Every so often, I feel horribly bloated and lazy and am convinced I’ve gained a million pounds and therefore am a blob.
I stare at myself in the mirror and alternate between “nope, still looking good” and “omg, you are a heifer”
I crave salty food and stuff chocolate into my gob like it’s going out of fashion even though I’m not actually enjoying it.
And every time this happens, I get a shock until I realise that it’s happening EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH.
And you’d think I’d clue in by now!
It’s usually the PMT aspect – so I’m good to go once TOM starts but the week before … god help us all. And thus the light bulb is illuminated, the bell has *dinged* and the puzzle pieces have all fallen into place.
Last week was that week. That no-good day? Last week. The mini depression because of the weather? Last week. The lack of working out? Last week. The junk food inhalation? Also, (say it with me) last week.
So this week, Aunt Flo is in town but I’m back to feeling normal. No intense chocolate stuffing, no bloating, no depression.
Can someone slap me on the side of the head next month?
Wow, what a cryptic title. What on EARTH could I be talking about? Have I found a way to MAKE time?
Well, no. But hear me out.
We live in a world where time is precious. We never have enough and we want everything to happen quicker and sooner and faster and NOW because we don’t have time to waste. Which means we put off things like going to the gym or cooking a big meal when it’s only for ourselves, or dressing well, or looking after ourselves because, well, there are more urgent things to do.
But this is wrong. This is bad.
Because if we don’t take the time for ourselves, if we don’t make the time for ourselves, then we’re really no good for anyone else. Our work is not productive, our social lives suffer because we have no energy and no zest, and everything else that seems so important suffers. All because we think we have no time.
The thing is that we do have time for ourselves – we just need to find it, and take it. Yes, our days are busy with work, with family, with STUFF, but there are minutes and hours that are there for the taking.
Food is often one aspect that falls by the wayside when time is crunched. It seems easier to order in or buy convenience foods instead of eating well. But food is fuel and with crappy fuel, you have less energy and all that jazz. There are tons of ways of making time work for you when it comes to food:
- Invest in a slow-cooker. I have a new one being christened today and I love it. I throw in the ingredients in the morning while I’m getting ready for work, program it to cook all day and dinner is ready when I get home. No effort required – no thought at the end of a long day. And the bonus is that I’ve got enough cooked for a few meals – bringing me to point #2
- Cook in bulk and freeze ready-made meals. These are SO much better than the ones you buy at the grocery store and tons cheaper too. You control the ingredients and the sodium and the chemicals so they’re so healthy. Cook a big meal and then freeze separate portions so they’re easy to grab from the freezer when you have no food in the pantry or time to prepare a new meal.
- Separate food into ziploc bags when you first put them away. Things like veggies you plan to use for salads or meals or snacks. It may take a little more time than simply stashing them away, but it makes it super easy to grab on the go – for lunches or snacks or whatnot. It takes away the thought and effort when you’re in a rush. It also means you’re less likely to eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting and ignore your dinner – it takes more effort to keep getting up for another little ziploc bag of snacks!
- Menu plan and shop mindfully. Again, putting in a little more effort at the beginning saves time down the track. If you sit down before you grocery shop and plan your meals for the week (it doesn’t need to be a hard-and-fast every item plan), it can save you time and money at the store and mean that you’re less likely to wander aimlessly and throw out food at the end of the week. I’ll admit that I don’t follow this all the time, but I notice when I don’t. For example, this week, I planned my slow-cooker meal tonight, which will last for lunch and possibly dinner tomorrow night. I’m out Wednesday and Thursday night so no meals then. I have some tuna for tuna salad for lunches and then I bought some stewing meat for another slow cooker meal for Friday night. Not expensive and not time-consuming at all.
- Buy frozen veggies and use them liberally. Frozen veggies are not the devil’s invention but rather, an amazing time saver! Frozen chopped onions, chopped spinach, mixed veggies – they all make life easier. Again, this is simply about not trying to re-invent the wheel – if you have the time to buy fresh, great, but if not, it’s super easy to throw some veggies in with some chicken strips and sauce and voila, you have a stirfry.
Some simple hints and tips that can make life easier and show you that time is there for the taking when it comes to easy meals. I hear too many people say that they have Kraft Dinner in their pantry because it takes too long to make a good meal and it’s only for one person and it’s expensive. It’s really not any of those things!
