Planning is Key

PlansOne of the things that continually throws me for a loop is unexpected things that happen in life. It’s the mundane, unplanned, and necessary things. Unplanned child pickups, work running later, emergencies, these are the things that can screw up your plans for the day. It’s ok to miss a workout here and there, but for me, I need to stay focused. My old track record is a series of events like this; getting sick or injured, being busy at work, or a busy home life. These are things that have traditionally derailed my success in the gym.

Now I’m trying to not allow these type of small setbacks be an excuse for failure. It all goes to where I’m at mentally. I have to realize that life happens, and I need to try to make sure I keep focused, and don’t let these things allow me to create an excuse for failure. So when I’m planning to hit the gym after work, and I have to do some unplanned thing, I’ll often try to go later at night when things have calmed down, or work out at home doing some sort of cardio.

Time isn’t the only thing you have to plan. Planning what you eat is crucially important too. There’s been days where I forget to bring my (calorie planned) lunch to work, and I just assume that I’ll go to Subway, or get some grilled chicken, or a salad. But days get hectic, and before you know it, lunch has passed, and the day is closing. Now I’m hungry, and not thinking clearly. These are the times when I make poor decisions. Decisions based on emotion.

It’s important to plan for these type of things. I usually try to keep some protein bars or other “quick-grab” things to eat. Where I work we have a little vending area that has the ubiquitous selection of chips, frozen pizza, candy, and other unhealthy options. If I don’t have anything to eat at my desk, I’ll go down and try to grab a yogurt, or some fruit – something. I look for a balance of satisfaction, measured calories, and something that’s better than fast food.

Remember, life doesn’t always go as planned, make sure you think about things in a way that you will ultimately be successful. If you have an “all or nothing” mentality (like I tend to) make sure that you approach situations realistically, with a plan, and a mindset that shit happens. Just make the best of what you can.

About a week ago, I had several (3-4) days of weight gain, not a ton, 1/2 a pound here, 1/2 a pound there, but I was wondering if I was going to hit the dreaded “plateau”. I was mentally prepared for this, but it was a bitter thought. I was doing everything right, eating right, exercising, so I was a bit confused. I realized a couple things, I had slacked a little here and there on a handful of cheerios, or a small amount of corn chips. I had almost started slipping back into old habits. I went back to my regimen, and over the next few days started to see the predictable weight loss I had been experiencing. I also realized that some sort of wall is coming, and I don’t know when it is. Several days of no weight loss, or even weight gain, are very normal in this process, just stick to what has been working for you.

If you encounter more than a week or two of a stalled plan, you may have to start changing things up. I don’t think I’m at that point yet, but I feel like I could be getting close. I’m so close to my first goal, a goal I’ve set many times and never achieved. But this time I will achieve it, failure is not an option.

Kid Dinner Challenge – Second Installment

If you didn’t read my first post about the kid dinner challenge, you can read it here. The general synopsis is cooking for six is hard. Making sure we create meals that are healthy, exciting, and relatively easy to make is not a simple chore for four kids and two adults. This is the second installment in what I’m calling the Kid Dinner Challenge.

The requirements of “kid” prepared dinners are this:

    • A budget of $20 to feed six.
    • They plan, research, and determine what is to be served.
    • The meal has to be healthy, protein, starch, vegetable, fruit. They can include dessert if there is budget. (No macaroni and cheese, with chips)
    • Everyone has to like it.
    • They have to do the shopping (we take them).
    • They have to do the cooking.
    • It has to be Gluten Free.
    • They have to serve the meal.
    • They have to do all of the cleanup.

This week we were served a wonderful meal, better than we make sometimes! It’s a meal that should be eaten in moderation, but is simply ok to have once in a while.

Dinner consisted of: Fresh Broccoli, Fruit Kabobs, Gluten Free Lasagna, and a Layered Jello Dessert. The kids pulled it all off for $19.10. The Lasagna was delicious, gluten free noodles, ground turkey instead of beef, ricotta, mozzarella, monterey jack, and parmesan cheese. While not a meal you’d want to eat every day, in moderation, and watching portions, it was a great change.

Family Life and Weight Loss Goals

FamilyWhen you are motivated to accomplish a goal, it’s important to remember that regular life needs to happen in parallel. Just because I’m super charged in my desire and actions to make big changes to lose weight doesn’t mean I can just let everything else slide. I’m trying to be sensitive to my work, kids, loved ones, and friends. I’m also trying to keep up on the details, paying bills, keeping the house clean, cooking, and groceries and errands, it’s a lot to manage!

The most important people in my life right now are my kids, my girlfriend, and her kids. My sister lives in Seattle and we talk a bit here and there, same with my parents, so there’s not really any danger of alienating them during this process. But my kids and girlfriend and her kids, do sometimes bear the stress of me needing to be at the gym. I try to be sensitive to this and make sure that I do several things: communicate when I’m planning to go work out, work out during times when it won’t impact them, and take opportunities to work out at home or with them.

Communication is something I’m a huge fan of. I probably over communicate at times. I try to be in the gym 4 days per week at a minimum. It’s about an hour and a half of being away from home and I’m pretty much unavailable to the outside world during that time. I’ll even put it on my calendar for the classes and things I can plan out in advance, so that my girlfriend knows.

Let me take a second to say how great she is. The spin classes are 2x a weekat 6 PM, I am not done until 7PM and come over to her house afterwards, she generally makes me something healthy to eat, as I’m starving by this point. What a great gal I’m with!

I’ll also try and work out when my kids are with their mom. They come home to my house every day after school, so I do get to see them quite a bit. The days their mom comes to get them, I spend time with them from after school on, but then I usually get to the gym if it’s a workout day about 1/2 hour before they are picked up. I’ll also work out later at night sometimes, even close to 10PM. This can be a good time as my youngest is in bed, and my older one is responsible enough to be home for a short amount of time. It’s weird working out later at night, sometimes it’s the best thing ever for getting to sleep, other times, I’m wired past 2 AM.

The best thing that can happen is when we can all work out together. Whether it’s all going for a long walk, bike riding, or our group favorite, Geocaching. I’ll write a whole other post about Geocaching. We sometimes all play Xbox Kinnect games too, like dance central, or a fighting/kickboxing game, which you’re probably thinking is a simple work out, but when I play the kick boxing game, after an hour I’m drenched in sweat – it’s totally fun too!

It’s also important to remain realistic. If you’re not a morning person, and you think you can squeeze it all in before you need to be at work, you can probably hold it together for a while, but ultimately you’ll probably end up bailing on things. I’m a total night owl, so working out later works for me, it’s actually nice, the gym is empty, and I enjoy it. But if you go to sleep before midnight, this is probably not an approach for you. It’s important to remain realistic as you don’t want to adopt a philosophy that will ultimately cause you to fail. What would be worse is to feel like you failed because you didn’t want to sacrifice your personal relationships. Just realize like everything I’ve talked about so far it’s about balance and moderation.

I feel blessed and lucky to have such an awesome support network. Supportive kids, friends, family, and an amazing girlfriend that also has amazing kids. I’m a pretty lucky guy.