Monday, May 6, 2013

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail!!

This is one of my favourite weight watcher mottos. There is some serious truth in it and if I could only give one tip to those starting out, planning is it. There has been a lot of talk about planning recently, and I think summer is very easy to find yourself off track. With irish weather the way it is you never know when a weekend of great weather is going to pop up. And with good weather out comes temptation, BBQ's, beers in the sun, refreshing cocktails, picnics, ice cream. It's undoubtedly difficult to plan for these when you don't know they are coming. So you need to get smart and plan for the unexpected.

With the great weather this weekend its easy to think that summer is here, so start planning. Set aside 30 minutes a week that you can dedicate to planning. A lot of people do this after their weekly weigh in, but I try to do it on food shopping day. Here are my tips for planning out your week!

  • Think about what is happening for the week. Will you have any events you have to go to, a night out planned? somebody's birthday? dinner at a friends? What is your work schedule like, will you be working extra hours? Who will you be feeding for the week, are you thinking of breakfasts lunches and dinners for just yourself? Do you have a partner to factor in for everyday or half the week? Do you have kids to work into the plan?
  • Make a plan for any events you have, decide on roughly how many propoints you will allocate to those events and then you can plan the rest of your week around it. If you are going to friends for dinner, try to find out what they are cooking. Decide if you will be drinking and how much you plan to spend on alcohol - be it a bottle of wine, 3 beers or 4 vodkas. Write it down in advance and stick to it. If you are going out for dinner, find the menu online and choose what you will have ahead. Either have a starter or dessert, or if you are short on propoints just go for a main. You could get a side salad with no dressing for a starter - a cheap and 0pp option.
  • The next step is to plan your meals. Write out a chart for each day, and plan your breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks. If you have others to cater for who may be eating differently to you, add this to your chart. I like to sit down with my catalogue of recipes and pick at least 2 recipes I have never tried before to keep things fresh. I also try not to have have the same dinner 2 weeks in a row. If I have spag bol, it'll be at least 2 weeks before I can make it again. Lunches for work, I do find it easiest to have the same thing every day for a week - easiest on the shopping side, but again I won't have this 2 weeks in a row. 
  • Plan your exercise for the week. By this stage you will know what nights, mornings, days you have free and how much you can fit in. Write this onto your meal chart too - commit to it. Even if it is 30 minutes walking 3 times in the week make sure you do it. Do not say you will fit it in, make the plan in advance. You are much more likely to do it if you have it written down. 
  • Track everything you eat and drink. Not just the things that need to be propointed, but everything even the water you drink. Compare this with your  meal plan you have made. Anything extra you have added in - even if its 0pp - can help you to make a better plan for the week after. On days you find you drink less water, you can see why and make sure to top it up the next day. 
  • Finally, plan for the unexpected. Do not work all 49 of your weeklies into your meal/event plan unless you absolutely have to. You never know when something might pop up and having a bank of weeklies at your disposal is never a bad thing!! 
I'm not saying this is foolproof. We are always going to have weeks where we slip up. This is what has worked for me, and the weeks where I have planned the best are weeks I have seen the best success! Give it a go, just for a week and see how you get on! 

My plan for this week is to do a daily update - a food/exercise diary for the week. I will be 100% honest with this. I can't make my meeting tomorrow - but on maintenance I need to be able to miss a meeting and not let myself fall off the track. I will be a weight watcher for life and will always go to my meetings, but it may not be every single week. 

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