Eating Simple and Healthy: How I turned meal planning from tears to cheers.

Eating Simple and Healthy: How I turned meal planning from tears to cheers.

Does the thought of making 21 healthy meals a week plus snacks make you want to hide under the covers and cry? Creating a grocery list each week produced feelings of dread and anxiety and yes, sometimes, tears. Many times the ingredients I purchased for my healthy meals turned into a unidentifiable lump of mold hidden in the back of the refrigerator because life got busy and McDonald’s trumped that fabulous Pinterest recipe I was going to try. Some days I would forget to thaw something out and then, well, Honey Nut Cheerios was the only thing left. I also tried the meal kits that are delivered to your door and that didn’t work for me either. It was a lot of work, nothing my family would eat, and there was a lot of trash from the packing materials.

The chaos was killing me and the fast food probably was too!

I wasn’t looking to cook gourmet meals or start drinking kale smoothies, but I wanted to make a change and start forming good habits that would be lasting and manageable and not overwhelming, something that would not only benefit me but my family as well.

I started searching for a way to make this task easier, and unlike my solution for getting through laundry and dishes, a simple playlist wouldn’t help me cook healthy meals, I needed a professional.

I sought the expertise of Catherine Kruppa, a registered, licensed dietitian, and wellness coach in Houston, Texas. I signed up for the 4 session Lifestyle Change Program. This included reviewing what I was currently eating and developing a personalized nutrition plan. Catherine tracked my eating habits using the My Fitness Pal app and together we tweaked my plan. 

Hiring a professional was worth every cent! Catherine took the time to listen to what I wanted, gave me healthy alternatives to the bad stuff I was eating and we worked together to come up with a plan that was personalized for me and my goals and I can tell you, it has totally changed my mindset about food. I never thought I could eat oatmeal that wasn’t swimming in butter and sugar, pass up cookies in the lounge, or stop craving soda. I didn’t think I would ever stop wasting so much food or actually enjoy cooking a meal the way I have in the last couple of weeks. When I am at work, I’ve been either taking a lunch or taking advantage of the fresh fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria and I also started eating with people instead of my computer. I can say, overall, I am feeling happier and healthier. I still have progress to make but it’s a good start.

During my healthy eating journey, I stumbled across The Lazy Genius Collective  and its guide simply called The Meal PlanY’all, when I put The Meal Plan together with my nutrition plan……I heard angels singing!  

This plan is, well….genius! After cleaning out your kitchen and generating your Battle Cry, you establish a list of “brainless crowd pleasers,” a “meal matrix” and more ideas to create limits and make fewer decisions about meals. It might sound complicated, but its really not and the end result is cheers and not tears!

You can learn more about The Meal Plan and how to become a “rockstar meal planner” by checking out the Lazy Genius Collective on Facebook or on Instagram.  You can listen to the podcast here and even sign up for the free mini-course called How to Cook Without Hating It.

Here are 11 things that have happened since I started using a professionally developed nutrition plan and The Meal Plan from The Lazy Genius Collective:

  1. Increased awareness of the quality or lack of quality of foods I eat.
  2. Food is becoming a source of energy and pleasure, not a coping mechanism for stress or boredom.
  3. Decreased waste in the kitchen. I now have a plan for all my food. No impulse purchases and no more frightening finds in the back of the fridge.
  4. I feel more confident about what I feed my family. If I can conquer meal planning, I can take on the world!!
  5. I am trying new menu items and finding them to be delicious.
  6. My cravings for soda and other sweets have not disappeared but have decreased significantly.
  7. I get full faster and therefore, eat less.
  8. My clothes are fitting better.
  9. I have more energy and generally feel better.
  10. I drink more water.
  11. I spend less time I the grocery store.

With these tools I have been able to say no to mindless eating and yes to simple intentionally planned meals that are both nutritious and delicious. No more tears for me!

Until next time……Be Well!

Lori

 

Goals: A Blueprint for Change

After reading a post at Lein’s Frugal Life in which she listed out her goals, I decided it would be good to actually put some goals in writing. Seeing what I am working towards on paper will probably help me to be more accountable. So here it goes.

Instead of lofty goals, I have written smaller goals I feel like I can achieve and get some momentum going for the more lofty ones. I don’t want to be overwhelmed  and quit so I’m only starting with a few.

