30,000-39,999 SparkPoints 37,962

My Third Change: Weekly Meal Planning and Cooking

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Since I joined SP, I knew that there is no "Free Ride" for loosing weight. Although I was loosing weight just by drinking a green smoothie for breakfast and doing 10 minutes of cardio workout, I knew that sooner or later I would have to follow a food program. Therefore, I started preparing for that third change in my journey.
Something that I like, among many others, from SP, is that the plans should fit in our lifestyles and not the other way around. I was never good at keeping a journal for more than 10 days. I felt that keeping track of my eating habits was not going to work for me, so I didn't even try. It was enough to know that I have a lot of weight because I had bad eating habits and I was eating a lot of junk food.
Planning was another story. I'm always carrying a list with me: things to buy, to do, etc. Instead of tracking, I decided that I was going to plan weekly menus in advance. Planning was going to help me to make more nutritive choices, to keep the calorie intake in check, to try new recipes and foods, etc.
In preparation for my third change, I started gathering my personal recipes and the SP recipes in my recipe collection. I was also learning to use all the tools of the tracker efficiently. I learned, for example, how to add basic meals, from the Mix and Match, to the Food Tracker. I learned to group, copy, and add to the favorites category. Something very interesting, was to see that the report may transfer the information to Excel.
I started writing menus in little pieces of paper where I entered the same green smoothie for breakfast for the 7 days, 3 different main meals that I repeated 4 times each, and 4 different snacks that I repeated through the week. I included a meal with eggs and left blank one meal that was going to be my cheating meal of the week.
Then, I practiced entering the menus to the tracker. I made modifications depending on the calories range. Although I wanted to see how many mgs of sodium and potassium were contained in the meals, it was not possible because the content in the data base is not accurate.
Once the menu for a week was in place, I copied all the recipes and ingredients needed for the menu, from the tracker to Word, and printed. In no more than 3 double sided pieces of paper I had the menu, recipes, and shopping list required for the week.
I noticed that the shopping list was going to be a great helper for gathering all the ingredients that I was going to use during the batch cooking day, because I had it sorted by veggies, fruits, condiments, baking products, etc.
I was having a lot of fun practicing the planning until the day that reality struck me when the scale showed that I have gained 4 ounces! I couldn't wait any longer, it was time to act.
I've been cooking for two weeks now following the weekly plans. The planning is being helping me to save time and money. It's also helping me to keep my calorie intake in the range. And as a bonus, the only thing that I have to do at the end of the day or the week is to run the report for the tracking, in case that I want the SP points.
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