Updates: Planner-related, Body Image & Weight, Time

May 2, 2019

1-    Planner thoughts, ~5 months in. As many of you are well aware, I reviewed multiple planners in 2018 but ended up sticking with my old favorite, the Hobonichi Techo Cousin. We are now 5 months into the year and I can safely say that this trusty system is still a wonderful fit for me.

I continue to use the weekly pages as my master schedule and live by the daily pages, too. Every morning I set up my daily schedule & task list (based on what is in my weekly), and this ritual is both centering and comforting, because I try very hard to only migrate tasks that are going to realistically fit into the day’s events. I have a slim notebook (also made / sold by Hobonichi) tucked inside with all of my bullet-journal inspired content: books read, monthly and quintile goals, etc.

The monthly pages are less useful to me, but I still do use them for long-range planning (vacations, etc). And I even keep track of family illnesses & my hormonal cycles on the yearly calendar pages! This book feels like my secret weapon in life and I absolutely love it. I know some have felt like it is bigger than desired, but this has not been an issue for me (it fits nicely into my work bag). Finally, I am using a plain black leather cover which looks very professional and serious, because I decided that was best. I am much less self-conscious of my slightly quirky (in today’s times) organization methods with an inconspicuous design.


2- Body/exercise/weight-related thoughts. Laura’s recent post made me think about this. She got many comments, so clearly it’s on the minds of many of us. I want to preface this by saying that everyone is entitled to different goals in this arena. I respect those who reject the cultural pressures to be thin/in shape. It’s absolutely an individual choice. However, I feel best when I am in a certain weight range and probably body fat percentage (though I have no idea what the latter might actually be!).

I have been feeling the best that I have in a long time this year. My two-pronged strategy is as follows: #1 strength train! #2 eat mindfully. Literally, that’s it. I am at my ‘happy’ size (totally normal BMI, on lower end of range, size 0-2 at 5’1″) and am stronger than I have been in many years, possibly ever.

Back in the day, I used to run a lot of miles. I believe I ran over 2000 miles in 2005 or 2006!? It took a lot of time and did make me faster (and able to race marathons!) which was fun, but it didn’t really do anything extra for me from a body image/composition standpoint. (It also likely gave me hypothalamic amenorrhea, which sucked!). I have been tracking my workouts on Strava and my range has been from 30-40 miles per month since January, which would add up to 300-400 per year! That is NOT a lot! The difference is that I have been doing 9-11 strength training days per month, either Ultimate (at the gym) or Beachbody 21 Day Fix at home.

straight out of the planner notebook!

I still love to run, and based on the 5K I ran last weekend, am not even all that slow (by my standards, of course — running speeds are always relative!). I’m not sure I could set any race PRs with my current training style but from a well-being, physical fitness, and body composition standpoint — it seems to be working really well.

On the food front, many of you may recall that I spent about a year eating largely paleo. I definitely do not follow any kind of prescriptive regimen or ‘style’ of eating anymore. I do 3 things:

  • Try to mostly eat when hungry & avoid snacking when possible. I used to snack more, but most days do not really find it necessary (maybe because I’m not running so many miles?!).
  • Write down what I eat (no measuring, completely qualitative & not quantitative), and this goes right into my Hobonichi daily page. It keeps me honest and helps me see patterns. It also helps me not stress about indulgences from time to time when I can see that overall I make healthy and moderate choices.
  • Avoid OD-ing on carbs (though I absolutely do not avoid them. I’m just more like to eat half a bagel than a whole one)
  • Avoid ANY kind of absolute rules. This is best for me. Do I want ice cream for dinner one day? Do I need a hearty snack at times? Great! I have grown to really hate food rules; they annoy me and make me want to rebel. I am a very effective moderator as long as I know there are no ‘can’ts’ or ‘not-alloweds’ when it comes to food.

3- Time. My time-tracking week was fun, though I’m not sure it was terribly illuminating. I am currently reading Free to Focus in the mornings and am inspired to put some of the techniques into action, particularly improving my work shut-down ritual, delegating better, creating more templates, and batching.

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that quality work has so much to do with creating time to actually focus (ie, BLOCK THE INCESSANT INPUTS!). My next read is going to be Digital Minimalism, which I think will make a nice follow up. As I take on more leadership (more on that to follow), I feel like I have to become more and more intentional with my work hours.

