You know that moment in scary movies when the lighting is all dark and the wide-eyed heroine is groping her way down the hall, and you just know the killer/monster/vampire is waiting around the corner? Let’s call that “Friday.” As in, you’ve been spot on with your nutrition and workouts all week, but the weekend is right around the corner and you’re not just gonna fall off the wagon, you’re taking a flying leap onto that road. And you’re gonna feel just as beat up and awful as if you actually had just thrown yourself from a moving vehicle. So WHY, for the love of my Newtons, do you do it?
Here is what you’re all telling me: weekends are busy (kids, sporting events, social events, etc.) and filled with anti-FitFood and a bevy of alcoholic beverages. I can identify! Perhaps minus the alcohol (although there’s a party in the plans this weekend), but I too am bouncing from one event to the next with nary a landing on the homefront. And it isn’t just the weekend…it’s all week long. We’ve got football, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, sign ups for winter sports, back-to-school nights…Just like you! And just like everyone. But I get it. The weekdays have a steady routine. It’s the same timing, the same places. Weekends can mean various social spots, away games, family trips. I totally understand. I do.
It’s not an excuse.
The reason I know it’s not an excuse is because I used to make it one. That was two sizes and about twenty pounds ago. Much have I learned, young FitPeeps. If you are dedicated to your goals (and I know you are or you wouldn’t be reading this), there are always solutions. The magic secret is…planning ahead.
Maybe not the thunderous announcement you were waiting for. I mean, come on. Planning is so NOT a fun time. And I won’t lie and say it gets to be fun eventually. It does, however, become second nature. You’ll be slicin’ and dicin’ and packin’ and you won’t even think twice about it. Just like you don’t plan to brush your teeth. You don’t plan to shower. I fervently want to believe you’re doing both of those things because it’s just what we humans do. Well, planning ahead for the Great Nutrition Traps is just something FitPeeps do. And here’s a groundbreaking discovery we got hit with: the time we used to spend hurriedly driving the (ugh) gas station or (slightly better) grocery store to procure our prepackaged snacks? About the same as whipping up a batch of flour- and sugar-free cookies or putting the grapes into snack bags. And the stuff from home tastes about 1,000 times better, too. Let me tell you what I do.
Typically, Saturdays are easy days. Football practice in the early morning with perhaps a birthday party or family outing in the afternoon. That’s easy to plan around because we have home as our base in between. Then, we have Saturdays like the one looming on the horizon: me driving the babe to spend a SpoilMeRottenWeekend with his auntie (5-hour round trip), football practice, haircuts, and a family outing to Celtic Fest in the afternoon anda grown-up party for me and the Hubs in the darker hours. That leaves a lot of meals wide open, especially when surrounded by funnel cake and the like while at Fest or liquor and hor d’oeuvres while at the party. Here’s the key: I’ve already made my decision before I leave the house in the morning, and I am committed to that decision for the hours I am away. For our drive, I will have Shakeology ready to drink as we leave; veggies chopped and up for easy grabs; whole fruits such as bananas and apples for the snacking. And always WATER. Water can be the biggest and most forgotten key item on weekends. But now you’ve been reminded so no more forgetting, okay?
Dining at restaurants is considerably easy as a Primal eater rather than a vegetarian. My options are typically healthier and more satisfying, thus I am less cranky and far happier (and not nearly as gassy). Those entrees that come with a vegetable and a potato? I nix the potato and double the vegetable. Bypassing the dinner rolls was a giant leap for Queenkind, but I’ve done it and I didn’t die. Amazing the things we can accomplish when we have the decision in place. So you’re not Primal or Paleo? Same rules. Stay away from the white stuff unless it goes by the name cauliflower. Trade your appetizer for a side salad and dip your veggies rather than douse them in dressing. And whenever possible, know the menu before you go. Don’t know it? Here’s a secret: myfitnesspal. Now, you know I don’t count my calories anymore, but…I’ve kept the app on my iPhone and I can still find the best choice on any chain restaurant menu pretty quickly. Type in the name of the restaurant and all sorts of choices pop up, calories and nutrients included.
Now you know how to dine out. What about the events with only a concession stand of boiled hot dogs and stale nacho chips? Certainly not worth your cheat, right? That’s when you pack your own snacks. I arrive at every football game with a cooler packed to the brim with Paleo goodies: sugar- and flour-free cookies, fresh veggies and fruit, WATER, organic deli-meat rollups. Why would I want concession fare when I have much tastier and feel-good options on hand? And there’s the real key, folks. Ya gotta have your GOOD STUFF ready to eat when you’re READY TO CHEAT. Make the healthy food an easier option than the crap.
Still tempted? Would you willfully ingest toxins, poisons, etc? You need to think about exactly what you’re stuffing in your gullet. STOP binging without examining. I mean, really. You bust your ass all week long with workouts and carefully thought-out food choices…and then throw that away on a bag of fries? Would you work a 40-hour week and then slap down your paycheck on a plastic Taiwanese toy from the flea market? Same principle. You have a brain. It works. Use it.
Fridays mean chopping, slicing, bagging, baking, and packaging. I no longer debate with my lazy self because I have an intense dislike for my lazy self. You either want results and a FitLife or you don’t. You can either spend your brainpower thinking up reasons why it’s too difficult to plan ahead with your own stash or utilize your outstanding intelligence to maintain your healthy streak. Really, it isn’t even a choice at this point, is it? It’s just what you’re going to do from this point on.
Just like the workouts will no longer suffer because your schedule is altered. Weekends, actually, are my best times to workout. I have Hubby here to control the zoo and I can relax and enjoy an extra-long run or lifting session with no worries of waking babes, early school buses, or missed naptimes. Take full advantage of your spouse. Chances are, if my grasp of my audience is on point (and I’m betting it is, because I’m incredibly wise), you’re a mom. You’re around my age and you have a vested interest in your health. You are willing to soldier through the workouts and take the time to map out meal plans. I’m going to wager that you also have a spouse or significant other who is fully appreciative of your workout enthusiasm (even if they typically exhibit said enthusiasm with a random grab of your backside regions). Utilize them. And then swap places. Because what good is a FitLife if you can’t share the love?
Now, as an aside, I’m going to list some of my most-used make-ahead snacks. Here’s your sneak peek inside the M&M Clan Cooler.
*cucumber slices tossed in Tod’s Bayou Dirt (cruncy, spicy – better than chips)
*Paleo chocolate chip cookies (from Make It Paleo cookbook)
*organic deli rollups (good, quick source of protein and surprisingly tasty)
*grapes, apples, peaches, bananas (because fruit is nature’s dessert and it’s pretty hassle free)
*baby carrots (no chopping required)
*Paleo breakfast biscuits (for early morning games and long car rides – here’s the recipe: http://www.againstallgrain.com/2012/01/16/diary-free-grain-free-scd-pale-biscuits/)
*Paleo lemon poppyseed muffins aka Paleo Crack (here’s that recipe: http://www.elanaspantry.com/lemon-poppy-seed-muffins/)
*did I mention WATER?
And for your smartphone, go the app store and download myfitnesspal. Thank me later for clueing you in.