One of the most difficult times for me for me to watch my eating and make good food decisions has consistently been the weekend lunch, especially Saturdays. Since rejoining Weight Watchers this past year, I’ve found that planning lunches during the work week is a breeze. Dinner during the week is easy too; just look at the calendar, figure out the workout classes and where we are both going to be, and pick something to eat. The weekends? Another story altogether. And I couldn’t put my finger on just why lunch on the weekends was such a difficult time for me until this past Saturday.
Here in Chicago, this past Saturday brought chilly temperatures and rain for a good portion of the morning and afternoon. It was the perfect day to sleep in with the pugs curled up, and laze about with a cup of coffee and my book. Sure, I had errands to run, but I just wasn’t feeling it and so I decided to stay in my jammies, do laundry and chill out at home with the dogs, just puttering around the house until I had to be somewhere in the evening. I had a lovely omelet for breakfast, but by lunchtime was stymied as to what I should have for lunch. I looked through the freezer and fridge and realized that I was out of lunch meat and didn’t have any remaining frozen Smart Ones meals either. And then it hit me like a TON OF BRICKS in the face (go ahead and enjoy that image for a minute)….weekend lunch has been difficult because I had not been planning for it. Hello, epiphany!
The next question, of course, was why? Why was I not taking the time to plan for at least 2 meals on the weekend? I pondered this a bit while cooking some chicken and pasta for lunch, with remnants of the previous week’s dinners, and realized that during the past year, my weekend schedule had changed substantially from the previous 8 years, and I hadn’t adapted with it. Specifically, and for those of you who know me I hate to bore you with the little details, I worked in a horrific job that required me to work pretty much every single Saturday, and Sundays from home. My usual routine on a Saturday would be to get up, grab some coffee (skipping breakfast, of course), shower, and head out the door to the office. I would routinely stop at the Portillo’s drive-thru on my way to the office to pick up lunch, which I would then eat at my office, work through the afternoon and head home by early evening. Thus, when grocery shopping, I never had to worry about what to eat for breakfast or lunch on Saturday. Saturday evening was usually spent out with friends, including dinner, and Sunday morning was all about brunch. Yay! Yet more meals that I did not have to plan or worry about…..I’m sure you’re catching the drift here.
Well, let’s fast forward to 2010. In December 2009, I finally left my shitty, awful job that had me working such ungodly hours and I now have weekends off. Yes, an entire weekend, from Friday through Sunday! I didn’t know what to do with myself, and at times I still find myself wondering if it is normal to have 2 whole days where I am not required to be billing hours, putting in face-time at the office and slaving away. The freedom and mental break from work is amazing, but I never really adapted my weekend schedule appropriately since the job change. Obviously, I’m not running to the office every single Saturday, but I was not making the time to think consciously about my breakfasts and lunches either. When meal-planning, Patrick and I would sit down and discuss the work-week, and our plans for weekend dinners, but breakfast and lunch, unless we had brunch plans, never made the discussion.
These last couple of weeks, I’ve been especially conscious of the fact that I’m out running errands on Saturday without first having breakfast, which just leaves me in a situation where I’m hungry outside of the house, and my choices are limited. With such limited options, I usually end up making a bad decision, whether it is a bagel with cream cheese from Einstein or a Starbucks pastry. Neither is going to have the nutrition that I want for my breakfast, but both will likely have an unnecessary amount of calories fighting for space on my ass. (We won’t even touch on the fact that buying food out is a waste of money, too.) I continue running errands, fast forward, it is lunch and I’m still out and about, I’m hungry again, and I know I don’t have anything to eat at home. What is the answer? Why, stop and grab lunch of course. While I have been better about not eating at drive-thru’s, I have eaten out, which isn’t the best decision either.
This past weekend, however, I realized (see epiphany, above) that it was just plain time to plan my meals for the entire 7-day week, and not just the first 5 days. That is, if I want to continue with my weight loss, feel good about myself and stop wasting money eating out for no reason other than piss-poor planning. It is sad that something so simply took so long to figure out, but as the French would say, c’est la vie. At least I figured it all out. So, we shall see how this epiphany, and the resulting commitment to planning for meals on the weekends plays out over the next few weeks. But as my dad always says, if you make a plan and work the plan, that’s 99% of the battle.