For Those of you who Just Don’t Have the Time

24 Sep

My awesome best friend Katya, posed a question yesterday in response to last week’s Meal Planning post. She asks “…what do you say to people who claim they don’t have time to do all that? What did you have to give up to make time?”

That’s a really great question mostly because I am still learning the answer. I’m not one of those people who is naturally super organized and awesome at scheduling. In fact it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to make lists and use a calendar. In the past, my approach to scheduling was trying to memorize all of my appointments, parties, events, birthdays, plans, homework, projects, etc. As you can imagine, I was a nightmare to make plans with, I would arrive places 2-3 hours late, I would forget some major activity at least once a week and I was worried about missing appointments all the time (coincidentally, I was broke and unhealthy).

These days I have a full life and a full schedule, however there are certain activities and events that I have given up. I don’t miss them and I have criteria, it’s  purposeful. Obviously, I have a passionate commitment to my health and eating well. Given that commitment, it takes priority over everything. When an event comes up I think about whether it will fulfill on those priorities.

Happy hours, open-bar birthday parties, late nights at clubs are all events I no longer go to, unless it’s for very close friends or family. I don’t drink alcohol, so it’s really not fun for me and neither is waking up tired or talking to drunk people all night (remember I’m the only sober one, so it’s not fun for me).

Meal planning and commitment to health (or any commitment for that matter) is an evolutionary process. You start somewhere and then refine and tune as needed. What works one month may not work the next. I started out with just going to the grocery store and buying things that seemed healthy or my trainer told me were acceptable to eat. For a while all I ate was grilled chicken, potatoes and romaine lettuce salads with tomatoes and cucumbers. Then I got my first Clean Eating Magazine, starting making recipes from that. I then discovered other magazines, I started swapping recipes with coworkers, then started to make up my own, I started reading Healthy Living blogs and each day I learn something new. All of this did not happen over night, I did not wake up one day and plan my meals for the week and know how to do it. I posted about it last week, so that you the reader could take something away from what I have learned.

I have found that the more time I spend planning the less time I spend doing and worrying. If you don’t think you have time to meal plan, here are some of the benefits:
No more worries or thinking

You won’t spend any time thinking about what you will eat on any given day. Just check your list and prepare.
Quick and efficient trip to grocery store

Or you can give your list to someone else to do the shopping for you. I even categorize my list: carbs/grains, proteins/dairy, produce, cans, spices, misc. This saves time at the grocery store too.
Weekend meal prep
You can prep your meals over the weekend and have fresh meals up through the middle of the week if not longer.

Preparing does save time and mental energy. Also, for me, keeping my planning open, flexible and ever-evolving has me stick with it, and believe me I have been at a place where I hated my calendar and planner so much that I threw it away.

So thanks Katya for asking the question, I really enjoyed answering and I ask you (and all the readers) to take a moment and think about how you relate to planning. Is it something you have to do or do you take it on as an enjoyable ever-changing process? Meal planning is no different.

One Response to “For Those of you who Just Don’t Have the Time”

  1. MacKenzie @ Fighting the Pudge September 28, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Thank YOU Joanna for discussing this issue! It’s definitely a work in progress for me. And a one-day-at-a-time thing, too 🙂

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