Weight Loss Support - How much planning goes into your diet/ exercise/ weightloss?




GlamourGirl827
07-11-2012, 06:09 PM
I'm curious how much you plan? Do you plan out meals for the week, or do a healthy grocery shopping and wing it? Do you make a grocery list? Do you prepare meals earlier in the week, make lunch the night before? Do you write down everything you are going to eat, or have eaten? Is ther any point of not planning enough that you start to go off track? Is there any point when planning too much makes you feel obsessed? What's your happy medium?

And exercise.... Do you plan it? Schedule it? Write it down? Do you have to plan the workout in detail (i.e. X minutes treadmill at X miles per hour) or is it just "I'm going to the gym" today?


What will you break plans for, what have you passed up (i.e. last minute dinner with friends) to keep your plans? Do you have a healthy back up plan for when you original plans fall through? What about workout plans? Will you break them? And for what? Do you have a back up workout when plans fall through?

If your family decides last minute they all want pizza, do you stand your ground and cook the planned meal? Or give in?


baker23
07-11-2012, 06:16 PM
I never planned my food out. Just tried to stick to a certain calorie limit and keep it healthy. Mostly just winging it.

My excerise on the other hand was planned out everyday. Especially my running as i'm training for a 1/2 marathon right now. I keep a log on my computer to keep track of my improvements with running every week.

During the entire weightloss thing, I tried not to limit myself from enjoying food with friends and family. Just always in moderation(which is prob why it took me around 4 years.) Firm believer in not having weightloss effect your life to much :P

Katbot24
07-11-2012, 06:16 PM
Depends on the day/week.

We plan shopping as part of our budgeting strategy so food is mostly planned, although there are nights where a night out happens because life is worth having fun in.

Exercise wise, I try to get 3 30 min sessions in every week, some weeks that's it, other weeks I'll find the motivation to go every day.

I've never missed out on plans, I'm a social butterfly and would be miserable if I did and, since this is a lifestyle change, I'm not doing the misery thing. I might choose not to eat, or to eat very little though.


lin43
07-11-2012, 06:20 PM
I don't plan meals for the week, but I buy staples that I know I regularly eat. I may boil some eggs and make a salad, for example, because I know those will come in handy regardless of what I eat during the week.

I cycle my calories & have a weekly total rather than a daily one. Also, I start my "day's" count w/ my most unpredictable meal, which is dinner. So, if an unexpected eating event occurs (e.g., an unexpected invitation to dinner), I go with it and make up for it the next day or next several days. This has helped me tremendously as such spontaneous events were usually my downfall in the past.

I like to get at least one hour of exercise in, 6 days a week, but I usually do more than that. I usually do most of that in the a.m. (although this summer is an exception), so I rarely have a reason not to exercise. However, if something comes up, I don't worry about skipping a day since I feel I do enough regular, consistent exercise for that one day not to be a problem.

m3k
07-11-2012, 06:23 PM
I actually don't do a whole lot of planning. For just the two of us, it's pretty easy. We head out to the grocery store, and make a small plan there about what we'll do for lunches and dinners. He likes certain cereal for breakfast, and I like to eat certain things for breakfast. So, that's usually a free for all. We also just don't let certain foods in to the house. If it's not there, we can't eat it.

The nice thing is that it is just us. If we had kids, there would certainly be more planning involved and I'm sure everything would be a lot different.

As far as exercise, I just make sure that I'm exercising at the very least 4 times a week. If I'm working out by myself, I run or go on the elliptical for about a half hour. I'm in the process of doing a couch to 5k program. If it's a Zumba day, I'm there! Zumba days I definitely try to go to. There's usually several a week, but some are in the morning and some are in the evening. It's exhausting, but so much fun and very good for you.

I found that strict planning and scheduling for me became too restrictive. Now I just know that I must work out, I must eat well, and all will fall in to place.

This is the third or fourth time I've solidly tried to lose weight, so I've had plenty of trial and error.

The only planning that I do is when I first wake up, I use the restroom and then weigh immediately. This keeps me accountable daily. I have an entire Excel spreadsheet chart system set up that I am VERY strict about. It must be completed every morning. The next morning, I fill in my exercise for the day and the amount of time I took to complete it. I then have each month of weight loss charted along with all of my mini goals. This visual of how far my journey has come and how long I have to go is extremely important. It starts my day on the right weight loss/fitness foot.

