One of my goals since the first of the year has been to plan meals for the week over the weekend and shop accordingly. I have this extra large sticky memo pad with a weekly calendar on it that I write my planned meals on and stick it on the fridge. Hi tech.
Last weekend I didn't plan out my meals. It's not the first time I haven't done this when I said I would. But it is the first time this year with my rekindled enthusiasm and focus and time back in the gym working with Trainer Ray and Hubby.
At the beginning of the week I felt the usual self pity and self hatred and annoyance for not planning. I managed to eat my typical lunches and did OK on dinners. . but I threw in a few random and a tad over-the-top snacks (like I'd make a smoothie--an ok snack--but I'd toss in just a bit of coconut and just a few peanuts and a healthy, unmeasured pour of chocolate malt--to turn it into a not OK snack.)
Then yesterday--Wednesday--it finally hit me. Moving through the week without a meal plan is like me trying to find my way around without my GPS. You may not know this about me, but I am hopeless when it comes to having a natural sense of direction. I just get more and more lost and more and more panicked. I recently got lost--with my GPS on. I knew it was taking me the wrong way because I was heading away from town. But I also knew that eventually it would correct itself and turn me around. I called into work saying I was running late from my appointment. And I said to a colleague, "Do you know the difference between me getting lost with a GPS versus me getting lost without a GPS?"
"What?" she said.
And I said, "With a GPS, I'm not crying."
And so it goes with a meal plan, my map for the week. I feel uncomfortable many times with my size and my eating desires and habits. I feel this discomfort sometimes even when I am trying very hard to eat the healthy way. But a meal plan puts me on track. It's the difference between whirling around corners anchored to the rails of a roller coaster and whirling around the corner in an out-of-control car. In both cases, you might have the same physical reaction--a quick sense of heat, the rise of hair on your arms and neck, an involuntary squeal--but in one instance you feel out of control and in danger, unsure of what will happen next--and fast. And in the other case, you are safely tethered; you know you will follow the rails around the next corner and up and down the upcoming hills, feeling your stomach lurch and the angst rise--and just when you feel afraid, you remind yourself that you're on a track, so you can just relax through the sensations and thrill and experience the ride.
And that is how my meal plan works for me. When I feel out of control or angst ridden, unsure of myself, I can look to my meal plan--the steady path that will lead me to a calm end of the week. So I can exit it delighted, sure footed, and anxious to race to the beginning all over again.
Creating my meal plan isn't a chore, it's a gift, functioning like a safety net, a set of dance steps on the ground, a sheet of music, allowing me to progress gracefully without too many misteps or dischords until I am skilled enough to solo, and finally to improvise.
Use this moment to get focused. Take the steps you need to take to reclaim your body, your health, your life. It's the most important thing you'll do today because it's the foundation for everything else you want to do, everything else you want to be.
Do it today, because tomorrow will be here in less than a blink, and you don't want to be that person who looks back and wonders what they could have had, what they should have done, what they would have been.
Now is the time.
Choose long term happiness.
What I Say to Myself Each Day
You can do this. You have the power to control your response to the world.
Each day is a new opportunity to respond calmly, seek beauty, and appreciate the warmth in yourself and others.
Embrace your dreams. You have accomplished so much and have the potential to do all you desire.