Yes, I realize I didn't finish it. My Dad uses that expression a lot. It drives me nuts. Why? Because I know. I don't need to be reminded that I should have planned. Had I planned, things would've had a better outcome. The funny thing is that sometimes no matter how much planning you do, things still don't work out like you think they should. I suppose there's a reason for everything though, so even failure to plan can result in what's best. You may not think it's best. You may not see that it was best until sometime in the future. In the end though, the way things happen are generally how they supposed to.
Unless it's a case that's not so life altering and is much simpler.
This brings me to how important it is to plan when you're trying to be healthy. Whether trying to lose weight or just live a certain lifestyle, planning is important.
I've not been the best at this. I generally have an idea of what types of things I want to buy, and do make a list at the grocery store, so that part I'm good at. To sit down and plan menus? Not so much. Some people make a plan for every day of the week. While I am anal and some things are best when I schedule them, what I eat is not. I typically have an idea for what I want to make that week (generally only two meals since I like to use my leftovers rather than throw them out because they sit too long without being touched). I buy the things I know I'll need for those meals. It seems to work for me.
I will admit that when I don't plan by having meal ideas in mind, it can lead me down a bad road. I've been known to eat some odd dinners due to lack of planning and not knowing what I want. Multi-grain crackers and light ranch? Yup. With a side of chocolate chips? Sure. While it's not the healthiest, I'll admit that I do stay in my recommended nutritional ranges, even when I eat random dinners.
The bottom line is that it's best to cook, even when you don't want to. It's even better to plan what you'll cook ahead of time.
Also related to food planning is daily planning. This is SO much easier for me than trying to decided ahead of time when I'll eat what for dinner. In the morning, I can plan out, and track, what I intend to eat for the day. Tracking helps me stay on track with my eating, and makes planning a whole lot easier. It just takes a few minutes every morning. I plug in my plan for the day, and it's all done.
Naturally things happen and I sometimes deviate from the plan. Generally that's an easy fix. I keep in mind the calories I had originally planned for a meal. I make sure that what I eat is about the same. Then I just change what I eat in my tracker. Easy.
I have found that planning can be a bit of an excitement at times. Like today, for example, I realized that I can have a small treat later. A treat! Yay!
After tracking my daily foods, I'm at 1203 calories. My range is 1200-1550. The thought is that on the days I eat more, those are the days I do a workout. I'm not the best at following that and generally keep it around 1200-1350 calories, even on days that I workout. 1500 just seems too high. It scares me. Although, every now and then, I do eat higher calories. It's good to trick your body. As a rule though, I stick to my 1200.
Say what you want...Feel free to lecture that I'm not eating enough. I'm alive and not starving so, clearly, I'm eating enough.
If I were under 1200 calories a day, I'd welcome a lecture. I'd even welcome an ass kicking about how I need to eat more...Especially when combined with working out. That is amount too small for an adult woman.Under 1200 calories a day is dangerous territory. In the end, it generally does more damage than good. I'm done abusing my body, so trust me, I'm sticking to at least my 1200.
Anyway...I'm at 1203 for the day. I can have a snack that's as much as 100 cal if I want, or even 150! That is a nice thing to look forward too. Planning helps to show me that sometimes I can have a little treat without causing (too much) damage.
Planning keeps me on track. It helps me to stay focused and motivated. It helps me control my eating, which is a huge part of staying healthy.
Just like planning keeps my eating on track, it keeps my workouts on track. It's much easier to stay consistent with a plan in mind. Whether it's a plan of what I'll do for a workout, how long, or when...A plan is a plan. Generally my plans include all of those.
I like to look at planning as goal setting.
It's easy to write down "I'll work out for __ minutes __ times this week." It's better to include which days those times will occur, but let's face it, life happens and that is sometimes difficult.
It's also a great thing when you exceed your goal. Let's say that you have it planned out that you're going to run for 30 minutes three time a week. Today is one of those days. When the 30 minute mark comes around, you don't want to stop. So you don't. That's the beauty of these goals -- you don't have to stop there. Generally a goal is set so that you have to achieve a minimum number of minutes. If you reach those minutes and want to keep moving....KEEP MOVING!!!
Goals are important. Rewards are just as important - they can help you stay motivated!
Reward yourself as you meet them. Small weekly goals like the example above count too! Small rewards (a new nail polish or some other small thing) are a great way to keep yourself motivated. As you reach your larger goals, like pounds lost or certain, give yourself larger rewards. Your smaller goals might include something to help you give yourself that larger reward. Maybe put a dollar in a jar for each small goal...Then when it's time for a big reward, you'll have saved a little extra cash to spend on YOURSELF. I know a lot of you have families and you put them before yourself. You need to do something for you once in a while too.
Planning has been an essential part of my journey. Recently it's been planning if I go out to eat or something. I research and plan ahead. I plan my workouts so that I can achieve my goals, and so that I can add some variety to my routine. I still plan meal ideas and shop accordingly. I don't need to plan as much now as I did at first because what I would plan has become a part of my daily routine.
Find an on-line program. Start a journal. Keep a spread sheet. Write in a notebook, or on post-its if need be. Whatever you do, and however you organize it, your POA (plan of action) is something that will carry you through your journey and will continue to help you live a healthy lifestyle.