MICKEYMAX   41,104
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The Case Against Meal Planning

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meal planning just makes good sense.

I am not a meal planner. Sometimes my DH will ask me "what do you want for dinner?" and I think, "Seriously, we have not had breakfast - how am I supposed to think about that?"

I used to develop a lot of anxiety around a grocery list and having to have the PERFECT plan about what meals would look like and what would be made (and how it would be done.)

Not any more. I have given up the idea that I need to be a meal planner (as in 3 square a day) in order to be successful. I don't. That is just not my style. I used to have a trainer who would plan a month in advance. All of his meals laid out. One month. In advance. Seriously. I don't have a rigid life like that.

I just don't. It does not make me better or worse. It just is - and it is fine.

What does work for me is having a lot of healthy options. Having meals pre-made on hand or easy, quick to throw together meal options so I can decide what I feel like a lot closer to mealtime.

Case in point: there is ground turkey, peppers and tomato sauce sitting in my fridge, waiting for me to combine it into my own version of stuffed peppers that I am going to make and stick in the freezer and pop out for when I want a stuffed pepper. (Truth alert - I had a stouffer's one last week and thought, pfft, I can make that on my own!)

This "planning" works for me. It takes the tendency towards "perfection" off my plate (no pun intended) and gives me options that work for me. That is the difference that I am seeing in my latest round of success. I am modifying meal planning so that it works for me.

What kinds of things do you change up to work with your style, sparkies? Inquiring minds want to know!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DO4FIT 11/20/2011 12:37PM

  My mother and I do not meal plan either... well except maybe Sunday dinner but other then that we just make sure there is lots of healthy options in the house to choose from and I try to cook something on Monday's so that there is something in the freezer in case we just do not want to cook or are running behind!

Meal planning is just one of many TOOLS that could be in your weightloss/maintaining/etc belt. If it is not there are other tools to use!! Just gotta figure out which ones work for you

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BUTTERFLYER246 11/20/2011 12:10PM

    I like planning what food I want to use, then enjoy making new recipes with them. It always seems like a new adventure. My only problem with that is when I am bound and determind not to cook. And my husband will NOT cook.... Then I am stuck eating out which normally ends bad. lol

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JESSBOND 11/18/2011 9:09AM

    Yeah, I'm like that too. I prefer to choose depending on my mood at the time! Just gotta make sure things are healthy!

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TEDDYBEARGIRL 11/17/2011 9:10PM

    I too can't live by a planned out menu as what is listed on that day i may not even be in the mood to eat or in my case my tummy might not want it if I am having a bad GERD day so it does not work for me either.

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    Congratulations on figuring out what works for you! You recognize that a specific plan doesn't work for you, so you put some thought and effort into making sure you have a variety of healthy options available. To me, that qualifies as planning, too.

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KKINNEA 11/17/2011 10:47AM

    Your food non-planning sounds really smart. It's something I struggle with personally.

I certainly change workouts to fit me better - since I have no aspirations to be a "big winner" nor well-muscled, I re-gear things towards functional strength and endurance. I want to be fit for as long as possible!

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SARAWALKS 11/17/2011 10:11AM

    I am so with you on not Planning. I have so much obligatory planning in my work life that I just rebel when it comes to home. So the idea of having multiple components ready in the fridge or cabinet works for me. I have to think it out pretty carefully though and be careful to eat what is fresh soon enough that i don't waste it. I think out dinner around the middle of the afternoon...
Lately I've begun to use SmartOnes and Lean Cuisine more when really busy - but it's so much better to cook your own. And I do manage that a lot.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_KATHY 11/17/2011 9:27AM

    All the comments are great and motivational for me since I am so tired of trying to make dinner interesting when all I usually cook is chicken. Mostly because of DH's gout requirements. I've started storing frozen veggie and pre cooked staples. Makes "unplanned" meals easier.

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TRISH579 11/17/2011 9:01AM

    Same, here, too! I just make sure that all the right things are available. We just don't store those things that we all shouldn't eat.
However, if anybody wants to splurge, they are free to do so. But they have to go to the store and get it.

