Friday, October 15, 2010

Fuel It Up Friday - Tweaking for a Busy Schedule

Back a few months ago, before my blog steered off course, I did a post about the importance of eating 6 times a day.  I called that post Eat to Live, Don't Live to Eat.  It is a very extensive post, listing out the hows, whys, and whats of eating 6 meals a day.

This morning, I'm going to revamp that post.  Everything I said in the original post is 100% true - if you can do what I said, there, you should.  The only real discussion I'm going to have today is for the people that work in a situation where it's impossible to eat 3 or 4 meals during the day.

Up until August, I'd always been pretty lucky in regards to my jobs.  I worked in office type environments, where it was just fine for me to eat at my desk.  I ate breakfast before I left, ate a mid morning snack, ate lunch, afternoon snack, and then home for dinner.  Being a teacher, I no longer have that privilege.  I can't just eat whenever I feel like it - it's not possible - so I had to figure out a way to make it work.

I will start with breakfast.  I get up at 4am, I leave my house at 6am.  That's really plenty of time to eat a good breakfast.  Unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to eat that early.  I don't know why - I'm just not hungry.  I'm the kind of person that's not going to eat if I'm not hungry.  A benefit I have is that there's a school cafeteria ready and waiting to serve me breakfast once I get to work - not many others have that benefit.  So, if you're one of those people - what can you do?  Well, there are several options.  Some days I eat a fiber full granola bar - FiberOne, FiberPlus...something along those lines.  You would think that there would be no way a little granola bar would be very filling - but because of the fiber, they actually fill me up pretty well.  Protein shakes are another option.  I used to buy Myoplex Lite shakes - haven't drank one in a while - but they are pretty good, and full of the nutrients you need to start your day.  If you have time to eat breakfast, but not to prepare, opt for some oatmeal or a bowl of cereal.  The very best cereal I've found is Kashi has the same protein as an egg, lots of fiber to fill you up, and tastes great.

OK, so you've started your day off with breakfast - the best way to start the day.  Now, you're off to work, you don't get a break until lunch time, and you are in a job that doesn't allow you to eat a mid-morning snack - what can you do?  This is where not eating before 6am comes in to play for me.  If I know that I'm not going to eat again until 11 - I really don't want to eat my breakfast too early.  Eating breakfast at 7 gives me only 4 hours before I can eat again.  Unfortunately, there's really nothing you can do about it.  You might not be able to eat - but I haven't found any jobs that won't let you drink water.  That's what I do.  Between breakfast and lunch, I try to drink about 48ozs of water.  Water helps curb your appetite, and is a VITAL ingredient in losing weight.  If you find that you get hungry, try drinking a protein shake.  Those handy little shakes are basically liquefied meals - so they are an AWESOME alternative to actually eating.  If you're allowed to drink, but not eat - then opt for a protein shake or just stick to water. 

Now it's lunch time.  Currently, I'm lucky enough to have a break from 11 - 1:15.  I get 2 1/2 hours to think about the rest of my day.  That will change next week, but right now I'm taking advantage of having such a long time.  I eat lunch at 11.  For lunch I try to have a good meal - soup and a sandwich, protein and rice, leftovers from the night before.  Because my schedule is so quirky, I know that I need a good lunch to give me sustenance to last the entire day.  I wouldn't suggest eating something like a side salad or just a sandwich - you'll be very hungry again in no time and that will be a problem. 

I know at 1:15, I only have an hour and fifteen minutes before the school day ends - but then I'm going to be at the school for a while, so it's possible that I won't eat again until dinner time.  That being the case, I eat a snack about 1pm.  I go for something light - a fat-free yogurt, a small serving of almonds, or some baby carrots.  If you're like most people and only get 30 minutes to an hour for lunch, then this option isn't really feasible for you...and another reason why you should get a good lunch in.  During the afternoon hours, if you can't eat a snack, repeat the plan from the morning - drink water or a protein shake. 

I don't eat again until dinner time, which is about 5pm in my house.  I then eat a snack about 7.  My rule is to not eat after 8pm.  The evening snack is usually some fruit, maybe some almonds, a yogurt, or something along those lines - again, not heavy. 

If you're reading this post and thinking - OK, she's not eating 6 times a day anymore...then, you're absolutely right.  In a perfect world, I would be eating 6 times a day.  I stand by what my original post says - eating 6 small meals a day is the best way to really lose weight.  For many people, now including myself, we just don't have that option.  That doesn't mean we don't try our best and do what we can.  We eat when we can, we still plan ahead, we make our situation work - whatever the situation may be.  During the week, I have no choice but to eat three meals a day and two snacks...that's not exactly a huge leap from my original plan.  I don't eat the portions of protein, carbs, and fats at each meal like I should - but again, doing what I can.  The real point is exactly that - you do what you can. As long as you're being conscience about what you're eating, drinking LOTS of water, and not coming home starving - then you'll be just fine.  If you find that you are coming home starving, and over-eating at dinner time because of it, then you need to figure out what's going wrong.  The worst thing you can do is over-eat at night...over-eat at anytime really.  If it's happening to you - really take a look at what you're eating during the day.  Are you getting a good breakfast?  Are you eating a good lunch?  When do you start to feel hungry?  How much water are you drinking?  I guarantee if you really look at those questions, you'll find where you need to make your "tweaks".

"Everyone has their own set of rules in the game of life.  Everyone has different obstacles that they need to overcome.  I know that my way of overcoming my obstacles may be different to others - but I there is no rule that says I can't share my strategies to help them win."
Till next time.  ;)

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