Pre-planning is something I’ve done for a very long time. But typically when I pre-plan, I’m planning for the day ahead. For instance, on Monday I would plan for Tuesday, Tuesday I would plan for Wednesday, etc. It helps because it takes the guessing out of the day (while also helping me to decline temptation) … but I find in my case it only helps if my world has a natural routine to it.
Lately my routines have been thrown into a tailspin. My day starts off normal, but by the afternoon my entire day is shook up and I’m running around until 8:30/9pm at night. That alone makes things difficult and for a few weeks was totally throwing me off my “game.” My preplanned meals slowly became a distant memory and grabbing food on the go was what I found myself doing. It took about two weeks, but I realized that I had lost the focus on myself. I was putting my successes on hold while I dealt with others lives. Which at the end of the day isn’t and wasn’t fair because I need to be my number one priority.
Over the course of four years I’ve learned when my world is shaken up that I need to build as much structure as I can because it makes things easier on me. It brings on focus, awareness and it eliminates any possibility for guessing and diminishes the attractiveness of temptation. It really helps in steering me away from pulling through a fast food restaurants drive-thru or picking up a pizza. Seeing a meal plan on paper allows me to look at my calendar and see where days are anticipated to be busier. In that event, I can prepare a meal for the following day to have a “grab and go” available in the refrigerator.
A weekly planned menu also allows me to look back at my week to note if I felt hungry, satisfied, or even bored with a particular meal. It makes me aware of what I’m eating, or even what I really enjoy (such as my banana oatmeal which I could eat 3-times a day and not get sick of – at least for now). I can also look at a week and see where perhaps I could switch things up and even add more “power foods” into the routine. Granted with my Weight Watchers tracker I can look back at my week, but I use the online tracker which isn’t quite as “in your face” as a paper tracker.
One of the other positive sides of pre-planning a weekly menu is you can use up items in your cabinet, freezer and refrigerator.