Act III: Organize Your Daily Routine to Promote Healthy Eating
So if you actually started this 4-part blog post at the beginning, you’ll recall I suggested that eating healthy is all about consistency. And I fully admitted that consistency can be boring. I’m sorry to be the bearer of this ugly truth, but you already know it and just need to admit it to yourself if you haven’t already. Please take a moment and acknowledge that eating healthy requires you to accept boring ol’ consistency in your life. Swallow it down like the jagged little pill that it is (shout out to Alanis)! Did you swallow it yet? Okay, do it now. Get that puppy down...3, 2, 1, GO!
Now that you’ve accepted that consistency is the key to healthy eating and exercise, I would strongly advise taking on a new fun hobby. Choose one that replaces the excitement that debating between the Mexi-Melt and the Burrito Supreme at the Taco Bell drive-through used to provide. Archery perhaps? Or hang gliding for the more daring? Either way, make sure and find a fun substitute for your former drive-through window shenanigans, because food is about to become more… routine.
To accomplish long-term healthy eating routines, you need to develop a new eating (and exercise) routine that you don’t have to think about. Best to keep new thoughts from creeping into this process, because they’re not going to help you any. Your thoughts want you to go to Taco Bell, but your new eating routine will have you on auto pilot to avoid that temptation. Once you’ve developed this new healthy eating routine, do it again and again until it falls into place.
What routine you ask? Well customizing it to healthy foods that you’ll actually eat is very much up to you. I know I just got finished telling you not to think. But you’ll have to do it just one time. Now.
So let’s start with your daily food routine. For me, my goal is to eat all my meals homemade because I can control how much I eat and what I eat that way. Going out to eat is rarely a consistent situation. So I want you to think about your day. I want you to decide when and what you are going to eat for a full day. Now write it down. It should look something like this: 8:00 AM: Breakfast - Coffee, oatmeal with ½ apple, ½ banana, blueberries, flax, 1 tsp peanut butter and ½ cup oat milk
10:00 AM: Mid-morning snack - 2 T hummus, 1 cup spinach, ¼ cup mushrooms, ½ cup cauliflower
11:30 AM: Workout for one hour
1:00 PM: Lunch - Pre-made meal prep from Sunday
3:00 PM: Afternoon snack - Handful nuts, ½ apple and ½ banana from breakfast
5:30 PM: Dinner - Meal prepped from Sunday
It shouldn’t take you long to plan out meals and snacks for one day like the example above so go ahead and do that.
Did you do it? Promise? No? DO IT!! Okay, I’m waiting. Please, do it now.
We’ll assume you did it. Good job! Now that you’ve established your daily eating routine, I recommend just keeping the healthy breakfast and healthy snacks the same every day for a while. And when you are about to eat and your mind starts THINKING, ask it to STOP THINKING. You got this! Simply eat what you’ve already planned to eat. You’ll see in the next blog post the prepping is part of organizing for healthy eating, so just assume your snacks and meals are already prepped for the week. The key thing to emphasize here is that you need to stop caring so much about what you eat and just eat what you prepped for yourself. Every meal does not need to be a culinary adventure. Do less thinking and more healthy eating. Now do this for the rest of your life. I’m not asking too much am I? Trust me, you will develop an appreciation for this new lifestyle once your health improves and you start feeling better.
Perhaps you have a friend acting as an accountability partner or a Pinterest board where you’ve learned of some new healthy recipes you’ve been itching to try. Once a week when you plan your meals and snacks for the upcoming week is your opportunity to introduce some new options. Then and only then do you get to think about food. Oh okay fine, you can have a “cheat day” once a week on a day of your choosing to have a little fund with food, but don’t go nuts! Actually, you can eat nuts. But just go mildly crazy - eat white rice instead of brown. Fine fine FINE! Go to Taco Bell on your cheat day if you think it’ll improve your chances of sticking with the routine the other six days of the week.
So, to summarize, you are going to plan your meals once a week, on the same day every week, buy the ingredients, pre-make the snacks and meals for that week on that day, AND you are going to follow through by eating your pre-planned food at or near the time you have chosen. If you get off track and one week you don’t get a chance to pre-make your meals, you are going to get back on track the next week. Don’t throw out the baby with the dishwater or whatever that crazy phrase is. The goal is consistency, but life isn’t always consistent. If you get off track, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on track as soon as you can!
By this point, you’ve accepted that eating healthy will require less thinking and more planning and consistency, you’ve organized your pantry and refrigerator for healthy eating and you have a daily plan for healthy eating. Think about how much time this will free up for other activities you enjoy! Stay tuned for Act 4, “Organizing Your Weekly Routine for Healthy Eating.” We’ll bring this series to a close by looking at how to organize your weekly routine for healthy eating.