Six habits of healthy and busy gals

If only there were more hours in the day

If you’ve found yourself thinking that phrase nearly every single weekday, then you are likely a busy gal (or guy), who has a lot going on. And while sometimes people are super proud to say that they are “absolutely swamped,” some of us just have a lot of things we need to do and wouldn’t mind more free time. Nonetheless, with the right routine, we make it work. 

Whether you work full time, part time or you’re an always-on parent, hopefully you’ve found a few things that help you to be the best version of yourself. And I’m not talking about the six-pack abs, figure-competitor appearance version of you (not that there’s anything wrong with that) — I’m talking about feeling energized, thankful, mobile and nourished each day.

Based on my experience of being a healthy gal over the years — both while working in a fitness job and a desk job (and they both have their pros and cons, believe me) — I’ve not only observed the healthy actions of those around me worth emulating, but I’ve also done some trial and error on myself.

SIx habits of a healthy and busy gals by A Lady Goes West

Wondering how to keep it all together when you have a lot going on? Here’s how we do it …

1. Prioritize our sleep and go to bed early. 

The saying “you can sleep when you’re dead” is not the best friend of a healthy gal in a busy world. While we always want to make the most of each day, us healthy folks know that when we sleep, our muscles grow, our metabolisms work and our mind regenerates so we can take on the next day even stronger. It’s not glamorous to claim that you skip activities and turn your lights off religiously at a certain time, but a lot of us hit the hay around 10 p.m. most nights, and we like it like that. We also know that we need to keep a fairly consistent bed-time and wake-up time, so we strive for that — even on the weekends.

2. Find workouts that we like to do and do them regularly.

While sometimes you have to do things that you don’t love in order to get stronger, as a rule, if you want to stick to a fitness program, you should enjoy what you’re doing. Most healthy gals have a yoga practice, or a favorite barre studio or, like me, teach Les Mills group fitness classes a few times a week. And we do this, because we know that regular movement of our bodies is good. We love to feel the endorphins of a good workout – no matter the intensity – and we appreciate our bodies for the work that they do. We don’t beat them down by forcing ourselves to do exercising that stresses us out. No way. We do what we love. (But we also sometimes incorporate things we don’t love, like stretching after a workout, because we need it.) Some of my favorite workouts include Les Mills BODYPUMP, Les Mills BODYATTACK classes, as well as CorePower Yoga, which I haven’t been to in way too long. But I also love to do a quick freestyle dumbbell routine at the gym on my own. It makes me feel strong.

3. Plan our meals in advance and bring our lunch to work.

I’m not saying that you cannot go out to lunch, but if you’re a busy gal (or guy) who has to head off to an office or school each day, it’s absolutely best to bring your lunch more often than not. That way you control what’s in your food, and you know you have it waiting for you if there’s not enough time to head out to pick something up when lunch-time strikes. Also, you save a little dough that way. Most healthy and busy gals probably employ a meal-prep practice in order to batch cook a few of their favorite things each week, which is what I do. (You can see my regular rotation here, and it hasn’t failed me yet.) And as a general rule, we choose food that is a little closer to the source than not, as in, we like organic lean meats, veggies, fruit, nuts, and we try to stay away from super processed things. Our plates are usually pretty full of the good stuff, with a little bit of the “okay” stuff, as well.

Habits of a healthy gal and Dandy Celery snacks by A Lady Goes West

4. Snack smartly. And have our favorites on hand at all times.

A healthy and busy gal is not nice when she is “hangry.” And that’s the truth. I’ve spoken so many times on ALGW about my love of snacks, and I rarely go anywhere without them. But if you’re not careful, your snacks can add up to more calories than your meals, so you need to be cognizant of what you’re nibbling on between regular meals. Most of us healthy and busy gals have a few go-to favorite snacks that feature a combination of carbs, protein and fat and — most importantly — they taste good. We’re not forcing ourselves to eat what we don’t like, because we’ve found things that we enjoy, which also nourish us. But we also choose things that are convenient, for instance, these Dandy® Celery snack packs are perfect for snacking with ease. You don’t need to clean up or chop the produce — it’s all ready for you when you need it. Adding some fresh green celery with a little peanut butter for a mid-day snack or pre-workout fuel is the way to go, because you are getting healthy fat from the PB. Lately I’ve been digging into these lovelies, and I would highly suggest them to anyone who needs a balanced snack contender. By the way, Dandy® also offers combination packs with ranch and Sriracha and whatnot for a little kick, but I’m a PB gal through and through.

