Meal and Exercise Planning
A friend and I were recently discussing how I plan my meals and exercise before the week beins. I thought that since this is related to planning in general, I would do a quick(ish) post on it. I have always planned my upcoming weeks on Sunday. This means going through my appointments for the week and deciding what meals to plan for what night and what exercise to plan based on my schedule. This is especially important now that I’ve started on my health journey.
My husband and I usually do the grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. I like to get it out of the way, and I prefer to go early (around 7 am or so) in order to get in, get what I need, and get out before the majority of people are up and venture out. I don’t like huge crowds—especially shopping crowds—so I avoid them as much as possible.
Before we head out to the store, I check my appointments for the upcoming week. I decide what we will have for dinner based on where we’ll be and how much time I will have to prepare a meal on a certain day. I even plan for leftovers, which is the best choice for us on days that I do yoga or walk with a friend after work. On these days, I don’t get home until late and the last thing I want to do at 8 pm or later is cook a meal. My husband is more than willing to cook, but he prefers simple things, nothing that would require an actual recipe, like pasta and sandwiches. They are both excellent choices but I’m trying to be more conscious about what and how much I eat. So planning in detail helps a great deal.
Once I’ve figured out what days we will make simple meals, I choose a more complex recipe for the nights I have time (by complex I mean things that require a little more preparation, as opposed to things that require an actual chef—I’m not that brave). The Weight Watchers app has a great selection of meals to choose from. They are broken down by category (salads, grilling, soups, etc.). You can see how many points a serving is for each meal. You can add the ingredients right to a built-in shopping list, and even save the recipe to your recipe box, making it very easy to find again. If you like it, mark it as a favorite!
I might have mentioned that I prefer paper for grocery lists. I tried using an app for this, but really, I find it very difficult to juggle food items and my phone at the same time. If I accidentally hit something on my phone while handling a box of spaghetti, I have to find my way back to where I was. I don’t like the idea of putting my phone in the cart in order to handle food lest I forget it’s there, have it swiped or fall onto the floor, etc. So try as I might, I just find that paper is better for grocery lists.
With that said, I write everything I will need for my weekly meals on my shopping list. I don’t list things in order of where I will find them in the store—that’s too much work for me, especially because items are often moved. So I just write them as I need to and scan the list several times while at the store. I cross items off as I pick them up. I only buy what I need—sticking to my list not only keeps me from over spending, but it also keeps me from overeating items I shouldn’t have bought in the first place. I try not to keep sweets in the house, as they only call to me until they are gone. In my belly. So I don’t bring them home.
Later in the weekend, usually Sunday evening, I plan out my exercise schedule for the week ahead. What I decide on will depend on my schedule, where I am on a given day, and what I did the prior day. I usually attend a gentle yoga class on Monday evenings. While I love this class, it doesn’t give me a physical workout so much as a mental one. So I try to schedule something more active in the morning, like a brisk walk. I work late on Thursdays, so I like to schedule something that takes a little more time than I can do when I work a 9-5 shift, like bicycling. (Yes, I can bicycle the rest of the week, but I tend to bike for an hour or more.) Since I know I won’t get to bed on Thursday night until late, I prefer to schedule something I like to do on Friday morning—I really don’t like the resistance training (as much as I need it), and because I don’t go to bed until late on Thursday night, I prefer to schedule another walk on Friday morning. It’s too easy to talk myself out of doing resistance training on Friday when I’m so tired and would rather stay in bed. The rest of the week I fill in as needed. So a typical week would look something like this:
Monday: walk in the morning, yoga in the evening
Tuesday: resistance in the morning, maybe a walk in the evening
Wednesday: yoga in the morning (at home)
Thursday: bicycle in the morning
Friday: walk in the morning
Saturday: yoga in the morning (at the studio)
Sunday: bicycle in the morning, yoga class in the evening if I can swing it
Of course, the schedule will vary depending on what all I have going on during any given week.
So far, this has been working really well for me. I started back on Weight Watchers two weeks ago. I lost three pounds in my first week. My second weigh-in is tomorrow. I’ve exercised every single day with the exception of yesterday (I had various things going on and just didn’t have time). I did clean, but that’s not much of a workout, so I didn’t even count it.
So far so good. I hope I can keep the momentum.
From this point on, I will post on goals achieved and anything that pops up for discussion. I won’t, however, bore you with weekly updates.