I feel like this post make me seem like I have my #($&@# together more than I actually do, but hey — some things are working for me! That’s something to celebrate, even if I am still behind on some of my goals & like everyone else, would love another hour to two in each day.


  • Reply Julia May 2, 2019 at 8:43 am

    I’m curious which of the 21 day fix workouts do you most often choose? Also, does anyone know of a youtube equivalent to those workouts? I don’t want to support BB, but I have done the 21 day fix workouts and enjoy them.

    • Reply Holly May 2, 2019 at 9:51 am

      I’m also curious on the similar-but-not-BB question! I refuse to give BB my money due to its MLM nature – even if you don’t participate in the pyramid scheme coaching aspect, you’re still supporting a business that preys on lower income women and has caused significant financial hardship in many. There has to be another option!

    • Reply Sophia May 2, 2019 at 11:09 am

      I bought the discs used on eBay

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 2, 2019 at 11:43 am

      Upper fix, dirty 30, total body cardio fix, lower fix, and Pilates fix probably most common in my rotation! I do upper fix almost every week.

      I’ve heard good things about Daily Burn and fitness blender as alternatives! Also Kayla Itsines/sweat app.

    • Reply Jessica May 3, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Fitness Blender!! JUST a cool couple showing you workouts. (Individually) Its incredibly easy to follow along and still play your own music etc,

  • Reply gia May 2, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Hello! Fellow MD mom here using Epic…would love to hear what strategies you have implemented to be more productive during your clinical hours..I try to be efficient as possible, and yet will sometimes have 20+ notes ( I see about 18pts a day as a rheumatologist) and 50+ labs to do on the weekend…argh. I type my notes but my coworkers swear that dragon is more efficient ( not sure how..I don’t have time to dictate between patients, end of the day, i’m going thru all the emails/telephone calls that I wasn’t able to do between patients). TIA!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 3, 2019 at 5:21 am

      Yep, we’re EPIC too. I am definitely not doing anything earth shattering, but I do try to do the notes in the room as much as possible and I create a detailed patient instructions document with the patients that I end up just pasting in as my assessment & plan so it kills two birds with one stone. I also don’t worry too much about perfect formatting of notes as long as the information is there, so I am comfortable typing it out in the room and not doing much editing afterwards.

      Phone calls – for me it’s about batching and using MyChart and not calling people but rather using the electronic messaging instead. I have a dot phrase saved that I put in my patient instructions that basically says “you will get your results through MyChart”. Of course if something is serious or bad or needs discussion, I’ll call, but I try to minimize b/c it takes so much longer .

      I also try to have my medical assistant (who is awesome) help me as much as possible with things like faxing copies of labs, making sure patients do labs PRIOR to visits (helps so much!), etc.

      • Reply gia May 3, 2019 at 11:40 am

        thanks for the response! helpful to hear what you do as I would call you super efficient! I also recently started using the patient instructions for my “plan”. I have had a few patients write in their comments evaluating me/the visit, that i was typing during the visit which they did not appreciate. I look at the patient when i type, and tell them beforehand that i will be typing notes as they are talking so I have it recorded/don’t forget, but i have felt self-conscious since getting that feedback, and don’t type as much as i used to ( used to get my hpi as done as possible before leaving the patient room). also, and every doctor has this issue, are my patients who come in typed up documents delineating everything/anything they have felt for 60+ years. these are the notes that i put off even though it is 1000x painful having to relive the visit on weekend..argh. thanks again sarah!

    • Reply Margaret May 3, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      I just wanted to say that as a patient I love EPIC! While my husband, an NP, says he hates it from the provider end as a parent and patient I love it. I like being able to email the providers with less urgent questions and I think it cuts down on phone calls which are harder to follow up. So my question about general 2-month behavior (i.e. probably fine but mom wants confirmation) goes to MyChart where I can get the answer a day or two later and we save the off-hours on-call things for the 3.5 year old with probably-croup but should we go to ER now type issues. I personally do not mind at all when they take notes in the room and actually with the kids I prefer it because then when the NP spouse wants me to remember the name of that med/condition/etc I just look it up!

