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Old 11-25-2007, 11:41 PM   #1
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Default Planning

Okay, I realize that in order to be successful it is essential that I plan...so, does anyone have any advice on exactly how to do that. I mean, I am okay at planning out a monthly menu and I would like to just copy it from month to month(idealy...sigh...)...but how do you plan for those days when I come home bone tired and don't want to cook? Or, those monthly times when I tend to be hungry ALL of the time?

I am also interested in how others plan...do you plan weekly/monthly? Do you have meals on hand just in case?

Thanks for the input!!!

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Old 11-25-2007, 11:50 PM   #2
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I am not so great with the planning, but I try to keep some healthy food and meals in the house at all times, and if I'm too lazy or tired to cook anything, it's good to have things for sandwiches, salad, cans of soup, or even lean cuisine frozen dinners on hand when I need them. Planning is a good way to stay on top of things, but if that seems unfeasible for you, I would at LEAST start keeping a food journal so you're aware of what you're eating at all times. It is really the only reason why I've lost 30lbs so far, that and regular exercise.

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Old 11-25-2007, 11:57 PM   #3
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I dont even plan my meals a day in advance because the only person I've got to take care of is myself... so I keep a variety of cereal in the house for breakfast choices.. and have half a dozen varieties of soup... plus lean cuisines are my back up. then there's subway. thank god.

i keep a lot of frozen veggies in the house and always steam extra - I add them to lean cuisines and whatever i take in for lunch. I wouldnt be able to live by an even weekly schedule. maybe I'll have to eventually?

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Old 11-26-2007, 12:33 AM   #4
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I don't plan out every single meal ahead of time, but I do shop for what I think I will be cooking and eating during the week. I also know I need to be flexible -- I've had plenty of times when life gets in the way... hubby may want to go out, or I may get stuck at work and not be able to cook. I always have stuff on hand -- even if it's just sandwich stuff, so that I can get a quick meal in.

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Old 11-26-2007, 01:33 AM   #5
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I will be the first really serious planner to chime in. I plan my dinners and lunches weekly. I cook my dinner, and then take an extra portion the next day for lunch, so I plan out my 7 meals for the week. I then shop for those meals and for staples like fruit, egg beaters, breakfast items, and granola bars or other snacks for when I'm on the run.

Then, the night before or first thing in the morning, I enter my plan for the day into fitday - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert. That way, for the rest of the day, it is all laid out for me and I don't have to wait to get hungry.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:00 AM   #6
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I'm more of the make-sure-there's-only-good-food-in-the-house kind of meal planner. For me, it's hard to overeat on cooked barley, for example. What I do do though is make sure I have something cooked in the fridge at all times so that if I do come home ravenous, it's just a matter of popping it in the microwave. If I don't eat it for dinner, I'll eat it the next day for lunch.

For me, when it's the super hungry time of the month, I tend to eat things with more good fat in them (ie salmon, walnuts, sesame oil). Somehow this helps quench those cravings better.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:28 AM   #7
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I have adopted Dr. Oz's advice and use an automated breakfast and lunch. He recommends you eat the same thing every day so those meals become habit. I started this just with breakfast, because I was not a breakfast eater and couldn't remember to do it, so I got a really yummy (and healthy) omelet recipe from another book (the IQ Answer) and made that my automated breakast, and I have nonfat yogurt and a boiled egg as a back up when I need a change. I loved just automatically getting up and knowing what I"m having so much, I did it for lunch as well...salad, and I vary what I put on it daily to make it different. I then have a reasonable dinner and one snack in the evening, which I can choose daily.

I am surprised this works, but I like not having to think about what I'm going to have, and knowing I don't haveto count every calorie for these meals because I already have them worked out...the salad just varies a little by my choice of topping, but it is in the same calorie range daily.

You have to find what works for you, and that can take some experimentation. i spent a long time jumping from one diet to another, taking pieces of each that fit me and dumping the rest. I learned a lot about myself and my body that.

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Old 11-26-2007, 06:30 AM   #8
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I find that planning is and will be essential to my weight loss success. It's just too risky for me to leave things to chance. Too easy for me to veer off track.

Planning for me has gotten easier. I'm a creature of habit. Once you figure out what foods you really like, you need to make sure that you've got plenty of it on hand. Frozen foods I can buy for a few weeks ahead of time. Dairy products I can buy a weeks worth in advance. Produce I need to buy a few times a week. So keeping up with the shopping is essential.

