New Year’s Resolutions are deceptive and usually ineffective. Merely making a statement will not accomplish a goal. You have to plan and put that plan into action. I can remember making New Year’s Resolutions before I was old enough to know better. There is a sense that you have accomplished the resolution when you make it that can actually prevent positive action. Once that statement is made strongly in the affirmative, we feel like we’ve made up our mind and that in itself will get us to our goal. I remember working at a major weight loss company when people would join, buy all kinds of products and come back the next week angry because they had not lost weight. When I asked them what they had been doing, it became painfully clear that they had not been on plan. They would answer that they bought X number of dollars worth of products and they still didn’t lose weight. The answer was obvious. I had to tell them that they had to work the plan.
Sometimes the trouble begins the moment we wake up. As the day’s responsibilities press in on us, we jump out of bed and GO! Watching the clock as we listen to the sounds all around, sometimes bad news on T.V., sometimes family members being needy, we feel an urgency to just get on with the day. This can be a critical time if proper planning has not made breakfast automatic. Know what you will eat for breakfast. Have it either ready the night before or have all of the ingredients readily accessible, laid our with the cookware and dishes that you need. That way you just walk into your kitchen and cook, or if your breakfast is ready, grab it and go. There, one landmine successfully navigated due to planning.
If we have thought of weight management as a task to be accomplished rather than a lifestyle, when the junk food at work begins to show up, we think, “Oh well, just this time won’t hurt anything. I’ll start my “diet” tomorrow and dig in. Seeing eating healthy as a temporary state of deprivation encourages binge eating as an act of defiance. A resolution to lose weight is fine but only if you realize that it will only happen as a result of a change that will encompass the rest of your life. There has to be a turning point for weight loss to be permanent otherwise junk food will always hold a special allure. Go into these dangerous situations armed with the knowledge that those pastries will never get you what you want in life. When you see foods that are not a part of your healthy lifestyle as something that you just don’t eat, they will be just that. Instead of walking into your workplace simply trying to avoid all of the sugar-laden garbage, be pro-active and have your healthy foods with you. I pack a huge backpack with nuts, seeds, whole-milk Greek yogurt, meats, eggs, apples and sweet potatoes. There is always something to eat and I seldom allow myself to get hungry, so when the junk food shows up, I’m already full of the good stuff that builds my body and I’m not tempted. Pack the snacks!
Years ago before I discovered David’s Way, I went to my doctor pretty often. He had an office staff that took very long lunches. He would be in his office and the staff would open the office after lunch and let patients in while the doctor was getting ready to see them. Over time, it got to where the ladies opened the door to let us in later and later. One day I noticed that the office staff was laughing loudly and just acting outright inappropriate for their position. In a moment, I realized that those women were quite inebriated. As it turns out, they were taking longer and longer lunches in restaurants that served wine and they were getting drunk every day at lunch. They also gained a LOT of weight during this time. If you find yourself getting caught in the eating lunch out every day trap, just say “NO!”. Carry your lunch to work and avoid the social outings during lunchtime. You can make a good lunch in minutes with some forethought. I buy canned red beans and when it’s time to go to work, I brown some lean ground beef, add sugar-free catsup and the beef to a half can of red beans and in less time than it takes to go to the drive-thru, I have lunch. Carrying your lunch will save you tons of cash too. Lunch with wine is quite expensive. Those ladies all got fired so they wound up morbidly obese and without an income or decent reference for another job so their lunches were even more costly. I also make a vegetable- beef soup that packs nicely. Many days I carry tuna or salmon salad which gives me mega protein because I add in two eggs along with the tuna. I always carry a protein shake. With just a little planning you can come up with lunches that are nutritious, portable and cheap but…you must PLAN.
Unless we come to think of weight management as our routine, we will almost never be satiated throughout the afternoon because we tend to skip breakfast, saving those calories for “something that we want”. In the afternoon, energy drops and a quick sugar-laden snack can look very appealing. Avoid that trap with your handy stash of healthy foods and stop eating even those healthy foods if you have eaten all of the calories allotted to you that day. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds see me through many days at work. They are filling, nutritious and readily available. I usually add some of my allotment to yogurt and that makes a powerful bowl of highly nutritious food that will keep you going until you can get home. Apples are a natural energizer so add a couple of cheese sticks to the apple or have a protein drink with a cup of coffee to keep your spirits and your energy high. Just make sure that your protein drink has no added sugars.
After a long day, it’s easy to think that you deserve a good meal. You do, but don’t fall into the pasta and wine trap! I have had many conversations with people who ate well throughout the day, only to blow it all at night. Pasta dishes are quick, cheap and easy and delicious. All too often they are paired with wine and then comes dessert. With your senses dulled and your appetite whetted by alcohol, moderation is pushed aside for instant gratification. Night after night of these dinners will take you to a place that you don’t want to go, morbid obesity. Again, plan your meals. Plan for success. Make menus for the week and shop for ingredients that are nutritious and quick and easy to fix. A hamburger steak, baked potato and green vegetable is an easy meal to prepare in a flash. If you like your sirloin or strip steak cooked medium, you can do that on your stovetop in as little as 15 minutes. While your steak is cooking, put the potato in the microwave and get that salad ready. BAM! Dinner. Frozen chicken tenderloins will cook in about 15-20 minutes in a seasoned cast iron skillet with a tight lid. Season them with the flavor palate that you like. Avoid alcohol. It will make you gain weight by adding empty calories and impairing your judgement. If you really want dessert, look at our menu and find a recipe. Here is our recipe for Sugar-Free Red Velvet Cake. As David said yesterday, there’s plenty of good sugar-free desserts nowadays. Try different ones until you find one that you like.
After dinner many people want to eat in front of the television. If you enjoy eating while you watch your favorite sitcom, then save some calories. PLAN your snacks. Celery can be a substitute for chips if you are serious about getting healthy. It’s crunchy and can be made either sweet or savory. Add peanut butter or reconstituted peanut butter powder or serve it with salsa. A piece of fruit, sliced into bites can go a long way and give you a sweet tooth fix. A weighed serving of your favorite nuts and a cup of full-fat Greek yogurt will spike your nutrition and fill you up. By planning your meals and snacks and avoiding empty calories, you can have enough good food to eat from the time you get up until you go to bed and never feel deprived.
My daddy says, “Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan.” It has guided him through some dark times. When you’re struggling with the hard things in life, a plan will keep you sane and just might get you healthy. You have nothing to lose except the fat and everything to gain by trying. Give it a try and see what happens. I’ll bet you like it.