  • Reply Shelly May 2, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I have finally find exercise that works for me and have been consistently doing 4 to 5 days per week since February which I haven’t done in years. It has really helped my overall wellbeing. I need to add more walking as I can’t run but that is usually enough. The exercise videos I do are for strength and mobility. I am only 47 but I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis my whole life and I find videos where I don’t injure myself which is huge. But the team that does this have a history in ballet and have more strenuous workouts as well that include some barre and other modalities. This has been a life changer for me. I pay for streaming which is $16 a month and I can do unlimited videos from their website. It is called Essentrics. Check it out if you are looking for workouts at home.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns May 2, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Long time, listener of BOBW, first time commentor (I think?). I used to be a high mileage runner, too. not as many miles as you but definitely 1200+/year in my marathon training days. I had a baby last March and am just getting back into working out. I lost 10 pounds over the last couple of months by tracking what I ate, asking myself if I was actually hungry before eat (to avoid eating out of habit or boredom) and moving a bit more. It was kind of surprising to see the weight come off without running/doing really intense workouts. My ‘exercise’ was mostly stroller walks with our son. I would like to fit more strength training in but I tend to do more of that in the cold fall/winter months. Our warm weather season is so dang brief in Minnesota so I’m more drawn to outdoor activities during spring/summer.

    I’m starting to feel more like myself again which is great as pregnancy + pumping was really hard on me. Although we will be trying for a 2nd baby soon so this whole feeling like myself again stage is going to be super duper brief! One thing that was interesting in reading the comments on Laura’s post was the number of people that mentioned intermittent fasting… that must be the new ‘grapefruit diet’ of 2019. Ha. No offense to those who decide to do that. I can see the benefits of a 12 hour fast or something like that but someone mentioned fasting for 48 hours and that CAN’T be healthy!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger May 3, 2019 at 5:23 am

      Haha, I think keto is the grapefruit diet of 2019!

      IF it makes people happy to fast like that, more power to them. There is some very positive data on IF but I am not planning on 48 hour fasting, ever!

  • Reply Ana May 2, 2019 at 11:19 am

    I need to work on #3 too (time to focus). Opposite scenario, going to more clinic time (while still trying to publish and get grants) and I need to become WAY more efficient at…everything to be able to keep up.
    Of course, lots of thoughts about the body/exercise/eating thing. Like you, rules make me want to break them, so I’m similarly trying to eat when I’m hungry, which actually does vary a bit from day to day. Too much deprivation was also making me obsess over food—I lost weight quickly doing IF but I realized I spent the ENTIRE DAY thinking about what I’d have when it was time to eat and I just don’t want to devote as much brain space to food.
    anyways, I’m hungry NOW so off to lunch I go.

  • Reply Ellie May 3, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Into some serious thinking about focus as well (eventually read « Deep Work »)… since I changed jobs a year ago, I had to rethink completely the way I was working (differents tasks, different environment). I now have to juggle between multiple projects and I am quite often interrupted. Batching tasks and being very intentional about my time allocation have been key in improving the situation and I now feel I am back into a more structured pattern.

    On the planner side, jury is still out on the Hobonichi. I am not sure I would still use it if I stop journaling (what I use the daily pages for). But the monthly and weekly pages are great… and I love the yellow cover I got for it! 🙂

  • Reply BPS May 3, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I think of you often as #GOALS on my fitness “journey” PP.

    My son is 17 months, and it was a challenge for me to make fitness a priority until I dropped the pre-bed pumping session around 10-11 PM at night, around 10 months. After that I started with PIIT28 (another great online workout option and no equipment!), and then eased into evening workouts, and now tend to workout in the afternoons (we have a no-frills fitness center at work, and I can squeeze in a studio class the days I work from home). This plus intermittent fasting (IF) during the work week has really been what has moved the needle. I find IF is very similar to the intuitive eating you write about – I never starve myself, and FOOD RULES don’t work for me – I’ve tried all of them and they are unsustainable for me. Plus, cooking and eating is a huge source of joy in my life!

    As someone who (despite weight fluctuations) has exercised pretty consistently for the last 12+ years, I wish had not put such a sole focus on figuring out BF while on mat leave, and taken the time to prioritize my recovery, including making sure I moved my body everyday – whether a walk or workout video. If I’m lucky enough to have another – something to remember! Beyond squeezing back into my pre-preg clothes (I suspect still a few lbs to go until they look good again, but like you have a reasonable baseline I’d like to maintain), the mental health benefits of exercise as a woman and mum have been incredible. Our bodies are so amazing!

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