Planning is a huge component of effective weight management (just as it is for weight loss). I have a rough plan for food and exercise every day – even now, 8 years out of weight loss. If I can hit the important points on my plan most days I’m doing well, so I try not to make it too detailed, and I try to include only the most important points. For me, on a work day the plan looks like this:
Food: Pack a bag with 4-5 servings of fruits and veggies, a lunch that contains no more than 300 calories for the main entree, and a couple of emergency low-cal protein shakes. I rarely use the emergency shakes at work, but they are there if I need them. I use them if I’m hungry late in the afternoon, because they come it at 100 calories, they’re nutritionally balanced, and nothing in the vending machines where I work can boast of any nutritional value whatsoever. Having more than I expect to need is always a good plan. It keeps me away from the crappy vending machine options.
Exercise: Get some. Every day, getting some exercise is part of the plan. Walking, running, lifting weights, cycling, zumba – whatever works for that day needs to have a chunk of time devoted to it, usually about an hour. I plan a rough time of day in which I expect to get my exercise. The first few years of my maintenance I exercised in the morning before work. Lately I’ve been finding that I like to do it right after work but before dinner. So every day I pack my gym bag and iPod with me to work so I can head straight to the gym.
So that’s the planning part. What about the flexible part? Obviously I can’t live my life to a rigid schedule and still maintain my corporate job in IT. Things come up, schedules get shifted, meetings run long, injuries happen. I can adjust my schedule to any of these issues. The one thing that doesn’t work for me is just not doing it because I don’t want to.
Today I need to be flexible for exercise, because the run I completed last night caused me some pain in my left leg. Right at the joint where the thigh and hip meet, I woke up in agony this morning. Running is my preferred form of exercise, but today there can be no running or high-impact anything for me. I shift my plan. I can still lift weights (upper body, obviously). I can still, after some stretching, do some walking. So the plan for today has shifted a bit. I will do my upper body weights routine in my living room this afternoon once I’m done with work for the day, then go for a nice gentle walk with my husband. That was easy.