I've long since discovered that the only way i can stick to a program is to PLAN PLAN PLAN. Otherwise I just run amok! So I'm wondering what sort of planning you all do? I'm also hoping to get a few new ideas for myself.
I'm going to work backwards!
For dinners, I have a spreadsheet that lists what we're going to eat for dinner every night. Usually I've got 7 days to 2 weeks planned out. On this sheet I have any evening activities listed, like when hubby plays co-rec baseball or we both play sand volleyball in our bar league. If he's got baseball at 8 and I've got volleyball at 7, I plan on having something fast and easy (like picking up a rotisserie chicken) or I plan on making enough the previous night so that we have leftovers. This has helped IMMENSELY with not going out to dinner due to poor planning. We used to go out to dinner a TON because I was too tired to decide what to cook, or because everything was frozen. Now on my spreadsheet it warns me ahead of time about what I need to do. If something requires an ingredient that I don't usually have on hand, I write in to buy it the day before. If I'm planning on cooking pork on Thursday, I write down that I need to put it in the fridge to thaw on Tuesday. Those sorts of things have helped me so much I can't even begin to tell you!
Plus it makes it easier for hubby to help out. There are a few meals we eat frequently that are "his thing" to cook. And if I'm late getting home he can usually start anything else as long as he knows what we're eating. Most of my recipes have no more than a half-dozen ingredients. I save any more complex dishes for the weekends and we make some kind of soup almost every single Sunday.
As far as breakfast and lunches, I make mine and hubby's two or three at a time. I usually do them on Sunday and Tuesday or Wednesday nights. His are easy and I do assembly-line style. He gets leftovers or sandwiches and other stuff. He's not too picky. I, on the other hand, have to deal with weighing and being accurate about things. I have a few standard "lunches" that I alternate during the week.
So what are your planning and preparation tricks? I'd love to hear more things that I can work into my routine.
I'm a huge planner too. I usually only plan the evening before with a general hodgepodge of fresh veges, beans, tofu, dairy options. Occassionally, I'll make a huge crock of hearty soup or other multiple serving dish. I've got a very busy work schedule lately so it's easier to look the evening before so I can plan my day. It has helped my work so much, too. I am more thoughtful--I know where I'll be, what I'll eat, what I'll need to wear, and such. I'm in a very urban setting and rely on walking, biking, or public transporation. So, I have to know the weather for umbrellas and clothes that will fit everything.
Planning my meals has really helped me be more centered and focused.
My planner is a small "chubby" notebook from the dime store. I pencil in my food, calories, and list each food group met by the ingredients. My calories per meal are small so I usually have very fresh, whole foods. It helps with meeting my plans to meet all my food groups. If I have to adjust, I catch up that evening to correct my plan and get ready for the next day. Sometimes I plan a couple days in advance but it's usually because I have an opened can of black beans. So I know I have to finish those or a yummy soup is in the frig.
I plan my meals a week in advance and every Friday or Saturday we go to the store and pick up groceries. I eat a lot of chicken so we buy a box of individually wrapped chicken breasts. Other stuff I divide up before I put it in the freezer (I eat shrimp salads so I have little bags of 12 shrimp each). I just look at my menu for the next day, make sure that it's going to work based on whatever plans we might have, and grab stuff from the freezer and throw it in the fridge.
In addition to counting calories, I'm always counting pennies too! So I do my meal planning for the week on Saturday, and try to plan meals that will work with what I have on hand and in the pantry (excepting fresh veggies, fruits). As you do, I plan more complex meal preps for the weekends. Easy meals or "leftover nights" on the nights when we're busy. I make a list of everything "extra" I need to make those meals. Then Sunday, when the sale list for the grocery comes up, I add all the good meat sales to my list (this will go in the freezer). Sides, snacks may get adjusted for the good produce items on sale. Pantry staples will get stocked in. And last week I put 4 lbs of strawberries for my smoothies in the freezer at $1/lb - and way nicer than the normal frozen.
My lunches are often a smaller version of my dinner from the night before. I usually prep and pack my lunch while I'm fixing dinner. If my husband needs lunch packed, I do that at the same time. Oh, and I do some breakfast prep then, so I don't have to spend as much time in the mornings.
I also log my food plan for the next day the evening before, to make sure my calories, nutrition balance, etc will work. I can always change my log if I need to. But by preplanning it, I almost always stick to it.
__________________ 30 Day Shred - Get back to being able to do it!! Mini Goal 1 - 189 - No longer "Obese"
Mini Goal 2 - 172 - Start looking OK
Mini Goal 3 - 156 - No longer "Overweight", also low weight in the last 12 years
Mini Goal 4 - 145 - Because I NEEED little goals
Mini Goal 5 - 132 - 1988 Weight
FINAL GOAL - 126
I don't know if this makes me a bit odd, but I really like to plan out my exercise/food/health goals! I have a notebook that I take with me everywhere that I record my weight, body fat % and exercise for the day. I also use it to enter in my foods for the day (I also use Fitday, but it's not always convenient to hop on there, so I record it in my notebook and can update the info online later).
I also tend to list out my exercise plan a week in advance. I usually plan my foods only a day in advance...I'll write out a meal plan for the following day in the evening, based on what foods I have and what my schedule is for the next day. I also like to make 'mini-goals', like making sure that I get my five fruits & veg each day for a week, or two litres of water per day, etc etc.
For me, planning everything out gives me a sense of taking control of my weight and health. And it's harder to make excuses...I've recently fallen off the wagon big style, and have put on about 10 pounds in the past two months or so, but as of now, I am re-committed (and spending my Saturday planning)!
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