5. Keep active and involve others with us.

I’m not saying you have to have a little doggie to be a healthy and busy gal, but it sure does help you add steps to your day when you need to walk one. Moral of the story: We healthy gals tend to make “walking dates” or go hiking with our husbands/boyfriends/significant others/girlfriends/pets in our limited free time away from work, because we like to move. We also know that the movement we do throughout the day outside of our workouts can be just as important. We choose to walk. We choose to take the stairs. And we like a little fresh air when we can get it. And we also get up and get away from our desks as often as possible. But by the way, we do watch TV and veg out, but we never forget to incorporate movement. Also to note: We get extra points when we get people around us on board with this whole “healthy living” thing too.

6. Thrive on our routine, but leave room for fun.

This is perhaps the biggest one. Most healthy and busy gals have their routine down, so they don’t have to think too hard about little decisions. Whether that means packing your gym bag the night before a morning workout or dropping by the Farmer’s Market at the exact same time each week to pick up local produce like clock-work — if you give yourself a routine, it’s easier to get it all done with seamless transitions. But of course, you MUST, and I repeat MUST, leave room for some spontaneous fun here and there. And don’t be too strict with your diet. Healthy gals know that it’s totally fine to have dessert and an adult beverage when you’re out to dinner. Take it from this lady, who has not missed a weekend of wine or cheesecake in many years, life is too short to say no to everything. Say yes, but only to just the right amount. Ya feel me?

Those are the six! But before we close, you should know that the most important thing you can do to be a thriving healthy and busy gal is find some happiness in your life, thank yourself for trying to be the best version of you and make the right decisions most of the time. Not all of the time, though. Because we’ve got to live a little (see habit number six above). And while you’re living, make sure you dip a crunchy celery stick into some PB and get your steps in, friends. Life is good. Busy days and all.

Join the Summer Snacking Sweepstakes

My friends at Dandy® wanted me to let you know that if you’re feeling healthy and lucky, you can join the Summer Snacking Sweepstakes that Dandy® and a few other fresh produce brands are holding right now. When you enter, you can even download a free ebook with summer-recipes

Find Dandy® Celery in stores

And if you’re ready to dip into Dandy®, you can find the products at your local Safeway or Lucky stores and get to snackin’. By the way, fun fact: Dandy® Celery is grown by Duda Farms, which are family farms in both California and Florida — my only two states of residence. Good stuff!

Habits of a healthy gal and Dandy snacks by A Lady Goes West

Hey, if you found yourself in some of these habits, feel free to share this list or tell me which ones resonated with you in the comments below!

Do you have these six must-do habits of #healthy and busy gals? ... Share on X

**Please note: This post is sponsored by Dandy® Celery. While I received product and compensation, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors of ALGW.

Questions of the day

What’s your healthy gal or healthy guy habit?

What’s your favorite snack pairing?



  1. I love this post! Having a routine and surrounding myself with others that have the same views on healthy living make a huge difference for me. For snacking I usually like apples and nut butter or a Greek yogurt. Happy Monday!!!

    1. Hi Patricia! Yes, it’s so helpful to have other people in your life that enjoy the healthier things, but those people will also split a huge banana split with you too, you know? 🙂 Good snack choices too, lady! Looking forward to meeting you this week at BlogFest!

  2. I love this post so much, Ashley! Thanks for sharing. And I especially like the routine and early-to-bed mentions. I feel validated!

    Also, it’s nice that you always talk about balance and how it is OK to indulge on weekends and special occasions. Ice cream to me is your version of cheesecake and I often have it on weekends and end up beating myself up for it because I still don’t have the “perfect body” I’m striving for. But life is not about perfection, so I might as well enjoy my favorite things.

