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Living Fit: Lawyers find ways to stay active, make healthy choices

Sharon Buechler
July 12, 2017
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living-fit-buechler.jpgI graduated from law school in 1991 and began working 80 hours per week. I was newly married, without children and had an exercise routine already established. I always managed to fit exercise into my day. In 1998, we were lucky enough to have our first and only child and I took a hiatus from law to raise our child. I could have easily given up on an exercise routine, but instead readjusted to figure out how to exercise with a baby, and then readjusted with each phase of his life. (Toddlers don’t sit still in jogging strollers, and they throw tantrums at the YMCA’s kid’s club.) Two years ago, I experienced a major life transition and began to work full-time again. I could have easily given up on an exercise routine. I didn’t, once again readjusting to keep exercise a part of my life.

In the past year, I returned to the practice of law and living the billable life. Having written this column about the importance of health and wellness for lawyers for the past seven years, I realized that staying in shape in the legal profession was easier said than done. I am humbled at how difficult it is to juggle family life, schedules, work, clients, house/yard duties, exercise and having a healthy home-cooked meal on the table every night. I needed to readjust my routine once again to fit it all in. As I made this transition, I wondered how my colleagues at Riley Bennett & Egloff mastered their healthy lifestyles despite the demands of Lady Justice. Here are some of their ideas — they work!

A colleague who “doesn’t consider himself to be the poster-child for health and wellness” stays in shape by:

1. Playing basketball two mornings a week before work and playing “Old Guy” basketball outdoors on Sunday nights from spring to fall.

2. Playing softball on Thursday nights in the Lawyers’ League.

3. Riding a stationary bike trainer in the basement during winter.

4. Walking with his wife and their dog after dinner every night.

5. Golfing nine holes at least once a week.

6. Using a stand-up desk at work and taking frequent walks around the office to deliver things, using the stairs.

7. Keeping nothing to eat in his desk drawer, because has no will power to let it sit there; splitting meals with his wife at restaurants.

8. He credits the firm’s wellness coach for educating and inspiring him with the “New Year, New You” challenge, drinking more water, and scheduling an annual physical examination in January to keep holiday eating and drinking in check.

A colleague who is just as fit now as he was in high school, about 45 years ago:

1. Uses the stairs to go down five flights to the first floor.

2. Runs or uses the Pacers bike share to attend meetings downtown.

3. Works out three nights a week at home.

4. Keeps a jar of nuts in his desk for late nights at the office.

Advice from a young lawyer colleague who uses exercise as her “quiet” and stress relief time:

1. Find something you love to do. Not everyone likes to run and swim.

2. The hardest part about getting into an exercise routine is getting started. Team up with a friend because it’s always harder to cancel on friends; sign up and pay in advance for classes so you won’t skip.

3. Exercise first thing in the morning; set out your clothes the night before.

4. Develop the mantra “No excuses.” Saying, “I’ll start tomorrow,” never works. Get out of bed when that alarm goes off and get moving. She has yet to regret a workout, although she has regretted snoozing one too many times.

5. Going to the gym Monday morning sets the week off on a good, healthy note, wakes you up, and clears out the weekend cobwebs. You’re more likely to get up Tuesday if you did so on Monday, because “Mondays are the worst.”

6. Exercising regularly causes her to eat more healthfully.

From a colleague who says that “commitment” is key to his healthy lifestyle:

1. Build healthy living into your life and change it with each new stage (marriage, children, getting older.) He used to play a lot of basketball in his younger days and now meets with a trainer a few times a week after work and walks a lot.

2. Keep a set exercise routine and adjust it when your life adjusts.

3. Have some “skin” in the game: pay for a trainer, gym or class and tell other people you’re doing it to be held accountable.

4. Drink water and have fruit on hand at work every day.

5. Take a daily walk outside at the “witching hour” (2 p.m.) when that “slump” feeling attacks.

A colleague who lost 40 lbs. with Weight Watchers:

1. Weight Watchers made her aware of the emotional aspect of her weight loss journey; she became aware of what and why she was eating, was held accountable for what she ate, and she found solace in hearing that other people had struggles too;

2. She initially joined a gym, starting out by walking and using some machines, but now finds she doesn’t have the time or inclination to go to a gym, so she walks, offers to walk her neighbor’s dog and finds a reason to be outside doing something.

3. She doesn’t deny herself the food she loves, but enjoys it in moderation, making smart choices.

A colleague who began her weight loss and healthy living journey at work, using the stairs instead of the elevator:

1. She began by making it a habit to use the stairs between our floors each time she needed to go from the 4th to the 5th floor. (She makes many trips a day.)

2. When this was no longer “difficult,” she began walking up two flights of stairs (to 6th floor) and then back to the 5th floor. Then, she added walking down one extra flight (to 3rd floor) and back to 4th floor. She occasionally runs up one to two flights a day.

3. This healthy routine takes no more than 45 seconds each time she does it and she’s lost 10 lbs. since March!

4. She has an activity tracker which encourages her, she uses her bike instead of her car to run errands at home, and she does all her yard work.

And finally, from a colleague who detests exercise or anything remotely associated with it, offered to be used as the bad example, describing himself as, “a virtual wreck of a human being, who has somehow defied the odds by living as long as he has.” One of his favorite sayings is, “No life is truly wasted if it can at least serve as a bad example.”

I assured him that I won’t give up on him, and I won’t give up on you. Try a few of these ideas and adjust (and re-adjust) your routine as your life does the same.•

__________

Sharon Buechler is an attorney with Riley Bennett & Egloff LLP and a certified personal trainer, health fitness specialist, and life and wellness coach. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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