Monthly Archives: August 2013

Meal Planning – You can do this!

I’m proud to say that despite having a new baby in the house, my hubby and I have maintained our “make meals for the week in advance” schedule. We usually hit up the grocery as a family on Saturday or Sunday morning with our list in hand. We prepare lunches for both of us for 4 days and get ingredients for dinners as well for 4 nights. We also plan out what we’ll eat for¬† breakfast and make sure to have that prepped and ready, too.

If you are having trouble staying on track with whatever health goal you have and you AREN’T pre-planning your meals – my advice would be to start now! Even if your excuse is that your schedule is too hectic – I would argue that taking a few minutes to pre-select your meals, hit the grocery store ONCE and get all the goods and spending a few hours in the kitchen one day a week would help you have MORE time during the week. I can’t believe how much time I used to spend deciding what to eat on the day of before work. I would open my fridge and stare at the contents, look in the panty for any sign of something decent…and then struggle to think of anything¬† I could put together with what I had already. This often ended in frustration and I would just get something “out” which was typically unhealthy and more expensive than bringing food from home.

We have been doing this “meals in advance” thing for almost 4 years and we have definitely seen savings in terms of calories and dollars. And of course, time. If you aren’t a chef in the kitchen – there are so many resources for quick and easy meals available on the internet. Your meals don’t have to be gourmet!

Have I convinced you yet?

To get started you have to follow some rules:

1) Pre-select the meals. Check out some websites (eatingwell.com & cookinglight.com are 2 of my favs, as well as paleomg.com if you are looking for wheat free ideas) and select FOUR meals to make. You’ll pick 2 lunch style options and 2 dinner options.

  • You’ll be eating each meal twice which helps with the excuse of not wanting to buy a meal for just one person – because you’ll always be eating it twice. OR I guess if you don’t mind repetition – you could just pick 2 meals and eat them all 4 times instead (this would only work if you are doing this solo though)!
  • We give ourselves one lunch out and one dinner out each week so that we can still be social or attend work events that are over lunch/dinner, etc.
  • Make sure you consider your circumstances for lunch – do you have a fridge at work, a microwave? Toaster oven? Pick meals that will be easy to eat at work.

2) Make a LIST with all the ingredients you’ll need from each recipe BEFORE you set foot in the grocery store. Pick recipes that use the same ingredients to save even more money. So say you are going to make steak tacos and want to do a home made pizza – you could use the same cheese and vegetables for both. See?

3) This must be said: STICK TO THE LIST WHEN YOU SHOP. DO NOT VENTURE FROM THE LIST!

4) Pick a day, afternoon, night, morning (whatever) to prepare your meals. We always make our lunches in advance and put them in 1 serving containers so in the morning it’s a quick grab and go before work. Over the past year we’ve gone back and forth between making dinners in advance and waiting till the night of to make the dinner. It all depends on your schedule. But knowing what you are going to have for dinner and already having all the ingredients will save you tons of time and energy night of!

  • One thing we’ll do is do any prep work that might need to happen for dinner in advance. I’ll use the taco example again (we love tacos) – you could do that as a dinner but you could make the taco meat/veggies in advance so you just have to heat it up and crisp up the taco shells. Throw some beans on the side and you’ve got a meal.

Pyrex Storage Set from Amazon $25

One thing that really helps with this approach is to invest in some decent containers to store your portioned lunches/dinners. We use glass pyrex containers and we have a variety of sizes (small and large rectangles, different sizes of bowls, etc). Make sure whatever you get has lids that seal effectively to keep your food yummy.

The bottom line is that everyone is busy – but scheduling in time to eat healthy (or just to eat within a budget) is do-able. If we can do it in a family where we both work full time and have a new baby, you can do it, too! Start small – maybe just prepare lunches in advance and see how it goes!

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Fighting My Way Back to You

Over the weekend, I made a decision. Screw waiting to “feel better” – I’m just going to go for it. I keep waiting for my knees to not hurt, to feel like they used to…but what if that NEVER happens? What if I always have knee pain from now on? Does that give me a good enough excuse to just not work out? Absolutely not.

I have always struggled with some different forms of pain during my working out years – foot pain, knee pain (of a different sort), back/neck pain…I’ve been through a lot of different scenarios – but I never let it stop me from working out. I realize this weekend that I may never be the same person I was pre-pregnancy again – my body will forever be different because having a child changes you. And instead of mourning that loss of who I was before, I have to start getting to know this new person. The new Dre. And if that means starting at square one again and building my way back toward regular exercise, then so be it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks.

And despite having some new types of pain and limitations – I can still work out. It just may look and feel different than it did before. I think a big part of this process was just not wanting to accept that I needed to start over, and what that would feel like. Being totally out of shape was something I could fortunately say I hadn’t experienced in awhile. Despite still having weight to lose before I got pregnant, I still considered myself to be more on the in shape side of things. I had great endurance and strength and I felt like my energy level was in a good place. When I got blood work done and my metabolism tested – everything pointed in a good direction.

But after almost a year of just being out of synch with that part of myself, it just felt like a long journey to start again. And I think that first step was the hardest one for me to take. But I decided to just jump back in and see how things went. So last night, I re-entered our make shift work out room, dug out one of my turbo instructor dvds and pressed play. I determined I would do 30 minutes of turbo and just modify it to avoid the jumping/high impact stuff as I knew my knees wouldn’t like that.

My joints screamed a little as I did my double bob and jab knees. My hamstrings screeched a little during those front and back push kicks. My shoulders and arms complained about the 4 crosses and triples to the left. But, man – my heart sang. It felt good to lose myself a little bit – or maybe it felt good to FIND my old self again. To put back on her shoes, to listen to her music – I found myself signaling the imaginary participants behind me to punch right. I found myself smiling as my heart rate climbed, and even though I couldn’t jump, I could still reach high and practice good form. It felt good, even if I felt different.

My workout was bittersweet. I was pleased with myself in just following through, and being able to do 30 minutes without stopping. But it was hard because I know that the old me would have had a lot more pep in her step and would have been able to do more. I know I’m on the way back to that part of myself, and I realize that it’s not going to look or feel the same for me in a lot of ways. But not trying isn’t an option. That is not a good enough excuse.

Becoming a parent involves a lot of sacrifices, but it also means that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of someone else. And I won’t let myself forget that.

I’m setting small goals for myself – 30 minutes of cardio 3x a week. I plan to do it after Daxton goes to bed around 8. I can carve out 30 minutes of my day three times a week. And maybe 30 minutes a week will turn into more, or maybe 3x a week will turn into everyday. Who knows, I just know that life is going to go on whether I participate or not, so it’s time to take matters into my own hands and try to figure out who this new version of me will be.

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