I hope I answered at least some of your questions!

krampus
07-11-2012, 06:32 PM
I don't plan much. I buy groceries and make things out of them. I eat chicken, tuna or hard boiled egg salad 2-3 days a week for lunch with Greek yogurt and fruit. I am OK eating the same stuff for lunch day in and day out with more flexibility for dinner and weekends.

I have two lifting days that I absolutely must stick to, but they are flexible depending on my schedule. The other days I can run outside or use cardio machines or walk or go to Zumba. My roommate/good friend and my boyfriend, the two people I hang out with most, are both active people who respect my exercise plans and sometimes join me.

Too much planning, journaling, recordkeeping, numbers crunching drives me to total insanity.

Rana
07-11-2012, 06:32 PM
I'm curious how much you plan?

I want to plan. I used to be better at it before. But sometimes I plan, sometimes I don't. What helps is that I have some favorites that I call "pig chow" (boyfriend's term for it!) that are healthy meals that I can make with my eyes closed. And I freeze stuff too for easy meals when I'm too tired.



Do you plan out meals for the week, or do a healthy grocery shopping and wing it? Do you make a grocery list?

I have a vague idea of how I want to eat during the week -- I take into consider meals out with friends/boyfriend, how much time I have at hand. At the grocery store, I have an idea of what I will buy, but I like to buy what's in season and sometimes my store runs out of stuff... So, again, I have a vague idea, but I am flexible if I have to be.



Do you prepare meals earlier in the week, make lunch the night before?

I sometimes cook on the weekends and then save for meals during the week (lunches, mostly). Sometimes I cook at night and save the leftovers for lunch the next day. It depends, again, on how much time I have.


Do you write down everything you are going to eat, or have eaten?

I have to keep track of what I eat. I calorie count. Eating intuitively doesn't work for me. I know I eat out of boredom or to procrastinate, so looking at my "budget" of calories, reminds me that I need to save them for later, so I can eat dinner!

I also try to eat lower carb and putting it in MFP let's me see where I am in terms of my carb grams.


Is ther any point of not planning enough that you start to go off track? Is there any point when planning too much makes you feel obsessed? What's your happy medium?

Yes, if I don't plan at all, it's easy for me to get lazy and just start eating out -- my boyfriend will HAPPILY bring me lunch or dinner so I don't have to cook, but the end result is that I can't control what I'm eating. And we all know restaurant food has excess calories in it.

I do get diet fatigue and for the last six months I've thrown caution to the wind and the end result has been a 5 lb gain from my lowest weight this year. It doesn't seem like a lot, but I'm not done losing yet.

So, I have to be strict about what I eat again and part of being strict is planning ahead of time for it -- so I know my portions (weigh and measure food) and I know that if I want to make through a 1500 day, then I should skip the cookie and eat the almond butter with an apple instead (same amount of calories, better satiety!)


And exercise.... Do you plan it? Schedule it? Write it down? Do you have to plan the workout in detail (i.e. X minutes treadmill at X miles per hour) or is it just "I'm going to the gym" today?


For exercise, I can't go to the gym... being on a treadmill is mind-numbing for me.

So, I go to a studio where I can take pilates classes and spin classes. And I ride my bike on the weekends. The classes are set by the schedule -- so it's not MY schedule, it's theirs.

Even when I was part of a gym, I went to the classes that the gym offered. Again, not my schedule, the gym's schedule.

For my bike rides, I go with friends (it's good peer pressure if you say you're going to show up at 7:45 AM to ride with them) and then we ride however long we say we're going to ride that day. We know the typical length and how long it should take us. What I don't know -- and can make the ride easier or harder -- is the weather. If it's really windy, it's a hard workout because you fight against the wind. Or if it's really hot, you sweat more than in the spinning class.


What will you break plans for, what have you passed up (i.e. last minute dinner with friends) to keep your plans?

I will plan meals with friends, but I will pick a healthy option on the menu -- usually a salad with a balsamic dressing and protein.


Do you have a healthy back up plan for when you original plans fall through?

Frozen meals! Or my "pig chow."


What about workout plans? Will you break them? And for what? Do you have a back up workout when plans fall through?

Yes, I will, for dinners with friends during the week, if necessary (schedule is fixed for classes, so I can't make it up later). Weekends are easier, since the classes are in the day.

I won't exercise, but I will get right back on track.

I exercise 6 days a week, though, and it's just part of my weekly/monthly routine. I have one day off.


If your family decides last minute they all want pizza, do you stand your ground and cook the planned meal? Or give in?

