Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

Unfortunately, I did not make it to Torrey Pines to hike yesterday. It was overcast and rainy in San Diego and I am a weather wimp. This is why my husband and I have a gym membership. While I prefer doing active stuff outdoors, there are those days when there is not enough time to do a long walk or a hike or where the weather does not permit it. Yesterday was one of those days.

I had a long day yesterday, we had a lot of errands to run and I do a legal clinic on Monday nights that I knew was going to take up a substantial part of my late afternoon / evening, so my husband and I went to the gym to do our cardio work out first thing in the morning. Planning is one area in which I have had to develop my skills. I used to be terrible at it - but I've learned that it really pays off. I have one plan and then I have an alternate for days like yesterday so that I make sure that I get my exercise in and so that I make sure to eat enough.

Planning to eat enough isn't generally something that comes to mind when one is contemplating losing weight, at least it wasn't for me. I was more concerned about how to avoid eating too much. However, I've found that if I don't plan and eat enough, I will get hungry and eat whatever I can find, usually something greasy, cheesy, or sugary, calorie packed and unhealthy. It is better to have enough fruit or low-calorie snacks on hand to curb the hunger before it becomes an emergency. As an aside, I try to opt for fruit and veggies rather than other "low calorie snacks" because (a) fruit and veggies are more nutritious and (b) "low calorie snacks" carry with them the temptation to pig out because they are "low calorie,"  the calories still add up if I eat a lot of them, which is far too easy to do. They do, however, have their useful place. (read on...)

Planning is one thing that has taken some practice, but now that I have it down, it's pretty easy.  Generally, the weekdays are easy because they are all the same. For example: Mondays are my long days, and I know that I won't have time for the gym or for a good walk or hike after work, so I have a water aerobics class that I take in the morning before work, then I make sure that I get my 1/2 hour walk in at lunch. This is not a ton of exercise, but it does the trick - I burn maybe just over 400 calories with these two activities. I also know on Mondays that I will need some extra snacks, given my long day, so I take a bunch of extra fruit and veggies (like apples, grapes, oranges, carrot sticks / baby carrots, celery...) with me and I try to go home for about an hour between work and my clinic to eat an early dinner so that I am not eating after 7 at night.

Finally, there is always the possibility that all my planning will be for naught because something will come up that will throw everything into disarray. For this reason, I try to have little non-perishable low calorie snacks in my car and at work, just in case I am running late or have forgotten my fruit, or am having one of those days when I cannot seem to get full. I also have a few rules of thumb that I use when I find myself in a situation where I'm going out to eat or I'm at a conference where lunch is served. I'll write about those later.

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