~ By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. ~Benjamin Franklin
I imagine this quote by Benjamin Franklin is where Weight Watchers got the inspiration for their "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" quote that I loved so much when I was a member.
Quotes like this, really do inspire me and they speak volumes to the dedication and time and energy one must put into their weight loss efforts if they are to succeed.
I have always considered myself a horrific planner and my failure to plan has repeatedly gotten me into trouble. When I was a regular working woman (which seems like eons ago), I was always so exhausted after work that I never planned for the next day. This meant I usually woke in a panic, showered, threw on my face paint and then prayed to god I had some clean laundry to wear the next day. I'd have to try on about half a dozen outfits to find something that fit and looked relatively acceptable. Those outfits that didn't make the cut were strewn about my room to collect dust for the next week or so (or whenever I actually got around to doing my laundry and/or cleaning up my room). It seemed I used to always be looking frantically for something having just minutes to spare before I needed to leave for work - my keys, my cell phone, my wallet, my bus tickets, my iPod, my favorite lipstick - and the list goes on. If I had just taken 10 -15 minutes at night when I got home from work to prepare for the next day, I know I could have saved myself a shit ton of anguish and aggravation.
Lunches were another thing I never prepared for, and it wreaked havoc on my waistline because I worked in NY and there was always a plethora of bad food choices all around me, from pizza to paninnis, Chinese to Italian - and every other ethnic eatery delight in between. The city was one big fattening smorgasbord - and I took advantage of it all. There were a few people in my office that packed their lunch regularly, and we had a kitchen with a microwave and fridge so I could have easily done the same. But again, that planning thing always got in the way (plus our kitchen was a bit of a roach motel which was real turn-off). In the end, it was easier not to think about what I was going to eat at lunch, and just let the chips fall where they may each day at about 1:00. And trust me when I say, the chips did fall....right into my wide open welcoming mouth. Preferably Miss Vicki's salt and vinegar kettle-cooked chips, to be exact.
Since I am currently not working, I have plenty of time now to plan for my meals. And so far, I am proud to say that since I have recommitted myself to my weight loss efforts, I have been doing quite well in the planning department. I have scoured the internet and my cookbooks for low-fat, low-calorie, yet tasty looking recipes. I have made sure that I have healthy foods within arms reach, and have tried not to let any "Uh-oh, now what?" moments interrupt what I consider to be the zen-like flow I feel like I have going on at the moment. So far, I feel this odd calm over me, and I haven't had any horrific cravings or desires to throw in the towel. I have been relatively prepared with my meals, and sticking to good portion control. However, I realize each day is a test for me - can I keep up the planning routine? Can I honestly and truly make this a natural part of my everyday existence? This way of life depends on it.
Yesterday I hit a small snafu. I thought I had prepared well. I found a black bean veggie burger recipe that I was excited to try. We usually have about 3 cans of black beans on hand at any given moment, but as I went to make my meal, I discovered there were no black beans to be had anywhere in our house (I forgot we had been addicted to those black bean wheat wraps last week and I never replenished the supply). I have a weird quirk that requires me to have ALL ingredients present and accounted for if I am going to try a new recipe. In other words, I wasn't in the mood to tweak or substitute, so I ditched my original black bean burger recipe that looked so yummy and decided to find a new recipe that used chickpeas instead (for whatever reason, I have like 6 cans of these). I found one that included ingredients I had (except chili powder which I also could not believe I was out of - what the hell?) so preceded to make that. I was excited. It looked healthy. I was going to pair it with a baked sweet potato. A stellar meal, indeed.
The recipe sucked. Sucked HARD, as in my husband took one bite, tried valiantly to smile and tell me it tasted great, then promptly spit it out when I confirmed his real thoughts aloud upon taking my own first bite: That it tasted downright nasty. I felt awful because I had really tried to make something low fat and healthy, but it just wasn't a good recipe. While my poor husband returned to the kitchen to make a salad, I decided to try to continue to eat my sawdust burger, with a little help from a slathering of hummus and a sprinkle of goat cheese to help give it some pizazz.
I'm happy that I didn't let that tragic meal send me straight to the corner deli for an italian hoagie to replace it with....it would have been easy to do. But it was a lesson learned that this new way of cooking is going to be a process - finding healthy things that are also good tasting. Also planning meals and making sure I have EVERYTHING on hand for the recipes I want to make will be key.
Lunches have been challenging since I usually want a nice big sandwich and chips, but am learning that soup and carrots with hummus actually quells my hunger too. It is amazing what the last week has taught me about what can satisfy me. They are not the things I have traditionally grabbed for lunch in the past, but I am making changes!
Tonight we are having grilled salmon, roasted acorn squash and cous cous for dinner and I have everything I need to make it. This is a good thing since I can't run to the grocery store because we have contractors here installing a fireplace and I can't leave them alone with the dogs. I feel good knowing I have planned for this meal in every way, shape and form - there will be no spitting out of the food tonight.......at least I hope not.