Boyfriend usually doesn't keep me off track, but if he does request something special, I'll give in. Thankfully he fully supports my efforts and today, for example, he said to me when I called him at work begging him to buy me a cookie, "No, you are not allowed to have a cookie."

:hug:

He's the best.

freelancemomma
07-11-2012, 06:39 PM
Very little planning. I aim to average about 2,000 calories per day and 150 minutes of exercise per week, but beyond that I keep it loose and flexible.

F.

JossFit
07-11-2012, 06:42 PM
I am a creature of habit, and I LOVE to plan. :) I find something so relaxing about ritual and comforting about deciding what to do ahead of time. I find a little bit of preparation makes sticking to my healthy lifestyle super easy for me. More specifically...

Do you plan out meals for the week, or do a healthy grocery shopping and wing it? Do you make a grocery list?

I go grocery shopping after I leave the gym on Saturday morning and once I have my groceries for the week, I sit down with my journal and plan out each meal from lunch that day until breakfast the following Saturday.
I do make a list but I will deviate from it a bit to try new things.

Do you prepare meals earlier in the week, make lunch the night before? Do you write down everything you are going to eat, or have eaten?

I cook batches of chicken for the week, but everything else is prepared after work and packed up in my cooler for the next day (except for meals on Saturdays and Sundays, in which case I just make each meal before I eat it but eat what I planned most of the time.) I do write it all down ahead of time, and then just check it off as I go. I will change something if I'm not in the mood for it but I write the changes down.

Is there any point of not planning enough that you start to go off track? Is there any point when planning too much makes you feel obsessed? What's your happy medium?

I always plan unless I'm planning not to, like a vacation or something. I can never seem to plan too much... I love it. I'm weird like that.

And exercise.... Do you plan it? Schedule it? Write it down? Do you have to plan the workout in detail (i.e. X minutes treadmill at X miles per hour) or is it just "I'm going to the gym" today?

Yep, I write down my workouts ahead of time each week so that way I can make sure I get a good balance and hit my muscles evenly, and also to make sure I don't skip out on exercises that I dislike or that are particularly hard. As I go through the workout, I fill in how many sets/reps and what weight I used.
For cardio, I set little goals such as "Run at least 20 minutes" -- again, just to make sure that I have a good balance and don't end up going weeks without changing up my cardio.

What will you break plans for, what have you passed up (i.e. last minute dinner with friends) to keep your plans? Do you have a healthy back up plan for when you original plans fall through? What about workout plans? Will you break them? And for what? Do you have a back up workout when plans fall through?

I change things up as needed. If I decide to go to lunch at Panera Bread with a girlfriend I just erase my planned meal and pencil in the one I had instead. Same thing with my workouts; if I can't get to a machine or weight I need for my planned workout I just do something that serves the same purpose and write it in my journal. My "back up plan" is just to be flexible in the moment and do something else. Generally social events are things I know about ahead of time, so I will plan (for example) up through lunch and leave my dinner blank because I know I'm going out for a fatty delicous dinner and lots of drinks. :) I try not to throw out the entire day and eat well and exercise as normal up until the event.
That way, I also already have the next day's meals and workout planned so even with a hangover and a guilt hangover (sometimes) I already have my game plan to get right back on track. It is soooo helpful not to have to think about things like that in the moment!

If your family decides last minute they all want pizza, do you stand your ground and cook the planned meal? Or give in?

It's just me, so there is never an issue with that. My fiance lives in another state, and when we do see eachother (and when we were together before he had to move) it was rarely an issue. We are both grown adults and are pretty independent. If he wants to order a pizza he does, and I eat the pizza if I feel like it or I eat whatever was on my plan. I love to cook for both of us and he loves my healthy cooking, but when we don't agree on what to have for dinner it's never a cause for any issues between us.

LockItUp
07-11-2012, 09:23 PM
I don't plan a ton food-wise, but I know what foods I need on hand, so I guess I plan in that way.

For eating out I plan that for sure! If something unexpected comes up, sometimes I will just refrain from eating until I get home if I can't work it into my calories. Unless I'm splurging, in which case it's a planned splurge, so I guess it is planned lol.

I do plan my workouts fairly specifically. When I do a weight training workout I have my little book with me, I already know what exercises I will do, what weights etc, I keep track so I can ensure I am progressing and pushing myself. I try to do the same for cardio, especially running. I try to be flexible when I can, things come up sometimes with babysitters etc, but I try to plan which days and times ahead of time.

