Thursday, February 7, 2013

Plan Ahead

They say that if you want to be successful with your diet/lifestyle/way of eating that you need to be proactive. Plan ahead. If you think about it, when is the time that you feel the cravings the most? When are you most likely to give in? It happens when you haven't planned out your next meal, right? Whether that means you've gone an hour or two past dinner time or whether you head to the kitchen to try to make a meal out of something you will try to throw together. When you're hungry, or when your food options are limited, we're much more likely to make poor choices.

I've never been all that great with planning ahead. My usual style was to wake up, wait until my stomach reminds me that I need to eat, and head to the kitchen to see what sounded good. That means that my blood sugar level is pretty low and I'm much more likely to grab a piece of bread with some peanut butter and honey on it. And then another. And another. And another. And then to wash it down, maybe some chocolate milk? Then, when I was really bad, I'd wait until I got so hungry that the thought of waiting to cook would be so horrible I would run through the drive through of the nearest fast-food restaurant.

That's how I used to do it. Now I don't eat bread, I definitely don't eat fast food, and I know that you should eat soon after waking, not only to kick start your metabolism, but to also fuel you for your day. It's been proven that people of all ages perform better at school and work when properly fueled in the morning, typically within 30 - 60 minutes of rising. This breakfast does not mean a glass of orange juice and toast. Listening to a podcast from Nutritional Weight and Wellness, called Dishing Up Nutrition, I have learned that a glass of orange juice is actually worse for you than a can of pop. Considering that a can of pop offers absolutely nothing of value, how does that make sense? If you think about how many oranges you eat when you want a snack, I'll bet most of you will stop at one, right? Now think about how much juice is in one orange. You would need several oranges to fill a normal sized glass of orange juice. Oranges are natural foods, but they're also very high in sugar. And your body does not need that much.

Toast is very similar; although not considered a sweet food, it is a refined carbohydrate. Next time you pick up a bag of processed carbs, look at the nutritional label. Find how many grams of carbohydrates there are and divide by 4. So if your serving of bread (toast) contains 24 grams of carbohydrates and you divide 24 by 4, you end up with 6. That is how many teaspoons of sugar those 24 grams of carbohydrates converts to. So you start your day loaded up on sugar, which takes your blood sugar high. And what happens to all things that go up? They must come down. And this is usually in the form of a blood sugar crash. And that is when you end up starving an hour later, searching the halls for a vending machine to grab a Snickers or a Twix, which only repeats the cycle.

So the lesson for today is not only to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast including 1 healthy protein, 1 healthy fat, and 1 healthy unprocessed carbohydrate soon after rising, but also to plan ahead. Think about when you are able to eat and what you will have available. The best leaders always form a plan before going into action. You shouldn't be any less considerate to your body. If you know for a fact you're going to have salmon and asparagus for lunch at 12:05, then you'll be much less likely to either munch on chips at your desk at 11:15 or to wait until 1:30 before realizing your stomach is growling and go off in search of that candy bar.

One of my good friends is a meal planning goddess!! (Link to her blog here) She knows what she's doing. I've picked up some tips from her over the last year or so and hope to come up with a good Paleo-style meal plan for 30 days, including a grocery list, to help me get on track... and I'm sure my husband would appreciate a few new recipes to add variety to his meals too. I'll work on that and post it when I'm finished so you can see what it looks like and maybe come up with a meal plan for yourself!

That's all for now. Until next time!

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