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PATRISNA 11/17/2011 8:53AM

    I am with you on the meal planning thing. Sometimes I have a plan other times it is take something out of the freezer and go with it. I cook ground meat and freeze it in containers for quick meals. I have lots of frozen vegetables and meats in seal-a-meal packets so I don't have to shop when I am hungry. Truth be known our worst unplanned meal is when everyone shows up and we order pizzas & pasta because there are more people than I had planned on feeding.


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DIFROMWYOMING 11/17/2011 8:51AM


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    I am the same way! I just make sure the ingredients on hand are healthy and not junky! I'm glad I'm not the only one! emoticon emoticon

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PLOVETT 11/17/2011 8:31AM

    Great article. I "mix and match" meal planning. Meaning there are weeks whereby I plan and shop according to my meal plan. Then there are weeks that I don't necessarily have a meals planned ahead. The key for me is keeping healthy options available so that I can have a healthy meal - and on schedule - everyday. However, if we were voting on to plan or not to plan, I would vote "to plan". When you plan and grocery shop according to your plan, you save money, time and a bit of anxiety at the grocery store.

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MUGGLE_MOM 11/17/2011 8:11AM

    Great Blog MickeyMax!

There are an infinite number of roads to success. We just have to find the one that works for us. You are there Girlfriend! Keep it up. Your attitude rocks! That's right, what other people do may be good for them, but if its not for you, throw it out. Keep driving that bus! You are awesome!

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1CRAZYDOG 11/17/2011 8:08AM

    Good for you that you have adapted meal planning to suite YOU! THAT is what it's all about! Boy, I get "taking perfection off the plate" pun indeed! I tend towards perfectionism as well.

Exercise if my thing. I do not do all all my exercises @ once, but spread it out so it fits in my day. Works for me and I get my fitness minutes in!

Have a great Thursday and thanks for your blog! Strive for that "imperfect perfection!" LOL

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Ten Minutes to Freedom

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It started with just an afterthought. I felt good-- lighter and happier -- after I did the Wii in the evenings before I went to bed. It didn't take much to get my heart rate up and get that happy (yes, I am moving around) feeling to jump start my progress.

Those good feelings led me to expand my routine to doing just 10 minutes in the morning before I leave for work. Today was one of those mornings, where I thought, "ahhhh, sleep...." but instead I rolled out of bed and went to the living room. Just 10 minutes was all I needed, I told myself.

I am improving my tennis skills, so it took me a little more than 10 mins to lose my 3 out of 5 tennis match with a 2 game sweep. That is some serious progress. I used to whiz through about 10 losses in that time. ha! My volleys are turning into volleys. It is a beautiful thing!

After I passed the 10 min mark, I realized how easy for me it will be to inch up in my time, while barely noticing a difference. Today was 12 minutes, but over time, I can see how my 30 mins in the evening is multiplying to something more. It is becoming easier, and it is becoming a routine. I am approaching the "just do it" theme. I mean, I do still think about it, but I know I want to do it, and I have a why. I am seeing progress in how I feel, and I am also lopping the pounds off.

I am not completely depriving myself, but I am making significantly better choices. The whole package is starting to come together. I am able to get in and out of the car more easily (THAT was getting embarrassing), and I am able to move around more without getting as winded. I am feeling less cranky, and able to keep my quick temper to a low roar. It's kind of surprising the way your whole body can work together like that. I never really thought of it as one integrated system.

My 10 minutes in the morning is a just a start. But, it is, a really good start.

What was your jumping off point, sparkies?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRISNA 11/17/2011 8:46AM

    I think Ginger has been a big help for me to make sure I take a walk at least once a day. Even if it is only a 15 minute walk at least we are getting outside . We both enjoy it so much. She gets so excited about her walks especially if DH goes with us. Sometimes Patrick takes her for an extra one. Having a dog makes you realize we need to live in the moment and enjoy our time together. We didn't go yesterday due to thunderstorms so I have to walk her twice today.


Comment edited on: 11/17/2011 8:46:58 AM

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TEDDYBEARGIRL 11/16/2011 11:56AM

    Scheduleing a walking time 4 days a week with my mom so I cant use the excure of i am too tired, hurting too much etc....she expects me to pick her up and we go walk so if I did not have that i probably would not be walking like I am now.

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_KATHY 11/16/2011 9:13AM

    Don't you love it when a plan comes together? I'm feeling the same way. And yes, it sure does make me less cranky LOL

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DOODIE59 11/16/2011 8:31AM

    To start is crucial! Exercising twice a day will lift your spirits twice a day, so you've got something good going on:)

Have another great day!

