You may have noticed Ask Roni podcasts have been few and far between. I just can’t seem to carve out an hour to record and edit. My plan is to ease back into them. I fear making any promises at this time, having a 6 month old at home is just too much of a variable!
That being said, I will answer at least one question a week until I get my video groove back. This weeks question is from Jane...
Hi Roni~ I am a long-time lurker on your blog :-). I am a 40 year old working mom of 3 (so very busy) and I am trying HARD to establish the habit of planning meals (all of mine and those of the family) so I can follow through with eating less on a regular basis. I do plan ahead with the best of intentions, but I get too hungry if I don’t bring enough food to work and then my best intentions go out the window. Also, when the family goes out to eat, I have a hard time sticking to my plan. I am only 5 foot 3 so I do not get to eat that much. :-( I have had food issues since I have been an adult and I think about it all the time (I hate that!). I even go so far in my own mind as to repeat a mantra to myself that my self worth is not based on my body fat percentage. I would love to get to the place where I can "equalize" and just plan and go with it and not feel like a failure. As I have followed you through the years, it seems as if you have the planning down. Is this because you only plan what you like to eat? Or because you know your plan will change and you build in flexibility? Any thoughts you have are appreciated~
I totally understand where you are coming from. The concept of "equalizing" or what I call "finding my balance" has always been my goal. You asked if it’s planning or flexibility that help me, well, it’s a little bit of both.
When I first started I planned each day in the morning, pulling out what I was going to cook for dinner, making my lunch for work, and then eating breakfast. At that time it’s what worked for me. As the times changed, I had to change. Now I plan the family’s meals on Sunday which helps me shop and ward off The Husband’s requests to eat out (which seem to be daily!)
Regardless how I do it, you must find a way that works for you and your family. Trying to force something normally backfires. Ask yourself questions like… When do you shop for the week? What kind of meals does your family like? What will be the fastest to pull together after a busy day at work? What can you keep in stock that will help you when plans fall through?
Because they will, fall through that is, and that’s where being flexible comes in.
In addition to planning, I have a set of "rules" that allow me to be successful when things don’t go exactly the way I wanted them to. For example, I have go-to menu items at every. single. fast food place. I also have a family rule that only ONE of us can get fries which we all split. If we go out to a "sit down restaurant," I stick to grilled dishes, skip the carb and ask for extra veggies. These aren’t set in stone rules, just techniques I use allowing me to be flexible without feeling like I have to go "off plan." (side note: click here for my eating out strategies)
This probably isn’t what you want to hear, but you have to figure out what’s going to work for you. I don’t have the magic answer or the perfect solution. I’m constantly figuring things out as I go because things are always changing, especially when you have kids.
There is one thing you said in your email that I’m curious about. When you mentioned planning meals you said, "all of mine and those of the family" It sounds like you are planning separate meals for them and you. I hope that’s not true. I think it’s important to strike a balance between you and your family’s needs. I know it’s hard. BELIEVE ME I married a man who has no interested in a healthy diet WHATSOEVER! ugh.
Anyway, I wish I had a more specific answer for you. I’m hoping others will chime in and offer their advice in the comments.