It has been quite a while since I consistently planned out my meals for the week, grocery shopped based on that list, and prepared meals for the week in advance. I reached a point, after having my daughter, where I was just exhausted from planning out everything. I craved freedom and found relief in being able to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It was nice not needing to plan ahead and to just live in the moment.
My greatest takeaway from not preparing ahead (and not dieting) was that I felt far less deprived, thus decreasing binge eating episodes, when I allow myself to satisfy my cravings instead of ignoring them. I’ve learned that I have to allow myself to eat any and all foods and to find empowerment through my ability to choose what I am eating out of the plethora of options available to me. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel so much better choosing a salad, when I know I could have had whatever I wanted, versus eating a salad because it’s all I’m “allowed” to eat.
This new freedom has been empowering. As I work to lose weight, I am recognizing the power of planning and eating whatever I would like. Planning out my days allows me to fit in the foods I am craving within my balanced lifestyle. Maybe it’s just me, but when I don’t plan ahead, it’s so easy for me to eat more than I actually need or even less than I need. I also find that I have more “treats” than I realize when I don’t plan ahead.
This week I made the intentional decision to plan out my meals for the entire week, snacks included, and to prepare as many meals as I could ahead of time. Although I still have 3 days remaining this week, I can happily share than I have been 100% on track this week! My meal plan has satisfied all of my cravings and I know I am fueling my body properly.
Truthful, it has been a pretty stressful week on the work front, so to have gone 4 days without emotional eating is HUGE for me. I feel so empowered and am really happy with the foods I have chosen to eat this week.
Breakfast – 2 slices of P28 bread, 1 tbsp light cream cheese, 2 eggs
Snack – Carrots and 1/4 cup of cottage cheese
Lunch – Brown rice, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and a chicken sausage link
Snack – Mighty Muffin and 1 tbsp peanut butter
Dinner – Leftover Beef Enchilada Quinoa Bake
Dessert – Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich
I have struggled to eat my morning snack all but one day. On most days, I’m either not hungry until lunch time or I don’t even think about eating until lunch time because I’m in meetings. Otherwise, I’ve eaten exactly what I had planned to eat. The great thing is, when given an opportunity to eat something not in my plan, I have felt zero guilt. Yesterday at a work meeting, I was offered a cupcake and I happily accepted it. I then removed my Skinny Cow dessert at the end of the day. Easy peasy!
I really feel like planning ahead, creating filling and wholesome meals, and giving into my cravings has helped me to stay on track this week. Honestly, that afternoon Mighty Muffin with peanut butter has also been a game changer for me. In the past, I enjoyed Mighty Muffins on occasion or a whole lot of peanut butter, but this week, that sweet and savory late afternoon, protein packed snack has alleviated my sugar cravings and late afternoon binge eating sessions. The muffin is incredibly filling and the chocolate/peanut butter combo is the perfect craving buster for me.
As I look to next week, my goal is to create a plan that is just as filling as this week. I do want to change up my meals a little, but I also want to make sure I’m still eating enough and satisfying my cravings. I also loved making casseroles over the weekend for the week ahead and plan to continue that. They’ve made dinners this week so much easier and as a working mom, I need easy!
I’m only 4 days in, but I’m really enjoying my meal plan. I now truly see the power in planning ahead, especially when you allow yourself to fit any and all foods into that plan for balance.