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The Story of How I Grew Up

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I am making choices one at a time.

Last night DH asked me if I wanted the pumpkin muffins. I had bought these for him a few days ago, and while he was initially excited to have them, it turns out he ate one and had a container with 3 remaining.

When he asked me if I wanted them, I turned him down. He threw them out. Now, once upon a time, I might have given a different response, (and quite possibly taken the container out of the trash) and I am pretty sure there were several times this week, when I thought, "I want a muffin" - but I bought them for him, and I did not want to renege or make it seem like I had anything but excellent intentions (without ulterior motives)....

Muffin love or not, I am starting to make better choices one at a time. Last night, it was no to the muffins. Today, it was the decision to use the "spare" 10 minutes this morning to work out with the wii, instead of vegging in front of the morning news. I've been thinking that just 10 mins is enough to get my heart rate elevated, and it will improve my morning mood if I just jump around a bit.

Down the road, I can see this number growing, but for now, 10 mins was just fine. It was good to know that my muscles, and circulation were already jumpstarted before I got into the car for my 1 hour long commute. (although, admittedly this morning, I was a little over zealous on the gas pedal and chopped off 15 mins from the ride.)

Each good choice helps me to build my success and momentum to the next task. I am happy with my progress and aware that staying positive helps me to keep going. I am making good strides! Woo hoo!

Have a great day, sparkies! Where do you see progress?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BAKERBARBARA 11/17/2011 10:49PM

    Wow!!!...Willpower! I wish I had some of that!!! I would've eaten all 3 muffins!! Keep up the good work!!

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PATRISNA 11/17/2011 9:00AM

    I am glad you didn't eat the muffins. My "food" choices this last week of the challenge did me in and I gained back 4 pounds. So lesson learned. I need to walk past the tempting things that are seasonal.

emoticon Mickey!

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KKINNEA 11/15/2011 12:29PM

    That's great progress! I love when I can make good, small choices.

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SARAWALKS 11/15/2011 11:04AM

    emoticon Sometimes I need to do that 10-minute thing, rather than "nothing at all because I haven't time to do more."
and the muffin thing really hits home!
I freeze them...you have to PLAN to thaw a muffin... emoticon

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BESTCK 11/15/2011 9:52AM

    Every good choice leads us to a more positive future. You're doing so great. You inspire me.

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    This is so great that you are forming such a permanent new lifestyle! It probably hurt for a moment or two, not having that muffin, but so worth it in the long run, huh? emoticon

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ANIHAKA 11/15/2011 8:30AM

    With me it's veggng whilst watching soaps. Good on you for not eating those muffins believe me I know the feeling.

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MUGGLE_MOM 11/15/2011 8:27AM

    Gotta love your time with the Wii! What a great way to start your day! Once you do something so nice for yourself, the rest of the day falls into place just a little easier. I think your 10 minute rule is awesome. In my goals for the upcoming week, I promised myself 10 minutes of activity 6 days this week.

I am even more impressed with all the other choices you are making to put you first. I love the muffin story. You are so worth every choice and every effort. A Spark Buddy of mine once told me that we have to give up who we thought we were to become the person that we were meant to be. You are totally Rockin' this journey!

Huge Kudos to you!

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DIFROMWYOMING 11/15/2011 8:15AM

    As I sit here vegging in front of the morning news...I am wondering where I can fit in 10 minutes to start my day.... emoticon

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DOODIE59 11/15/2011 8:05AM

    Ten minutes is GREAT! Especially when it is the start of something big:) Baby steps will get you there. Ten minutes is enough to be a mood lifter and a fabulous way to start the day off right. You could watch the news WHILE doing ten minutes of jumping jacks, or jogging on the sport or waist whittlers ... I find focusing on something else really helpful:)

Congratulations on making the right decision ... one day at a time.

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Seeing Progress

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seeing is believing.

Whether it is the number on the scale or the ability to actually get out of the car without calling for help, it is nice to see an improvement. I am really trying. I notice a turnaround in my attitude where I actually want to make an improvement in myself and it is making a difference.

I'll admit it. I gave up a while back, and while I thought that giving up would equal things as same 'ol same 'ol - what it did actually was depress me. It made me feel unable to move and create change. Well, duh. It took me to move past that point to actually do something different. Well now I am watching what I stick in my mouth, tracking it, and doing better things for myself.

