The week before we started P90X I paged through the Nutrition Plan. It listed your meals and snacks for each day, along with recipes for each meal. Very detailed, very helpful. For someone who works from home or is a stay at home mom, this plan would probably work out well. However, when you have an hour commute in the morning, ninety-minute commute in the afternoon and a significant other who leaves the house an hour before you do – it makes cooking three meals a day a little difficult.
We did quite a bit of brainstorming and deciding what would be the best way to make the plan work for us and not against us. By the time I get home from work it’s 6:30pm. Tack on about 90 minutes to two hours (workout + cooldown walk) on to that, and we’re already at 8-8:30pm. It’s LATE. There’s no way I’d want to spend time in the kitchen cooking dinner, let alone eat dinner that late. We go to bed between 9:30 and 10 (4:45am comes really fast!) so stuffing our faces that close to bed time just isn’t ideal.
In the end it came down to us having our biggest meal of the day at lunch time. We’d each be responsible for our own breakfasts and snacks. Lunch was planned out the weekend before so there was never a question. Dinner is a protein shake. Necessary for proper post-workout recovery, but not too heavy to head to bed soon after drinking it. If it was a particularly hard workout or we’re still hungry afterwards, we have a salad with grilled chicken. Yeah, it might not work for everyone – but it works for us.
As I mentioned yesterday, I spend most of the morning and early afternoon on Sundays in the kitchen cooking up our food for the week. I portion out meals into containers so they are grab-and-go when we’re leaving for work in the morning. Last week we had Turkey Meatballs in Pomodoro Sauce with Garden Delight Pasta, Stuffed Bruschetta Turkey Burgers, Whole Wheat Couscous with Garlic & Herb Feta and Grape Tomatoes, Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins, and Zucchini Bread. I also made a low-fat ranch from scratch to use for salads. It was a busy day, but it beats eating Lean Cuisines for lunch and starving the rest of the afternoon. I’d rather make the breakroom jealous of my lunch as opposed to wondering what exactly is in that frozen lunch that makes it edible until 2014.
I had to make a clean break from coffee, for now at least. Drinking coffee causes me to skip breakfast because it fills me up. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so the java had to go. I drank unsweetened iced tea the first couple days to wean myself off the caffeine and it hasn’t bothered me since. Oddly enough, since I stopped drinking coffee I quit my mindless snacking throughout the day. I blame it on the Sweet n Low.
Another huge (HUGE!) step was reducing the amount of sugar in our diet. We purged our pantry of every item which had more than 6g of sugar per serving (with the exception of protein bars). Um, holy shit – there is so much sugar in EVERYTHING! That was an eye-opener. I think Brad lost 5 boxes of cereal in the process, although I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Frosted Mini-Wheats? Ahem. I’ve been using Xagave both for baking and in my hot/iced tea.
Last but not least, we allow ourselves one cheat meal. Notice I didn’t say cheat DAY. No need to throw caution to the wind for the entire day. On Sunday we have our choice of splurging on breakfast, lunch or dinner. I’ve gotta say, this has been an incredible help through the past couple weeks. You don’t feel like you’re being deprived because you know if there’s something you’re craving, you can have it on Sunday.
The whole process has been a bit of an adjustment, but it’s all for the best. I think this works out better for us than counting points or calories. I’d rather work on portion size and quality of food than try to survive on Lean Pockets because they have the right amount of calories. What it comes down to is: you want to lose weight? Stop eating crap! So that’s what we’re doing.