ELBS717
07-11-2012, 10:18 PM
My fitbit has revolutionized my planning. As in, helped reduce the need for it a lot! And it's FABULOUS. I pretty much plan on going to the gym 5/7 days a week, but take it day by day. And I eat what I want, but stay consistent with logging what I eat so that I know I'm meeting my deficit.... I also try to eat healthy, but this means that if someone has free donuts at work, I have one. :)

novangel
07-11-2012, 10:35 PM
Cardio 5-6 days a week. Food right now is making sensible choices but everything in moderation, zero calories on drinks, no soda (never liked soda anyway) and all the green veggies I want.

Trying to plan too much usually dooms me to failure. I don't like rules. :lol:

KittyKatFan
07-11-2012, 10:55 PM
Regarding food, I do prepare a shopping list in advance to make sure I don't forget anything. I only grocery shop once a week so forgetting something is a major inconvenience.

I don't typically plan meals. I know that at dinner, I will cook a protein and a vegetable. I will choose whatever sounds good, or whatever needs to be eaten while it is fresh. I haven't been taking lunch to work because I don't have time and my company typically offers several healthy choices. I will check out the cafeteria menus ahead of time though, so I know what to eat.

As for exercise, I typically have a weekly routine, but I will mix things up at the last moment if I need some motivation.

Arctic Mama
07-11-2012, 11:01 PM
I'm the same as Joss. I love planning and do plan out my exercise and two week menus well in advance. It's a sign my life is going haywire when I lose my routines, because I depend on consistency and planning to keep my responsibilities in order and life predictable. For the sake of my kids, especially I try to be predictable and consistent and it has benefitted my weight management greatly.

shcirerf
07-12-2012, 12:07 AM
I've been doing this long enough that food/grocery shopping for me and the hub, not a big deal.

The workouts, planned! Weight Watchers meetings, "planned"! Hub knows the drill! I am not available at these times!

I do take some extra time on Sunday to chop and slop and slice and dice and bag up things to make my life through the work week easier.

alaskanlaughter
07-12-2012, 12:34 AM
I'm curious how much you plan? Do you plan out meals for the week, or do a healthy grocery shopping and wing it? Do you make a grocery list? Do you prepare meals earlier in the week, make lunch the night before? Do you write down everything you are going to eat, or have eaten? Is ther any point of not planning enough that you start to go off track? Is there any point when planning too much makes you feel obsessed? What's your happy medium? I make a grocery list and shop every two weeks with minor other stops there. I shop for all of us, DH and the kids. I buy healthy foods that I like, even if they don't necessarily like it. And then I wing it in terms of meals. I know what I like to eat, so I just pick and choose when the time comes of what's available at home. I write down every day what I eat and the calorie count. I can't obsess too much about numbers though. I can't focus on calories AND carb counts, for example, although i DO try to stay away from wheat and sugar as much as I can.

And exercise.... Do you plan it? Schedule it? Write it down? Do you have to plan the workout in detail (i.e. X minutes treadmill at X miles per hour) or is it just "I'm going to the gym" today? I plan my workout and do it first thing in the morning. I get up early to go to the gym and I know what I'll work on. I know what weight machines I'm doing and the weights/sets that I'll do. I know how long it takes me to run intervals on the treadmill at a certain pace also. I try to keep upping the weights and the speed of running every couple weeks or so also. I log all of this in my food log for the day as well.


What will you break plans for, what have you passed up (i.e. last minute dinner with friends) to keep your plans? Do you have a healthy back up plan for when you original plans fall through? What about workout plans? Will you break them? And for what? Do you have a back up workout when plans fall through? I have a very hard time passing up anything LOL. I try to just be very very picky and only eat what I trulyyyyy want and not just all the junk at the barbeque etc. If we go out to eat, I try to choose a yummy salad. But we go out to eat rarely and sometimes I'll choose whatever dish I'd like to eat. Although there is one restaurant here that serves an amazing caesar salad. Workout plans rarely fall though because I schedule them either early morning or as a non-negotiable part of my day, like a doctor's appt or a work meeting. My "other workout" is a bike ride outside but the weather has been so bad this summer that I rarely have gone.