    And I’m definitely going to check out that peanut butter and celery snack company! YUM.

    Ok, this comment is now basically as long as your post, so off I go. Happy Monday to you! Xoxo.

    1. Hi Courtney! I LOVE your long comments, or your comments in general. You know — imagine if you had what you see as the perfect body, but never had ANY little treats that you liked. Then what? Would it be worth it? Probably not! You can live an amazingly fulfilled life having the perfect body that you are in right now – because it’s perfect already. And having ice cream when you need it is something you shouldn’t give up. You’re doing AWESOME, looking awesome and keeping it together, Courtney. Never forget that, girl! 🙂

  3. I like to create to do lists to organize all the things I need to get done and the things I would like to get done! I also take times for a walk or just a time to relax my mind mid day! Taking a break is always necessary and I think helps me to be more productive.

    1. I’m a to-do list person too, Hilary. I needed one the past few days as I had a bunch of big things going on to finish up. And relaxing with walks is an awesome habit. Nice job, lady! 🙂

  4. This is great! I’m not good at going to bed early, but I think I’m getting better, as I’m much more productive in the morning. And I love thriving on a routine, especially this year, I’ve learned to appreciate routine more and more, sprinkled with fun activities.

    Finding workouts that I love has been something that I’ve gotten into more this year than any other year before, and it’s been amazing. It’s made exercise so much more fun.

    1. I LOVE to hear that you’ve found a good routine and some exercise you enjoy, Emily. Those are two HUGE things to help you have a happy and healthy life. Good work, girlfriend! 🙂 What’s your favorite exercise right now??

      1. I’m loving HIIT workouts and upper body light weights workouts right now. Running is a bit um.. harder because of the heat. 🙂

  5. I think having a routine that is open but familiar is so important–have a system, create habits, but also have some spontaneity in case something comes up! And always a backup plan!

    1. YES for some spontaneity of course! And I agree with having a familiar routine, so you can make your mostly healthy choices without thinking about them too much most days. See you soon, Susie! 🙂

  6. Going to bed early, so I can wake up early!! Well, I don’t REALLY go to bed all that early – 11pm or midnight, but I ALWAYS get up early! I am the type of person who actually doesn’t need THAT MUCH sleep in order to function – maybe 6 hours max. If I get more than that, I tend to feel sluggish and BLAH!

    1. Hi Gigi! It’s great that you are consistent with sleep-times, because that’s the way to do it! Nice work, girl. And if you only need 6 hours, you must be getting QUALITY sleep, which is ideal!

  7. My favourite healthy habit is to start my morning with a healthy meal. If I eat well early on, I’m more likely to continue on that route for the rest of the day.

    If I eat sugary / un-nourishing foods for breakfast, my sugars are all over the place for the rest of the day and I’m a slug. This results in me eating EVERYTHING I see, and most likely skipping the gym because my energy levels are off.

  8. Awesome post Ashley!! As a busy, healthy girl, you know I agree with every single point. I HATE food prepping, but I dislike what happens when I do not even more! Involving others in fitness has only really been something I’ve started since I got ClassPass. I’m excited for my biggest group date yet – 5 of us are hitting a class on Sunday!

    Have a great week! xox

    1. Oh wow! That’s a nice big group! Love it. Too bad I’m not close enough to join in more regularly. And ugh, I also dislike the food prep, but still so it every week! See you soon, lady!

  9. Lack of sleep is my biggest problem. :[ I definitely do a lot of meal/snack prep though, and I love keeping a routine as much as my schedule will allow! :]

