Prepping Ahead, Meal Templates, & Commitment

*DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor, trainer, nutritionist, or any type of health professional. I’m just sharing my opinions and thoughts based on my reading, research, and personal experience* This is part of the "Staying Healthy for the Holidays” – you can see previous posts here and here.

20121212-094310.jpg

[Physical therapy exercise prep - committed even though it's painful and tedious]

Prepping ahead can mean different things for different people. Some people like to do a big meal prep on the weekend while others swear they can’t plan dinner to save their lives. I fall somewhere in between "planner” and "spontaneous” with a leaning more heavily towards the "planner” side because that’s what works for me – I usually eat the same (or nearly the same) thing everyday up until dinner. I see the value in planning out every meal for the week and I also see the value in spontaneity. I think the main thing is that whatever your choice is, it has to work for you. If do a big meal prep works for you, do it. If it doesn't, then don't it - prepare in your own way.

20121212-094251.jpg

[Sunday breakfast - pretty similar to Monday's breakfast]

Personally, I find that using "meal templates” hits that sweet spot between planned out to the letter and having no plan. I plan to buy all of the things necessary to eat according to my “templates” and roughly plan meals (i.e. we will have beef one night and fish another). I’ve blogged about meal templates before but my basic meal templates for the day (that work for me) look like this:

Pre-workout: BCAAs

Post-workout: unsweetened almond milk + Progenex (or NeoCell)

Meal 1: Protein (2 eggs), carbs (apple or pumpkin/sweet potato), + fat (almond butter, coconut oil, bacon)

Meal 2: Protein (usually chicken, tuna, beef or dinner leftovers) + spinach + carrots + fat (nuts, olive oil, etc)

Meal 3: Protein (egg whites, deli meat, etc) + veggies + carbs

Meal 4: Protein (chicken, fish, beef, etc) + veggies + fat

Meal 5: if still hungry after dinner I usually have a little almond butter or other fat source

This changes from time to time based on how I feel, but I try to stick to this as often as possible. During this time of year, it is really easy for me to get derailed and start eating junk – I love to bake, there are lots of treats around, and I get busy. The one thing that keeps me on track? Commitment.

20121212-094235.jpg

[I commit to 5 workouts each week, even if that means doing "Cindy" on a Tuesday]

I’m not talking about the type of commitment that involves being at x place at y time or marriage vows, but rather commitment to self. Self commitment can be, and is, very difficult – we often put ourselves low on our priority list. At a time when stress is high and to-do lists are never ending, it’s easy to never get to that workout or to stick to clean eating. Now, as I’ve said before, I don’t think it is good to try and aim for perfection – with workouts, eating, or anything else.

It’s also important not to over-commit. You know what you can and cannot realistically do in a day – if you can cook, clean, work, exercise, and still be pulled together at 5pm then more power to you. Most of us do not possess such superwoman powers and can only invest so much of our time, willpower (which is exhaustible), and resources to others and other things before we begin to burn out. That’s where commitment comes in.

20121212-094302.jpg

[Treat of dark chocolate peppermint ice cream - amazing stuff.]

We have to commit, to ourselves, to take care of ourselves and do so in a way that works and is sustainable for you. For me, that means being consistent in my eats and my workouts. Ask anyone that knows me, I get stabby when I don’t workout and I feel awful when I eat crap. I have no problem indulging in treats (hello York peppermint patty on Monday night) but I know that I can get way off track very quickly and end up with a massive sugar hangover. Committing to working hard in the gym each day, taking rest days to recover, and fueling myself with good food means committing to feeling good - and that means I’m a nicer and more productive person. Pissy, sugar-filled Gabby = someone nooo one wants to be around. So, I commit to taking care of myself so that I don’t totally annoy can be my best self for others. My point: don't forget to take some time for yourself and move yourself on the priority list a bit.