During the month of February (and the first few days of March), we completed the Whole30. It was fabulous.
It made a difference in our energy, our sleep, and our taste buds.
April had some rough spots.
Spots covered in Cheetos and fried foods and coffee after noon.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?!?!?!?
Habits don’t develop overnight.
They don’t magically fall out of the sky, onto our plates,
smiling at us forevermore.
I believe habits develop through self-control.
The beautiful thing is we can’t develop self-control on our own.
Our flesh won’t have it. Why exhibit self-control in the face of all you can eat buffets and chemically altered, processed foods that taste amazing in comparison to their bland, natural counterparts? I mean really? Where are you going to find the tasty pizzazz of a Cheeto in nature?
So where is the beauty?
It reminds me of what I need to stay reminded of.
I can’t have self-control without God.
In my own strength, I succumb to the temptations of a first world country.
Consumption. Consumption. Consumption.
In His strength, I humble myself to be honest about what
I need to change and why.
I went back to using the Meal Planner.
A meal planner is a beautiful thing. It helps my self-control because I have planned, prepared for, and purchased specifically for, the meal plan.
When I’m painfully honest, if we don’t have a meal plan it’s because
I was too lazy to make one.
Meal planning once was difficult for me. There were inaccurate assumptions that caused stress and unrealistic budget expectations. For this Wellness Wednesday, I want to share some of what I have learned in how to create a good, realistic, weekly meal plan.
Get a notebook.
- Something you can remove and add pages too easily. A three ring binder would be perfect. (I personally love the Staples Arc system)
- Have Two Tabs. Tab one for the weekly meal plans, Tab two for recipes. Recipes that are delicious, easy, and fit our budget stay. Recipes that do not, get tossed.
- Keeping several weeks of meal planning in a notebook allows you to go back and USE the old meal plans. I can look back over a past month, taking something from each week, and have a new meal plan and shopping list created in ten minutes. On a hectic day, I can grab an old plan and shopping list, knowing we will stay on track with our nutrition that week.
There is no rule we need to eat something new and different Every. Single. Day.
- Leftovers are our friends. When you are planning your week’s meals, you have the opportunity to know which days may be hectic for you. Avoid sabotage by planning to cook double batches on the days before.
- I may try one new recipe a week, however, the expectation to cook all gourmet foods with a list of 75 ingredients (half of which you’ve never heard of before) is an expectation that will keep you chained to poor eating habits because it is UNREALISTIC.
- Pray for wisdom the Lord will show you what is realistic for YOU and YOUR FAMILY. If a spouse or older child helps prepare the meals, pray WITH THEM about this.
- I know in other countries people are starving, dying, from lack of food. While it seems silly to pray about something as trivial as a realistic meal plan in our country, if you are struggling in this area and constantly over-indulging (which I personally believe is a sin, one I still fall victim to and must cover in prayer and repentance), or you’re intentionally harming your body by eating things you KNOW are not good for you, then yes, PRAY OVER IT. Cover it in prayer and submit this area of your life to Him.
- Commit to Grocery Shopping Once a Week, ONLY BUYING WHAT IS ON THE MEAL PLAN
- You should be bringing home fresh produce. In my experience, trying to stock up on fresh produce to last longer than a week usually ends up with some of it going into the garbage. I’m not a fan of wastefulness.
- If going into a store and only buying what is on your list is a struggle, PRAY FOR SELF-CONTROL. Ask a friend whom you know and trust to go with you to help keep you accountable. This was another area I struggled in. It is extremely freeing and less stressful to go shopping as you develop the self-control to go into a store and stick to your plan and your budget. (PRAISE!)
- Don’t You Dare Not Use Your Meal Plan After All That
- Seriously. If you have taken the time to get your notebook, create your meal plan, shop according to your meal plan, why would you now decide to NOT USE YOUR PLAN?
- Do not grab anything off the dollar menu. Do not go through the pantry to make something completely different.
- Be honest with yourself about WHY you are tempted to not use your meal plan. Is it poor planning? Make a note so when you sit down to make next week’s plan you don’t repeat the same mistake. Is it laziness? Be honest. This is one I suffer from. I don’t feel like cooking. The truth is, IT IS PURE LAZINESS 9 times out of 10 when that’s my excuse. Is it bad time management? Take a honest hard look at your day and see what you need to change to not run into this situation again. Ask the Lord for strength to persevere through your commitment.
You cannot exercise without properly fueling your body.
You can’t properly fuel your body without self-control.
I believe a meal plan covered with prayer helps cultivate self-control. If you have never honestly stuck to a meal plan for more than a week, and you struggle in one or more of these areas, may I encourage you to commit to meal planning for one month? Test the theory and see how it will work for you and your family.
(If you’re asking why I didn’t go into nutritional details, the reality is, most of KNOW what is nutritious for our bodies and what is not. I recommend checking out the Whole30 shopping list found here on their website. Also, Intoxicated on Life has some great nutritional information as well. For me, making drastic changes for 30 days was what I needed, as I shared in my Whole30 journey. For others, smaller changes may be what will work best for you. If you honestly don’t have a clue how to make better nutritional choices, start with these two resources and go from there. :))
In Love & Faith,
This post is linked up for Wellness Wednesday. For the month of May our challenge was to eliminate unhealthy beverages. My commitment was not buying anymore soda and we have been without any soda in our house for a few weeks now! Come join the link up and check out the great health information you can find here. 🙂