  10. All of this – YES! What a great post – of course all of your posts are. I haven’t always been a healthy girl, but these things right here are some of the things I have fully embraced since becoming a healthy girl. But, it’s been hard since moving to Japan. The food is different. I want to eat my sweet potatoes, but they don’t have them. The only ones they have is this pale yellow kind that I don’t really care for (still have yet to find the purple one!). I usually eat my spinach protein pancakes every morning, but I can’t always get spinach here! It drives me nuts – I am not a high maintenance girl, but I would just like to have spinach available whenever I want it! Oh, and a working microphone…but that’s another story. I knew teaching 4 formats for LM would be hard, but now that I’m actually doing it, I’m really bummed about how much time it takes. I just want to sit and watch a tv show, or read a book. I can’t do either because I am constantly working on learning/perfecting releases. I don’t have time to do anything and it makes me sad. But, I love teaching, so I don’t know what to do. Having a husband that’s deployed doesn’t help either. I always go to bed by 10pm, and I try for 9:30pm when I have my 0530 classes. One thing I like is my fitbit. I was kind of against them for a long time. But, it really does push me to get more steps/floors in. I really like it. And I really like that it tracks my sleep for me. So my favorite habit is pretty much having the same healthy meals I rotate between most days. Favorite snack pairing is having a healthy, homemade granola on hand to put on top of yogurt or acai bowls.

    1. Oh Melissa, I have so much to say about this post. But I TOTALLY understand how hard it must be to teach four formats. I have trouble with two every now and again, especially during launch, which I’m in right now. I know you love it though, but if you ever do decide you are chained to your chorey notes, you should try teaching the same release for 3 weeks at a time and maybe teaching one less program? It would be like choosing a favorite kid though, right? Anyways, I’m sad you can’t find purple taters! And yes, I enjoy tracking my steps and sleep too. And I also agree with have a few healthy meals to rotate between. Keep up the great work, lady! You are awesome!

      1. Thanks Ashley. I hate to sound like I’m complaining because I don’t want to sound like that at all. Yes, teaching stuff for 3 weeks will definitely help, and that is part of my plan. I was rotating my pump every week – yikes! But, I am only 1 of 2 instructors here and teach pump 3 1/2x a week (too much – I’m getting rid of 2 of those hopefully soon!) so I get bored of the routine after teaching it 3 1/2 times a week. Learning to say no is what I’ve had to do too. We don’t have enough instructors, at all, so if an instructor is sick or needs to be gone or whatever, the class has to get cancelled. I felt so bad for the participants (and the instructor!) that they have to cancel, so I would sub. But, I can’t do that anymore because I’m teaching too much as it is. Anyways, you know all this – you have dealt with it all too 😉 But, getting messages from participants begging you to teach or take a class – it’s hard to tell them no. I thought you taught 3 formats??? Did you drop one??

        1. I KNOW!! That used to happen to me a lot more before I had the more-demanding day-job with 24 Hour Fitness, and that lets me say NO to subbing a lot more. But I understand it’s tough to feel responsible for the members. But at the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself first! 🙂 I hope things change for the better for you soon!

  11. Great post! I think my favorite snack pairing is peanut butter and apples! Sleep is so important! I also think its important to not obsess over the times when you take a rest day, eat some chocolate cake and pizza, or let loose and enjoy some heavier food!

    1. Hi Heather! Amen to that, sister! Love it! PB seems to go with everything for a snack, you know! And YES for rest days with treats!

  12. Great tips! I especially love long walks with friends, kids or just my headphones ?. It’s easy to get into the weight lifting routine but there is something about walking everywhere that just feels so good and refreshing! Totally a healthy habit game changer!

    1. Hi Jessica! TOTALLY! I miss walking EVERYWHERE when I lived in the City, I definitely have to try harder to get in the walks now. That’s awesome you can include friends and kiddos in your walks. Can’t wait to see you in a couple days in LA, lady!

    1. Hi Julie! It’s hard to be flexible when you’re a go-getter and want to keep to your schedule. But it’s doable! You’re doing awesome, I’m sure, lady! 🙂

  13. I love this. It’s ALL about being realistic and flexible. Health should make life more enjoyable, not less! Mixing up my workouts and getting as much sleep as I can are key. And always packing snacks when I’m out and about! Being active means hunger sneaks up on me sometimes 🙂

  14. These were all such great tips, thanks for sharing! I feel like so many of us ‘busy’ people run ourselves to the ground, but health is so important, so I LOVED that you put sleep as #1!

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  16. Saw these habits being exhibited by my wife. She is a very busy woman. I am amazed on how she is able to balance work and play at the same time. I will let her read this. Great work here! Very informative, inspiring and helpful. Thank you!

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