I am exercising nearly nightly with the Wii. I am not sitting at my desk continually. I am making changes in all facets of my life. I am doing things a bit differently and I am seeing good results.

Baby steps, sparkies are good, but most importantly for me - steps are steps. Don't do nothing and expect things to change. You've got to start somewhere, and that is what I am doing. Starting somewhere!

Taking action matters!

Have a happy day, sparkies!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINTPICKER 11/15/2011 6:24AM

    You are right! step by step.

I just need to get my steps going!

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DIFROMWYOMING 11/14/2011 8:23PM

    Love it! Steps really are steps....keep going!

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 11/14/2011 4:38PM

    Making changes is what it's all about--and sticking with those changes, even when you don't feel like it! YOU GO GIRL!!!!

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DOODIE59 11/14/2011 4:26PM

    Steps are steps is right!!

Also an important concept to remember -- a fellow sparker wrote of the importance of making the right choice. The good ones support your goals; the bad ones block progress.

One step at a time will get you where you want to go, Mickey.

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KELLYDRESCHER 11/14/2011 2:48PM


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TEDDYBEARGIRL 11/14/2011 12:35PM


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BESTCK 11/14/2011 12:28PM

    Isn't it just the best feeling when you can say, "Hey! I couldn't do that before and now I can?" It's way better than some number on a scale. You're awesome. Keep steppin'.

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KKINNEA 11/14/2011 11:57AM

    Exactly, great analysis!

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 11/14/2011 11:43AM

    Amen! those baby steps are what have made all the difference! emoticon

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MAMADWARF 11/14/2011 11:28AM

    Awesome! Progress!!!!!!

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CIVIAV 11/14/2011 11:22AM

    Yeah baby!

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SARAWALKS 11/14/2011 10:58AM

    Steps Are Steps! I love it. Yes, that's the important thing! I always enjoy reading your blogs about your steps, mostly forward, sometimes in place, sometimes back, but you are ALWAYS really moving forward in that process. Very cool!
ROCK ON! emoticon

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I am Improving

Friday, November 11, 2011

Look at me go! That's what I want to shout in the mirror!

The couch potato is turning into a wii monster (again).

I am craving tennis, bowling and baseball, especially baseball.

I re-tested my wii fitness age tonight, and it's 26 (it was 25) woo hoo I will take it.

What I am doing is not for everyone, but is the beauty of life - you get to carve your own path.

I am in a very good place right now, and I don't intend to stay here. I aim to keep moving and changing. I am happy and under my own power.

Woo hoo!

Be yourself, sparkies! It is who you were meant to be!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LITTLEFARMMOMMA 11/14/2011 10:05AM

    Ahh! I just wanted to stand up and cheer emoticonwhen I got to the end of this blog! Keep it up, and keep sparking! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JGMK55 11/13/2011 5:06PM

    emoticon Keep up the great work!

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LINTPICKER 11/13/2011 8:10AM

    AWESOME!! move it move it move it!!

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JUNEBUG1944 11/12/2011 11:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOODIE59 11/12/2011 5:14PM

    Way to go, Mickey -- you've got the right spirit:)

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BESTCK 11/12/2011 12:03PM

    So true, Mickey. We all have to do it our own way. It's the only way.


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PINKAMBER18 11/12/2011 8:40AM

    You are amazing! Way to go!

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SUZWARNR 11/12/2011 7:00AM

    Yay this is so awesome! Go you! Keep enjoying those wii games! :)

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MUGGLE_MOM 11/12/2011 6:17AM

    Rock that Wii Girlfriend!
Drive your bus! Carve your path!
Be exactly who you were meant to be!
Whooo Hoooo!!!!!

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_KATHY 11/12/2011 12:01AM

    I'll add my emoticonMakes me wonder if I can do the Wii yet at my weight

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DIFROMWYOMING 11/11/2011 11:30PM


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SUPERMOUSE35 11/11/2011 11:29PM


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KKINNEA 11/11/2011 11:12PM

    Love it - rock on, Wii monster!

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TEDDYBEARGIRL 11/11/2011 10:50PM

    The Wii games are fun......I just dont own one.....have fun!!!!!!

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