If your family decides last minute they all want pizza, do you stand your ground and cook the planned meal? Or give in? I always cook for dinner unless we go out to eat or decide on ordering pizza. However I dont always eat what I've cooked. I make family meals and if they don't fit in my eating plan for the day, I eat just a little or make something similar that is healthier. Or I'll be really picky, like I'll eat spaghetti sauce on a piece of garlic bread and just skip the noodles altogether because I don't REALLY LOVE the noodles.


Tried to put my answers in bold up there. Hope it worked!

memememe76
07-12-2012, 01:22 AM
I preface this by saying I am single with no children. So, it's all about me.

I don't really plan during the week just because I am so darn predictable. I eat the exact same things four days of the work week. That fifth day is a selection of approx 5 different meals, depending on my mood and schedule.

Exercise, I always workout after work. I will workout in the morning if I know I will work later or I have plans after work.

The weekend, I plan ahead depending if I know what I will be doing. The weekends I try to go to a class. My gym is a local chain so I can go to different locations, which gives me some choice in terms of classes. If I have to work or I have a function closer to home, then I try to find a class closer to home. If I will be in the City (I live in the suburbs), I will try to do a class in the City because there is one kickass cardio kickboxing class that I adore. If I know I will be going to a restaurant, I will check out the menu online (I live in a large city and urbanspoon has menus for practically every restaurant in the city, it's great).

I have established certain behaviours, actions and responses when something deviates from my established schedule. For example, when my boss invites me for a lunch (which is always last minute), I know what exactly what I will be eating for dinner later that night.

When I go on Holiday by myself, I make sure my hotel will have a gym but I also will ensure that is a YMCA or gym or community centre nearby in case the hotel gym is subpar/not working (which has happened to me in the past--I had to trek in the snow in freezing Quebec weather to a nearby fitness centre--I was so angry), or if I want to do a class (I like trying out at least one class in a new city, to see if there are any cultural differences). I will plan out what coffeeshops and restaurants I will go to.

When it is a family related holiday, planning for food is virtually impossible. I just try my best. But I will always try to find a way to work out in the morning.

So, yes, I plan but then I plan everything else in my life, so it's no big deal.

Dreamer2012
07-12-2012, 04:45 AM
I don't plan my meals. I have the same lunch each day and since I live at home, my mum cooks dinner which is generally a home cooked meal. I tend to eat the same foods all the time and don't really change my eating. It's working for me though. I used to do calorie counting and I felt like it was taking over my life - it was awful! So from what I learned doing it, I have a vague idea of how many calories each of my meals are since I don't change them around. I know what I should and shouldn't eat and how much of foods I should and shouldn't have. So I just go by that.

My exercise has more planning it in. I like to do a workout after my lunch and I like to go walking or do another workout after dinner which depends on the weather. At the moment, I'm doing route 1 of my walking routine. And will move onto 2 in August, 3 in September and so on. Each month, my plan is to increase my daily amount of exercise starting of slow and going upwards. While I tend to stick to eating the same foods and not have "cheat meals/day", I plan to have one day a week of no exercise. This is to help me not get discouraged and not feel like I have to exercise all the time. I fell off the wagon in June and got back on it and can proudly say I have taken one day off since July 1st! I can usually plan which day I take off based on plans made for that week. But I just have been so motivated to keep going that that is what I am doing since. My next scheduled day off is July 20th because of plans but I may decide to take a day off during the weekend. It just depends how I feel. I have that there so I can take it off when I like or if I'm motivated, I may as well just keep at it!

I haven't ditched plans made with friends because of my foods and exercise routines. My motto is "Everything in moderation" I haven't cut out anything, I've cut down. I was a snacker so I have cut down an awful lot on junk food and fizzy drinks. But if my friends want to have a pizza night, I'm going to go for it! As you can see, I'm not extremely strict on the foods I eat. I don't eat junk each day but I will have it still every now and then.

sontaikle
07-12-2012, 04:55 AM
I don't really plan, but I do have a routine (I'm a creature of habit). I eat a lot of the same things, go to the gym on certain days/times, etc. I vary my workouts to keep my body guessing though.

Sometimes I change things up when I'm feeling bored, but for the most part it's the same thing every day and I get really annoyed when that routine is interrupted.

sacha
07-12-2012, 06:40 AM
I used to wing it as a single childless gal.

As a mom cooking for 2 others (3 others, if you count an athlete husband who eats to train!), I simply can't 'wing it' anymore.

Monday to Friday MUST BE SIMPLE.

Rice + a green (ie. head of broccoli steamed) + a protein (ie. fish, whatever). Salt + pepper, they can add a bit of butter if they want (my son is 2 and can eat a horse). Popcorn if THEY want after.

