwing a tantrum…eating waaayy to much chocolate (yes, I’ve been there too) or both, just go to plan B. What’s Plan B…I don’t know make it up on the spot.

I recently was on my way out the door for my morning workout outside alone, it’s my sanity time both mentally and physically. 2 of my 3 kiddos begged to go with me. Don’t get me wrong I love them, but this was MY time. There was no talking them out of it and well, it was an opportunity for them to see a little of what I do when I go exercise, and why I do it. Problem was, they didn’t want to go to the soccer field and run sprints with me, they wanted to stay on the playground. Battle lost and Game Plan busted, I went to Plan B on the fly which included step ups, push ups, planks and jump squats on the playground equipment (yes there were other adults there). We all felt good when we got home – mission accomplished.

Truth is, life happens. It’s not a matter of if something is going to happen to throw you off your perfect health plan…it’s just a matter of when. In my 14+ years as a nutritionist those that are most successful have 1 thing in common, they don’t stay off their game plan very long, they fall and get right back up. They get creative with a workout or meal on the go or on the contrary, they eat a bag of chips, miss a workout, skip a meal, forget to drink water…get over it and move on…within 24 hours, maybe 48. They change the game plan as needed on the fly (or maybe just forgive themselves or others) to keep themselves looking and or feeling their best! IS THAT YOU?

This also doesn’t mean that you give yourself permission to put on the bench any other things you may be doing to keep yourself looking and feeling your best. Things like keeping a food log, eating a protein rich breakfast, not snacking and drinking plenty of water could be your non-negotiables or they could be something you can have more wiggle room with the game of life is in over-time and you are a man down…but your 3 star players, the ones you know you want in the game to give you the highest chance to ‘win’, those are the ones you keep on the field no matter what.

Most of us know 2-3 things we need to do to keep us feeling well when life busts our game plan wide open. Don’t waiver while having grace with yourself. Be prepared at home, none of us make our best decision when tired, stressed and or short on time for dinner with baby birds looking at us starving and cranky. Lastly DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT let that small inner version of you talk you into chunking the whole day just because your morning workout plan was busted up by a kid with diarrhea or a conference call that went long.