1) Reeling in my temper.

In a previous postI wrote about my adult temper tantrums! I often feel that my anger is justified and often, without thinking, spew and rant and then later, feel really guilty for being a jerk. There is a story floating around the internet about a boy with a bad temper and his father’s solution. The father has the boy hammer a nail in the fence every time he loses his temper and then pull one out when he is able to hold his temper. Eventually he is able to control his temper and pull out all of the nails. However, he is made aware of the holes remaining in the fence.

Words in anger do leave emotional scars. I have read that eventually those wounds can  be healed and the scars can fade, but I’d really like to stop inflicting them. So, for the month of September I will open my tool box and start hammering….or not! I’m hoping that the thought of having to hammer a nail in my fence and leave a hole will make me take a breath and calm my emotions before spewing. I should also get back to my book Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses.

2) Complete my 52 Weeks of Thanks project:

I started this project in 2015 and made almost no progress……talk about procrastination!! I been blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life who have been loving or kind, who have inspired me or encouraged me, who have welcomed me and accepted me, and who have been there during good times and bad. I really want to express my gratitude to them and do so in writing. I started this project a long time ago and sent only one letter and have only just recently completed my 2nd letter. So starting in September, my goal is to send 1 written expression of gratitude a week for my remaining 50 weeks. I bet I can even use an app on my phone to help remind me.

3) Nutritional related goals

I love good food, but don’t especially like to cook. Living out in the sticks, doesn’t provide a lot of options when eating out or grocery shopping, so I wanted to learn to make healthy choices and cook simple meals that would benefit my family, my health, and my waistline. One goal was to meet with a nutritionist to get started. I have had my first of 4 consultations at Advice for Eating. My homework is to write down everything I eat for 3 days. I tell you, it’s a pretty sad list. Especially since I am making the transition from stay at home mom to working mom as the school year gets started. Let just say, the cupboard was almost bare. Fish sticks anyone??? I have also noticed that I need to drink more water. Some days the only liquid I consume is coffee, soda and the water I guzzle before bed because my body is screaming for it. I am very aware that if I don’t bring a lunch to work, I will pick up Taco Bell or Burger King – cheap and fast and not healthy at all. So for the month of September, I will increase my water intake and bring a lunch to work. More nutrition goals to come after my second consultation.

4) Write at least 2 blog posts a month.

I have about a dozen unfinished blog posts hanging out on my computer and making time to complete them is all I need. Sometimes I need time to do more research or just time to type it all out. I have time, I do. Unfortunately, its often wasted doing unproductive activities. (I’m working on that post for next time.) I would also like to start adding one of my own photos to each post, especially since photography was my outlet for so long. Beginning in September, I will carve out a chunk of time several times a week to finish these posts and maybe a chunk of time to set out with my camera.

5) Take even a short road trip once a month.

Oh, how I love a good road trip! I love the open road with “off the beaten path” stops along the way. Texas is vast and diverse in history and culture and climate so unlike my eating options in my small town, my big state is a cornucopia of opportunities for adventures on the road. My son’s current requests are The Bluebell Ice Cream Factory in Brenham and  The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. I’m ready to hit the road! As I write this I can almost hear crinkles of a roadmap – does anyone remember those days?

Please share your favorite road trip destinations!

6) Read the Bible again.

I love, love, love to read. I joined a family member and began a New Year’s resolution to read at least one book a month. I started out pacing myself pretty well and I have read 13 books since January. (Three of those are chapter books my son and I have read together. It’s been such fun re-reading books from my childhood.) Then things got crazy and I am now in the middle of 3 books and my Amazon wish list keeps growing. I am at a point of being overwhelmed trying to read them all. So what I would like to do is get back to just reading one book and make it “The Good Book.” Someone once told me they thought the Bible was boring. Having already read it once, I can tell you its got more drama than a whole season of The Real Housewives! This living book has provided me with guidance and understanding to so many of my big questions. YouVersion has a great app that will guide my reading journey. I also love the “P.O.W.E.R. tool” you can download over at Biblical Minimalism. I will be using this to track several of my goals.

I have been delighted to see how far this blog has reached all over the world and so curious to see what goals y’all (I’m a Texan!) are working to achieve.  Please share your goals and your progress.

Until next time, Be Well!

Coming soon: Waste Not Want Not: Time, Money, and Trash