If they decide to eat "X" on a Friday night (say, Pizza) then I generally make sure to have some staples around (flour, tomato sauce) and make one myself. Or, we order it the next day and I make sure to *PLAN* what I am going to have (I usually get a small pizza and share it with the toddler).

When we're cooking for a whole family, the idea of 'winging it' doesn't work well with weight loss or maintenance...

Once in a while, sure. But none of us ended up on 3FC because our metabolisms were awesome and we have such an easy time turning down food. We have to be realistic, we've all struggled, and sometimes we have to make ourselves follow rules that may not seem fair because others don't have to follow them.

Arctic Mama
07-12-2012, 08:40 AM
When we're cooking for a whole family, the idea of 'winging it' doesn't work well with weight loss or maintenance...

Once in a while, sure. But none of us ended up on 3FC because our metabolisms were awesome and we have such an easy time turning down food. We have to be realistic, we've all struggled, and sometimes we have to make ourselves follow rules that may not seem fair because others don't have to follow them.

Too true!

GlamourGirl827
07-13-2012, 08:47 AM
Thank you everyone! I was really struggling, wondering of it was my lack of planning that was my down fall.. I had been found well for nearly a year. Sacha, you are right. I think I have a hard time winging it with a family. Some nights my husband is home, and I can cook more time consuming dinners. But other nights when he works he is not home until way after dinner. Those nights I don't want to cook time consuming dinners because I have two kids that often eat a modified version of our dinner, and to be honest I simply find it exhausting at the end of the night to do a huge dinner, with clean up plus bath and bedtime. If I pla to cook on the nights hubby isn't home, I usually weasel out of it and eat cereal, then an hour or so after the kids are in bed I'm looking for food because surprise, I'm hungry... I'm typically a planner, but I've also found too much planning leaves me wanting to rebel from the plans!!! I am trying to find the middle of the road, and it helps to hear how others are doing it. I think preparing things earlier in the week, like precutting and prepackaging portions is a great idea. I have even thought about premaking the grain like rice. Does anyone do that? Precook rice, quinoa, or couscous? And keep it in a Tupperware in the fridge...
As for working out, yes I need to plan that. Since I've been winging it with workouts I don't do them.
My husband is not a planner. And his idea of diet is "I'm going to eat healthier, and exercise"...but he doesn't. And yes he is about 100 pounds overweight. And when I am planning he kind of gets a little annoyed at my planning and says I'm too obsessed. But when I stop planning, I regain the weight.

Rana
07-13-2012, 10:26 AM
Yes, precook the grains. I was just eating for breakfast my quinoa that was made on Monday night.

They do last in the fridge! I do that with brown rice too. I also freeze portions of it, so that in my quick meals, I can just pull it out too (without having to cook it from scratch for 45 minutes).

GlamourGirl827
07-13-2012, 11:05 AM
Yes, precook the grains. I was just eating for breakfast my quinoa that was made on Monday night.

They do last in the fridge! I do that with brown rice too. I also freeze portions of it, so that in my quick meals, I can just pull it out too (without having to cook it from scratch for 45 minutes).

Ah, thank you! I will start doing that. It eliminates one step and one extra pot to wash. Which really makes the end of the night dinner easier, and me more likely to stick with a planned meal.
What do you freeze them in? a tupperwear or ziplock? And do you defrost it in the microwave?

LockItUp
07-13-2012, 11:14 AM
I really love the crockpot, or recipes I can throw in a pot on the stove at some point early in the day, and it's just ready by dinner time. That helps me a lot with dinner.

My husband doesn't get off work until after dinner, I have a 3 year old and a 7 month old, and it can be hard to get dinner! By that time of day they are both a little more needy than they are at, say, 10 am.

I could definitely plan better when it comes to dinner. I still struggle with preparing meals for the family.

scout83
07-13-2012, 11:40 AM
Yeah, why is that taking away one pot makes such a difference? I made my breakfast today in one skillet today and felt like a rockstar. I need to look at simplifying some of my meal prep in terms of dishes.

To answer the planning question, I've been planning quite a bit, but not being too specific. I've been going shopping a few times a week and every few days, writing out possible meals with the ingredients on hand. Just brainstorming. This way, the ideas are fresh and I'm not making poor decisions out of mental laziness ("I don't know what to cook", etc.), but I also don't feel like I'm on a rigid meal schedule/obligated to eat something I don't want.

