Ok, so I hit some snags over the weekend. And please, refrain from slinging your “I told you sos” at me! This blog is an honest account of my journey, and if all I had was good news to report, surely you’d know I was lying. So…just in case I was making it sound a little too easy, here’s the truth: it’s really really hard to make this work with a busy work schedule. There. I admit it. But don’t give up on me just yet—I’m not ready to throw in the towel. I have learned some valuable lessons for next time.
Over the weekend I worked about 30 hours, leaving early in the morning and not making it home until after my daughter was asleep. Not only did I miss breakfast, lunch and dinner with my family, but I also wasn’t available to cook or shop for them. And while I have a supportive partner, he’s never been in charge of the meal planning or grocery shopping. And to be honest I didn’t leave them very prepared for my absence. (Spoiler: they did, in fact, manage to live without me).
No time to make a trip to the farmers market. No time to cook dinner, so therefore no premade lunches. And as luck would have it, we (well, they) ran out of just about everything. And we learned why fast food is such a strong industry, though I can report that we still all firmly refrained. Thursday night they went to a local pizza restaurant. Friday night he made a dinner out of eggs and our remaining potatoes and peppers. Saturday, we all went out for sushi. Sunday, Mike whipped up some fried rice. And for lunch, as many of you may relate to, I ate lunch out with colleagues each day, which was a necessary part of my weekend.
So I was able to do some things that worked, and I was able to make a note of many things I would do differently next time. My general list of tips:
–NEVER RUN OUT OF OATS. EVER. What was I thinking? It screwed over the entire weekend. More specifically, my tip is to buy more of your staple foods than you think you’re going to need.
–Make a few staples ahead of time. If you know you are headed for a stretch of time that will be exceptionally busy, you can prepare and store a few things like beans, rice, and quinoa. And in the future, any time I make these staples I will make enough not only for lunch leftovers but also to freeze a batch for the occasional unanticipated late workdays.
–Be firmly committed to your lifestyle and make a priority list. There were so many instances in which fast food would have been the most logical solution, but because it is absolutely not an option to us, we prioritized so that when compromises had to be made it wasn’t over that.
–Decide what you will and won’t eat if you have to eat out. Again, I’m still not sure how I feel about eating out, but I haven’t ruled it out entirely. What I have ruled out for certain is eating mass-produced meat, consuming overly processed foods, and eating at chain restaurants. Even when eating out with others, you have a surprising amount of flexibility. There is usually that moment when no one can decide where to go—and it’s important to take charge. Make a few suggestions that you are comfortable with, and people will invariably find themselves choosing from the options you’ve named. I ended up having fantastic salads (dressing on the side, no extra junk) at local restaurants and my friends were happy to try something new.
–have a few easy-to-prepare, go-to meals that a partner can prepare or that you can prepare quickly. For us, the pan-fried potatoes and scrambled eggs with peppers was a lifesaver! We almost always have those ingredients laying around. Another was fried rice. We almost always have rice, and we just toss in whatever veggies we have.
–In the future, I will also be comfortable bringing my meals. As awkward as it sounds, I have brought many meals to restaurants with me, or I have found ways to manipulate foods that are offered. It helps that most of my friends think my fitness background is awesome and are willing to be supportive. However, even in the absence of that background you will find that your friends will be more than supportive of your efforts to reach health and fitness goals. It’s not embarrassing to care about your health. It is, however, embarrassing for your friends to chow down on a cheeseburger in your healthy presence, so be prepared for that…
–Dig deep to find the drive to do what needs to be done. When I get home, I’m tired. By Sunday I just wanted to drink a bottle of wine, lay on my couch, and veg out. But had I done that, I’d be screwed for this week, too. So I dug deep and still managed to shop for the week, bake two loaves of bread and prepare the week’s vegetable broth. And trust me, I’m not really the disciplined person that I might appear to be. I think at the end of the day it comes down to two factors for me: What things I really find important and worth committing to, and remembering that I have made a commitment worth keeping. I am not always stoked to be doing it, but I said I would so it’s at least worth going through the motions until I am inspired again. This thought process can apply to anything: the gym, a nutrition plan, a political belief, a parenting style, etc.
Our go-to fried rice!
This isn’t a recipe, it’s a guideline. And I’m no genius, but if you’re looking for an idea for a quick meal or a way to get rid of leftovers, it might be a great reminder. It’s quick, it’s easy, you can’t mess it up, and it’s a great way to incorporate small bits of vegetables that might otherwise go to waste. I prefer to use cold, leftover rice because it fries better.
Here are some examples of the vegetables that would go well here:
Shredded cabbage (I almost always have leftover cabbage)
Greens of any sort
I like to add my veggies to the food processor an chop them into smithereens so that I have a great mixture of flavors and colors.
Sautee garlic in oil, add chopped vegetables and cook until they are tender. Remove this mixture from the pan and use it to scramble a few eggs; return veggies to pan with egg and add rice. Fry, adding soy sauce to taste. You could also add pineapple, ginger, coconut milk, and any other flavors you’d like. Again, you cannot mess this up.