April 1st (Monday) I slept in and woke up naturally. It was splendid. I opened my curtains and saw the sun shining, also splendid. It’s finally feeling like spring is in the air and that the cold and dreary days won’t last forever. That being said, spring has always been about new beginnings for me, about possibility. So it seems fitting to take a look at my habits and make some healthier tweaks.
Moving to the city was an eye opener for me in many ways, but some more than others. Mostly, I’ve realized just how easy it is to eat out frequently and grab a drink after work with the abundance of restaurants and bars everywhere you look. It tends to be the thing to do after work or even on any given afternoon. The weather’s nice? Let’s grab a drink. It’s been a hard week or a good week? Let’s grab a drink. Looking for something to do? Grab a drink! It’s fun for sure, but not so fun when you wake up realizing your clothes don’t fit quite like they used to.
I’m not here to say you need to give all that up, I’m all about drinks with coworkers or friends. After all, I’m a craft beer fan through and through. But it’s become my baseline. I had a drink most days of the week last week and have eaten out more days than I should have considering I have food in my fridge. Consequently I don’t feel that great and acknowledge that I have gained a few pounds. Therefore, I’m committing to some new goals in April which all start with some planning.
Where to start?
First think about what works with your lifestyle. I always bring my breakfast and a snack to work and get lunch there (the perks of being a dietitian). Therefore, I simply need to plan my snacks and dinners. That being said, if I have meals prepared ahead of time I am more likely to eat those rather than order out and throw something random together like the pancakes I made for dinner last night. This means that I need to dedicate a day or two during the week for meal prepping and planning.
Plan, plan, plan! If you aren’t good at sitting down and making a plan for yourself, then find a dietitian in your area. We all tend to be type A and excel at planning! Any plan that you make or someone makes for you should not be too rigid that it causes anxiety or eliminates entire food groups or doesn’t allow for living. I’m loosely following the BeachBody meal plan this month as a way to try out new snacks and a new way of thinking about what I am putting in my body. It’s similar to how I eat now, but provides more structure and encourages planning for success. All things I want in my life right now. That being said I will likely eat more vegetables than the plan recommends and I am mixing the vegan and regular plans together because I disagree with some aspects. For one, most of the protein options are high sodium, high saturated fat, processed meats (sausage, deli meats, etc.) while beans are considered carbohydrates. I like to use beans as a protein source when paired with whole grains.
If friends want to go out to dinner or you have a date to get drinks, don’t pass up on that! Every meal and every event is a learning opportunity. I am still learning that when I get drinks earlier in the evening I end up eating and drinking more. I know that when I go out to eat I am influenced by others and should have somewhat of a plan.
These days there seems to be a dichotomy between weight loss goals and mindful or intuitive eating. It’s unfortunate. I like to think the two concepts can coexist and even work together. For example, I like to have my day to day planned with my weight loss goals in mind but use more intuitive eating and mindfulness when I am in social situations. Furthermore, I am writing this post to show that even dietitians who are supposedly the experts in nutrition find themselves in positions where they want to be healthier or lose weight. I fall victim to spontaneity, cravings, and social situations. I like to take it as an opportunity to learn and use the strategies that I promote on myself. And so the journey begins.