I eat several different salads during the week. I can make enough for 2 or 3 days of it at one time. So first thing in the morning, I will make one of them. The next day, I'll make a different one. You can make a large pot of soup that is good for a whole weeks worth.

My breakfast is usually the same thing every day. Lunch is one of several things. And dinner is one of a bunch of things. Again, I've figured out what I love best and make sure to have the right ingredients on hand. This way everything's good to go. I do need to vary sometimes, and be a bit more flexible, depending on my scheduele. I've got a back up plan for that as well. I use containers and zip lock bags to pack things for when I'm on the go. For times when I'm hungrier or just plain old munched, I've got lots of low calorie snacks to take care of it.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:13 AM   #9
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I plan a weekly menu the day before grocery shopping. I keep my menu, list, and dinner ideas in a Word document so that I don't have to start from scratch every week since so many items are bought over and over again.

I also do what Dr. Oz suggest. I eat the same breakfast every morning and the same three items for lunch every day. Dinners are more flexible, but I try to keep them always healthy.

For days when we eat out, I know all the places that offer a healthy alternative.
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:01 AM   #10
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Planning for me is challenging as my DH works swing shift that changes weekly. I also try to cook around field hockey, dance, and DS's part time job. Let's just say it gets crazy sometimes!

There are staples that I have on hand always like frozen-boneless-skinless chicken breasts and frozen veggies, fresh veggies and fresh fruit, healthy sandwich choices. These are my basics! I don't typically plan what I'm making for dinner until that day, but I always know that those healthy choices are there for me to start with and build upon. I tend to supplement the basics with whatever meat/veggies are on sale when I get to the grocery store for that week.

Breakfast and lunch? I totally didn't realize that I was following part of Dr. Oz's plan! I have oatmeal everyday for breakfast...it's warm and filling and sticks with me several hours. I put milk on top of it so I get in one of my daily dairy requirements without much thought. I take a sandwich, baby carrots and a piece of fruit for lunch every day. Again, no thought required, it's just automatic! Weekends I tend to skip breakfast and DD and I will hit the local Subway for lunch on Saturday, and Sunday is usually a brunch after church....so.....even on the weekends I guess I do have a normal plan!
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:32 AM   #11
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Thanks for the input! I guess for me - working full time, taking care of a spouse and four kids and living on a budget I have really always been a planner. My problem is those days when I am too tired or lazy to cook. So I really appreciate the input there! Planning for me not only saves money but it also eliminates the choices - even if something doesn't "sound good" in the morning by dinner time it is fine (especially effective with the kids!).

Oh, and I have been unknowingly following Dr. Oz's advice for years...as I, too, am a creature of habit (good and bad...sigh..).

Have a blessed day.

All great achievements require time.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:55 AM   #12
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I plan for a couple days at a time.

Like yesterday, I decided to make a bean/vegetable soup which will be my lunch for the entire week (along with other goodies).

Almost everyday I have 2 salads, one for lunch, one for dinner. I have to grocery shop to make sure that I have salad fixings for myself and my husband.

I keep a variety of frozen vegetables on hand because they are easy to add to dinner or add to lunches that require a bit more vegetables.

I generally cook a dish for dinner/lunches that will last a couple days with leftovers. So I hardly come home without something in the fridge that can be reheated and made into dinner.

I make sure I have plenty of fresh fruit on hand for snacks as well as veggies that are good for snacks (carrots and celery).

My breakfast is the same every morning so I have to ensure that I always have the ingredients for my morning smoothie. One good part is that I use a lot of frozen fruits for my morning smoothie, including fruits I freeze for myself so I hardly ever get low or run out.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:44 AM   #13
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I cook every night until the night I just can't stand the thought of cooking. This happens about once every two weeks. Then I turn to my freezer.
I prepare for those nights by:

cooking extra and freezing

cooking ahead on the weekend to prepare for the week (lately I've been making a big bowl of 3 bean salad, a platter of deviled eggs, and a big pot of soup)

Keeping stuff in the pantry I can throw together in a few minutes for an emergency meal: I've got a couple of good soup recipes that are just cans of stuff mixed together, or we'll do omelets, or hoagies.

For the hungry days (and these get intense), I fool myself by breaking my food up into about 6 "snacks" instead of meals. This way, I can eat every hour or two and I feel like I'm snacking all day. If I'm really starving, then I'll eat a little more than normal and just make sure it's the good stuff. I figure my body is telling me something.

I like variety and changing things up. So I make sure I try out one or two new recipes every week. It keeps things from getting boring.
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