“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”
One of the biggest excuses I used to be unhealthy was that I just didn’t have enough time to get everything done. I was just “too busy”. Looking back now, it seems so foolish and ridiculous, but at the time it felt overwhelmingly powerful. I felt like there was just no time for me to work out and eat correctly. Just like the rest of my bad habits, this felt completely overwhelming and I felt powerless to change.
But, once I started doing the work and figuring out how to change my habits, it was actually pretty simple. Notice I didn’t say it was easy, I said it was simple. Creating any new habit is difficult at first. However, within three weeks of consistent effort, the habits can basically be automated. That’s the good news. Once I began eating primally , I was having success with the meals I ate at home (breakfast and dinner). However, lunch was a crap shoot. If I had a busy night the night before, sometimes I didn’t pack my lunch. If I ran out of lunch meat or something I needed I decided I would just go out and eat. Then when I would go out to eat, I would be tempted to eat non-Primal. If you really look at it though, this was not an issue regarding my will power. This was really an issue of me being unorganized. I was following the plan as long as it was manageable. That is fair to expect of everyone when they start trying to create healthy habits. The easier you make it on yourself, the higher odds that you will stick to the plan. However, in the past I always blamed my lack of willpower or my terrible self-discipline. Those really weren’t the problem and focusing on them caused me to feel even more hopeless because I just wasn’t “strong enough” to change.
That’s a crazy self-bashing cycle. And, I think I’m not alone. As I talk to more and more people who struggle with their weight this seems to be the rule not the exception. The good news again is that change is possible. I know I sound like President Obama, but I have seen it work over and over so trust in the system. And without further ado here is my quick guide for getting your food organized.
1. Get used to eating the same meals. You don’t have to do this all the time, but for the most part you should get good at cooking about 4-5 different meals and then rotate them. This is a good start. If you take on too many new things at once you won’t stick to it. For instance, for breakfast almost every day without fail I have a Primal Fuel protein shake, and a handful or two of macadamia nuts. I started out originally getting up an hour early and making omlets and eggs and bacon. This proved to be too much of a change. I am just not ready to get up early to make food, especially when I can achieve the same result (eat a healthy breakfast) in about 3 minutes total. Initially, I thought the protein powder was too expensive, but its full of nutrition and costs a little over $2 per shake, which seemed like good nutritional bang for my buck. I noticed that I didn’t really care much about variety in my meals, especially in the morning. And honestly, if you look at your diet, you will probably see that your diet is less varied than you think.
2. Get primal snacks. This was big. No matter where I went, I needed to have access to primal food. So, I went to Trader Joes and got some dark chocolate covered almonds and some beef and buffalo jerky. I kept these in my desk at work and had them in my one cabinet I kept my food in in the kitchen. Not being hungry made my willpower stronger. Willpower is a skill, like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get at it. And, it is easier to resist temptation when you’re not hungry. Again, you fail in the past because you are not organized. No primal snacks + hunger+temptation=trouble. Set yourself up to succeed.
3. Cook and package your lunches for the week all at once. I chose Sunday because it made the most sense. I basically mix between two different meats, BBQ chicken or bunless burgers. I’ve found that I can eat one of those for two weeks and then enjoy the switch to the other for two weeks. I fire up the grill once a week, buy enough meat to last 5 days plus I can eat it Sunday night as my dinner. When I’m done cooking it, I take 5 individual sandwich bags and put meat in each one. I buy a big bag of organic spinach and divide that into another 5 bags. And, I usually buy a bunch of berries and cut them up. I haven’t gotten to the point of packaging those separately yet, but I should. I could not believe how easy this made everything. As I was racing out the door to work, I would open the fridge, grab a meat, grab a veggie and be on my way. No making lunches, no worry about a busy night the night before. Ready to go. Again, a better system allowed me to be more successful. And that’s really what I’m hoping to accomplish with this blog. I want to help people improve their systems. That is what I needed. I needed guidance on how to upgrade my operating system so to speak.