As a dietitian, one question I constantly get asked is, “What do you do every day?”
People want to know what a health “expert” does.
Yes, technically, I’m an expert. But the real reason I’m an expert is that I have tons of experience in failing to be healthy.
After about 30 years of trial and error, and through all kinds of life phases, I’ve established a daily routine that keeps me on track health-wise.
It includes habits that may seem insignificant or irrelevant but that make other more-traditional health habits easy to engage in, which is what makes them so effective.
Do I sometimes get off track? Absolutely.
But I know that if I stick to this basic schedule, I’ll be healthy – physically and emotionally.
My Typical Day
So here is what a day in my life looks like:
5:00–6:00 am. Wake up and read something inspiring to set the tone for my day. Not gossipy magazines or Netflix crime documentaries – inspiring content only. I also review my goals.
6:15–6:30 am. Do a 15-minute workout, 10 minutes of cardio and 50 pushups (the on-the-knees kind). I don’t have to dread my workouts if I know that’s all I have to do. And I frequently find myself in a zone and want to keep going.
7:00–7:30 am. Get dressed.
7:30–8:15 am. Go to the grocery and get what I need for the day. I go every day so I’m not overwhelmed with a thousand things to buy. And it decreases waste.
8:30–9:00 am. Do food prep. Because if I have something healthy on hand, I’ll eat healthy. And if I don’t, I know I’ll be calling DoorDash later.
9:00 am–12:00 pm. Work and do housekeeping stuff. Mostly laundry and ordering a thousand things off Amazon. (Seriously, what would we do without DoorDash and Amazon?)
12:00–1:00 pm. Eat lunch, usually a healthy salad I prepared that morning. And I try to eat outside so I can focus on my food and eat more slowly.
1:00–3:00 pm. More work and more housekeeping. Help my kids with schoolwork. (Side note: They attend a private school that has a hybrid homeschooling option, which is great for mid-day mall trips and family vacations but challenging for a mom who works from home.)
3:00–4:00 pm. Walk the dogs. Being outside in the fresh air with no phone neutralizes my stress, which keeps me from binge eating, something I struggle with to this day.
4:00–5:00 pm. Spend time – alone! – in my kitchen. My kids know I will kick them out at 4:00 so I can do something creative that recharges me (after being inevitably drained during the day).
5:00–5:30 pm. Eat dinner.
5:30–7:00 pm. Watch a movie or do something fun with my girls.
7:00–7:30 pm. Plan for tomorrow. Set out my workout outfit, load and run the dishwasher, check my day planner to review tasks and appointments. Wash my face and get in my PJs.
7:30–9:00 pm. Get in the bed (yes, I know I’m extreme) and read (something inspiring, of course!).
9:00 pm–5:00 am. Get my 8 hours of sleep. An absolute requirement.
The Most Important Things I Do Every Day
To point out the most important things I do every day that keep me on track with my health:
- Read something inspiring and review my goals
- Do 15 minutes of exercise
- Do prep work
- Get some fresh air and do something creative
- Plan for the next day
Here’s what happens when I don’t do these things:
- Jumping into my day without centering myself means that when the wheels come off the bus (and they always do), I lose my patience and create even more stress
- Skipping my workout means I’ll feel sluggish all day and have less energy to do things I need to do
- Not doing prep work means I’ll grab whatever’s on hand, usually some of my kids’ unhealthy snacks (yes, I do buy them unhealthy food)
- Not getting fresh air or doing something creative means I won’t relieve the stress of my day, and that stress will push me to eat emotionally
- Not planning for the next day means I’ll be disorganized and unprepared, making it even more likely that the wheels will come off the bus and that I’ll bite everyone’s head off and feel like a terrible employee/mother/human being (and binge eat)
So there you have it, my daily routine.
Feel free to replicate some of these behaviors in your life, particularly the ones I pointed out as most important.
And don’t forget that sometimes the most effective actions aren’t the ones you might think.
A day in the life of a dietitian isn’t necessarily filled with kick-ass, hours-long workout routines, constant juicing, or meditating for hours.
I don’t have to be perfect to be healthy – and neither do you.
I hope that makes you feel better!