“Do what I say but not what I do” ~Unknown
I have always been a do what I say not what I do type of dietitian. Earlier this year my job asked me to make a nutrition video on how to pack a healthy lunch. When I shared the video on my own social media page, an old friend from college and dietetic internship sent me a direct message noting that she knew I didn’t eat that healthy for lunch. And she was right! I didn’t pack my lunch the way I did for that video, despite knowing that it would be a healthier way to have lunch.
That is, I didn’t pack my lunch that way until recently… After neglecting my health (and weight) for a few years, on my brother’s prompting, I decided that this year would be the year to make a change and start doing the right things. In my 20s when I wanted to lose weight I could increase my activity, cut a few desserts and the weight would just fall off. Now that I am a mom in my mid-30s with a slowing metabolism and crazy busy lifestyle, I actually have to use the tips I have been giving others for years (that I know work!!!)
1. Grocery shop once a week: I love to grocery shop. In fact, I love to grocery shop so much that a few months ago I realized that my husband and I were visiting Publix almost every day. Even though it is where shopping is a pleasure, we were spending too much time, money and effort on grocery shopping! So at the start of January we came up with a new family rule: we could only go to the grocery store 1x/week and we would go together.
2. Make a plan. My name is Catherine and I am an impulse baker and recovering Publix shopaholic. Just like impulse shopping is bad for your wallet, impulse baking or cooking is bad for your waist line. So Sunday mornings when we plan out 1x/week trip to the store, we plan out our dinners for the week as well. (I am obsessed with this Julianne & Co meal planner) This has been LIFE-CHANGING. It is so amazing to come home from work and not have to think about dinner. We already know what we are going to eat! And since we plan it out in advance we plan quick meals like sheet pan meals or leftovers for days we work late or have after school activities and longer meals for when we know we have time like weekends. We also make sure that our meals are more balanced and include a variety of vegetables and fruits.
3. Eat foods you cooked at home. At one point we were going out to eat once a day (either for lunch or dinner). Not only is that bad for our savings account, foods you get from restaurants tend to be higher in calories, fat and sodium than the ones you prepare at home. You also eat more of them! Now that we have our nifty dinner meal plan each week, we are finding that we have more diverse leftovers we can take with us for lunch too!
4. Find a physical activity to do that you enjoy. I hate running. So much. In fact, I hate it so much that I find excuses to tell people about my hatred of running. That being said, I just signed up for my first 1/2 marathon. The Disney Star Wars one…. Are you confused yet? Despite my hatred of the physical act of running, I LOVE the feeling of beating my last time, and of training and of working towards a goal I used to think (and sometimes still do) might be unattainable. I LOVE having something to bond with my brother over even if it’s mostly us both complaining about how much we hate running. Did I mentioned I signed him up for the 1/2 marathon too?
5. Bask in the small victories. Take a breath. Changing habits takes at least 6 weeks of constantly working towards your goals. But small changes can happen all along the way. Since changing my health habits I have lost a grand total of 1 pound. Remember muscle weighs more than fat. BUT my pants fit again. People are asking me if I have lost weight and I have more energy to play with my son. I don’t crave sweets and high fat foods like I used to and I find myself itching to go on my next run and dare I say it almost being disappointed when it is a day off from training. The small victories are totally where it is at!!!
Happy planting and eating!
~ The Gardening Dietitian