Hello friends! Long time no see, I know.
There is a rule when starting any new venture: start small. This is especially key in weight loss but man does it apply to blogging too. I started out posting 3 times/week, which I maintained for more than 6 months. When I started to miss a few posts, I fell victim to the “ugh I already messed up so why bother at all?” response and then I lost motivation. In the world of health, if you set out to work out 2x/day every day of the week you set yourself up for failure, lose confidence and then give up. See? Nutrition counseling is applicable to EVERYTHING. So with that, I’ve decided that I will not have a blog schedule; I’ll keep you on your toes.
Ironically, today’s topic: the importance of having a schedule…in regards to eating. Just because I don’t have a blogging schedule, doesn’t mean I’m not super disciplined when it comes to my eating schedule. 🙂 There are a few habits I see time and time again with clients looking to lose weight but this is one of the big ones. I ask every person I see to tell me about a typical day of eating. When I get the “hmmm I don’t really have a typical day”, I’m usually not too surprised.
The emphasis on having an eating schedule probably makes me seem like an uptight dietitian, but if you don’t have some semblance of a routine (both in timing and what you eat), you’re setting yourself up for trouble. Here’s why:
Routines Put You on Autopilot
Variety is the spice of life. Variety also tends to cause weight gain. I’m not saying you have to eat the same thing every day, but having some organized schedule of meals that you rotate through is very helpful. You want eating healthy to be automatic. Giving yourself the choice of “hmmmm what do I want for dinner?” allows your decision to be influenced by the ad you saw on TV or a food you’re really craving. If you know what you’re eating ahead of time, those factors don’t come into play. You already know what you’re eating, so why bother to question it? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Digestion is Scheduled
Your weight is so linked to gut health (one of the big reasons I love probiotics). Your body thrives on consistency and schedule. This is especially true for digestion. Everything from intestinal movements to the release of digestive enzymes operates more effectively on a schedule. If you eat at the same times during the day, your body actually starts to anticipate food. Your stomach starts making juices to digest the food and your intestines are ready to absorb the nutrients. What you eat has to be digested so you better believe that digestive health is closely linked to weight! Plus, eating erratically can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable with all sorts of not-so-fun digestive symptoms.
Avoids Getting too Hungry
Getting too hungry is a disaster when it comes to weight management. People typically make unhealthy choices and eat way too much because they get a bit desperate. You avoid this if you generally know that you eat breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12pm, snack at 3:30pm, and dinner at 6pm (or whatever way your day is structured, but it should be strutted the same every day).
Now, knowing this and doing this are two different things. Please don’t overhaul your life and put yourself on a schedule you won’t stick to (see note about aggressive blogging schedule above). Start small.
- Choose one meal or snack to focus on: Have your afternoon snack at 3:30 and come up with 3-4 options you rotate during the week. Here’s some ideas 🙂
- If you tend to skip meals, try to eat a small meal or balanced snack (as seen above) at least 4x/week
- Peruse Pinterest or cookbooks for a few “core” recipes. Embrace themes like “Taco Tuesday”, “Meatless Monday”, or “Soup Sunday” to make it easier (autopilot is good, remember?)
Happy healthy-eating routine!
What are you favorite ways to establish a healthy eating schedule?