GlamourGirl827
07-13-2012, 11:41 AM
I really love the crockpot, or recipes I can throw in a pot on the stove at some point early in the day, and it's just ready by dinner time. That helps me a lot with dinner.

My husband doesn't get off work until after dinner, I have a 3 year old and a 7 month old, and it can be hard to get dinner! By that time of day they are both a little more needy than they are at, say, 10 am.

I could definitely plan better when it comes to dinner. I still struggle with preparing meals for the family.

Yes kids are definitely not at their best in the evening. I have a 4 and 2 year old, and in the morning is when I can get pretty much anything done. But about 4pm is when things get tough until bed time. The idea of preparing a meal at that time is just caios. I don't mind the occasional frozen healthy meal for myself but I try to eat whole foods, not prepackaging, and plus it gets expensive. I already cooked my grains, Im going to put them in zip locks so the portions are done. I'm going to prechop veggies and bag them. I do like the Crock pot, my paranoid issue with the crock pot is I am not able to exactly measure calories...that actually keeps me from using it more often.

Does anyone precook the meat? I don't think it would hold long in the fridge. .. Freezer maybe?

LockItUp
07-13-2012, 11:51 AM
I do like the Crock pot, my paranoid issue with the crock pot is I am not able to exactly measure calories...?

I had this issue too! What I do now, and probably not everyone is willing or able to do this, but I:

Measure or weigh everything that goes in.
Calculate all the calories (I use myfitnesspal.com's recipe section and add all individual ingredients), then that recipe is saved if I make it again.
After it is done cooking I weigh the entire contents of the meal (I weigh the pot before I add anything so when I weigh it when it's done I subtract the weight of the pot).
Then I can divide the weight by how many servings there are total, and weigh out 1 portion and know pretty well what the calorie content is.
That helps amazingly for leftovers too.

I was totally avoiding anything like casseroles, soups, stews, and the like, because I couldn't tell exactly how much a portion was. Then I divised this little method and it's helped me a lot. I really enjoy 1 pot meals, and now I can have them without worrying!

caryesings
07-13-2012, 12:16 PM
Food planning, not so much. Just kept track of what I was eating over the course of the day and decided what dinner would be based on calories left and food categories that needed help (for example if hadn't eaten enough veg that day dinner would be veg heavy).

Exercise planning, kind of the same thing. Most days I walk for an hour at lunch, but if the weather or my schedule doesn't permit, then my evening plans will change to include time at the gym. And if neither works out, more time on weekend. As long as I get a total of 6 hours for the week, I don't worry about how it's been fit in.

ApeyGirl
07-13-2012, 12:29 PM
I plan out dinners for the week because if I don't, I will quickly go over my budget and not have enough meals for the week. I don't really plan out anything else.. I just buy healthy foods and make breakfast/lunches/snacks out of what I buy.. I do make sure to count my calories though no matter what I eat.

As for exercise.. I just make sure to do at least 30 minutes 5 days a week. It has become a habit now. I don't exercise on the weekends because that's when my husband is home from work and I personally feel silly if I exercise around him :p

Rana
07-13-2012, 01:28 PM
Ah, thank you! I will start doing that. It eliminates one step and one extra pot to wash. Which really makes the end of the night dinner easier, and me more likely to stick with a planned meal.
What do you freeze them in? a tupperwear or ziplock? And do you defrost it in the microwave?

I put them in tupperware, although usually small pyrex bowls that can just jump into the microwave.

For something that's frozen, however, I like to thaw it out in cold water, rather than the microwave. I've never been able to defrost stuff in the microwave without cooking it! Then I'll put it in a pot to heat up or the microwave to heat up (depends on what it is).

Since you like whole foods, I also cook beans from scratch, for example, and portion them out in tupperware and freeze. Without flavors! Then, I can just grab a small tupperware (measured to have the same amounts as a can of that bean) and use it in recipes. Those, I don't even have to defrost -- I just have to be able to get the beans out of the container! Since my recipes (like chili, for example) require cooking the bean in it, it will defrost by the time I'm ready to serve.

For crockpot or one pot recipes, I would use a recipe analyzer tool (Calorie Count or MFP has them) to put the ingredients in and the number of servings. Then, when you're ready to serve, make sure you get that SAME number of servings out of it.

When I'm feeling particular OCD, I'll weigh plates and portions. Other times, I'll just eye ball it.