All this week I’ve been diligently packing my snacks to bring to work, as per Mr Nutritionist’s recommendations. My usual eating routine is as follows:
6:30am – breakfast (usually cereal)
9:00am – Green Tea and muffin from the cafeteria with A
12:15pm – Lunch (whatever the cafeteria is serving or a salad and sandwich OR leftovers)
3:00pm – trip to the vending machine for a snack (usually chips!)
7:00pm – dinner (if I can be bothered cooking or a lean cuisine or picking at edamame)
Obviously this plan was not pleasing to Mr Nutritionist’s eye so we devised something with fewer muffins and chips and more protein and fibre. All good and well but here we are 3 days in (I elected to start on Monday instead of the weekend …) and I’m craving.
No, I’m not craving the tastes – although that double chocolate chip muffin was tempting – but more than anything I’m craving the rituals. It’s now 3:35pm and I’ve had my mid-afternoon snack but I had it at my desk, alone. Bringing your own snack negates the necessity of calling up a colleague and ‘persuading’ them to join you for a vending machine break. It takes away the ritual of choosing a snack from the limited supply and munching on it on your way back to your desk.
My day seems longer and less social. Perhaps that’s a good thing – I’m more productive? But I’m not. I’m now ceaselessly thinking about that vending machine and wanting to get some salt and vinegar chips, not for the taste at all. I’m bored and want a reason to get up from my desk.
This is usually what breaks me when it comes to healthy eating. Boredom. Planning is all good and well but it takes away the ritual and routine. I know that eventually I’ll have created a new routine but until I get there, these cravings are tough.
What kind of rituals do you have when it comes to food?
I bailed on the gym tonight.
I don’t know. I really don’t. I feel like crap today. Just really low and unmotivated and blegh.
Dinner was crap food – two wholewheat tortillas with light cream cheese, followed by a small bowl of light oven fries. Yes, you read right. Fries. I ate them. I enjoyed them. But were they good for me? Not by a long shot.
I really need to pull myself out of this hole before it gets too deep and I need help. I’ve done this before. I’ve fallen and gotten up and I WILL not let this shit get to me.
So I found myself opening a bag of microwave popcorn. Now this breaks the rules in 2 ways:
- Not beneficial for me
- AFTER 8pm snacking = BANNED.
I stopped. I made myself stop and think. I walked away.
I feel proud of myself.
It’s a small step, I know, but it’s something. Something that I took control over and didn’t fuck up.
It’s VERY annoying how I’ve fallen off the wagon just as the weather seems to be on the way to sunshine and revealing clothing. I’m down from my usual 4 gym sessions a week (2x weights and 2x cardio) to 3 (2x weights and 1x half-hearted cardio) and my eating is, well, crap. Awful. Stupid. I KNOW what I should and shouldn’t be eating and doing and even as the voice says “Don’t do it, you don’t need it” my hands are already reaching for it and my mouth is opening up in anticipation.
I’m not eating because I’m hungry or because the food in question is nutritionally sound. Nope. I’m eating because I’m stressed out and bored at the same time. I’m stressed out with deadlines and bored when I’m waiting for stuff to come in. Waiting because I’m relying on other people and that in turn stresses me out even more.
I’ve found myself getting into minor panic attacks at work and I’ve had to do the whole yoga breathing thing to calm down. I’d like to get out of the office and run for a bit but there have been meetings after meetings after meetings which means I’ve been desking it for lunch and not leaving the office at all. Another bad thing because I’m never satisfied with my lunch when I desk it. No matter what I eat, I always crave more afterwards – and more usually ends up being a packet of chips or a chocolate.
I’m putting it out there. I’ve done it before and I will do it again.
- 1 piece of chocolate per week
- No chips for a month
- 3 muffins a week instead of 5 (c’mon – it’s kinda breakfast!)
- A better breakfast in the morning with protein instead of all carbs
- No snacking after 8pm
I can do this and really, it’s not denying myself THAT much because, when it comes down it to, I don’t need this stuff. I want it but my body doesn’t need it. And I need to remember that. It does NOTHING for me and I need to consume food that benefits me. I’ll feel better for it.
Find that course and stay on it!