Rana
07-13-2012, 01:29 PM
P.S. I also cut and prewash fruits and vegetables. This really allows me to make such quick meals, there's no excuse to go out to eat (my weakness).

mysleepingdragon
07-14-2012, 05:20 AM
I plan the menus for dinner every Sunday. This is for budgeting purposes, but helps me also prepare for all the foods we will eat during the week. So this is not specific for weight loss efforts, but ties into it.

I work each week concentrating on one or two aspects depending on how the week before it went. I try to adjust according to what I had problems with, what really worked and see if I can improve it all. For instance, last week I found that instead of fighting with my weird 9am crisis to binge, I would make a pot of tea and have cheddar cheese cubes. Works like a charm. What didn't work was white knuckling it.

I refuse to count anything anymore. I have gone through all the manners of recording from hand writing journals to spread sheets to nutritional programs. I have counted steps in walking, repetitions in exercise and found it all so damn tedious and takes the natural joy out of it all. Counting also leads to unrealistic expectations. Instead, I walk nearly every day for as longs as it is pleasurable and don't care one way or the other whether I am benefiting from it. I know it feels good and I enjoy it, that is all I need. The same with food. I use a small bowl, I fill it with the foods I feel good eating, I limit it to 3-4 bowls a day. Simple.

These days, I am spending more time on learning how to live on the middle path, practicing meditation, shifting my focus away from dieting and exercise as a lifestyle to a more balanced way of life eating less and eating healthier food.

So as far as planning, not more than needs addressing. Too much planning sets me up for failure. Of course, I have to qualify this as I am in a much different place in my 50's than I was when dieting in my 30's. A whole different mindset and so what works now is different than what worked then.

healthyginger
07-14-2012, 02:44 PM
I just write down every calorie I eat and keep a stocked refridge-pantry with all my " legal" food. So I do make sure to keep grocery list updated. We can only shop once a week, so I'll make sure I have plenty of my stuff for at least 10 days just in case. I keep a weighloss journal with a daily checklist for how much exercise, food, water, supplements, daily 3Fc, challenges I'm on, clorie count and that I read something on weightloss and something spiritual everyday. I really rely on my daily accounting. That commitment to my little pink notebook makes all the differnce keeping me keeping on.

Elladorine
07-14-2012, 04:54 PM
I keep healthy staples on hand and only buy certain groceries, and that's typically the extent of my planning. I do keep a food journal to write down what I eat, but that's more of a way to keep my food choices in consideration and reflect on them later as I gauge my progress. I don't track calories, I just watch my portions and avoid refined carbs as much as possible. I do try to be "calorie aware" though so I'm not blindsided by later finding out the "reasonable" meal I thought I had ended up being over 1000 calories!

If my husband wants to order pizza, or if we're having a family get-together, I go ahead and eat what everyone else is having; I just watch my portions and make sure there are healthy options to fill up on. For example, I'll prepare a salad to go with my pizza, or bring a salad to share with everyone. And if we go out to eat, more often than not I have "safe" dishes to order that are doable on my plan, and it's easy to look up most dishes on my iPhone to find the nutrition info if the menu is questionable.

I've laid off on my workout plan until I see the doctor again (I have an eye condition and am not supposed to stress my body until further notice) but I do have a dog that needs walking, so that's more for her than for me. ;)

Astrild
07-14-2012, 04:59 PM
Not a whole lot... I basically shop for relatively low calorie foods, then just eat whatever I'm in the mood for. The most planning I do is having bars on hand for when I'm out and about. I add it up all the calories in my head... I figure that's more maintainable for me than carrying a notepad everywhere. Though I should record my totals at least, cause sometimes I have too many "off" days and don't realize it. I really should plan more when it comes to cooking...I just don't really like to cook. So far so good though.

CanadianMomma
07-14-2012, 06:51 PM
Great idea for a thread!

I'm not good with sticking to restrictions. Like some others I just have a general idea of what healthy food staples I need in the house and what I need to keep out of the house. I do tend to plan out generally what I'll be making for supper over the week, with some flexibility allowed.

Exercise is more of a mental commitment, but really I'm one of those who loves to exercise so sometimes the struggle is keeping myself from going too often. (I'm currently impatiently waiting for it to get late enough that I can go out for my run without it being SCORCHING hot.)

I usually find the healthier option if things come up, or if I've got enough time to preempt them I cut the calories low before hand.

Again, thanks for starting this thread it's really interesting to see what everyone does, and how so many different tactics work for different people.