The current situation has been a challenge for all of us for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest challenges for many of our patients is how to stay on track when your world is upside down. We are used to the rush of the work day, meetings, scheduled events, school pick up, etc. to structure our days. Meal times have their place in there as well.
But what happens when most of that stops? How do we stay on track when the track seems to have disappeared? Here are some ideas to help you find structure in your days.
- Plan your day the night before. Don’t wait until your morning to figure out what you’re going to do for the day. The best way to sail a ship is with a charted course. You don’t want to set out and just be blown by the wind without a plan. YOU want to be in charge of where you go. Every night map out what your goals are for the next day, what obligations you have, and those of your children, if applicable. Create a schedule for these items. Sure, you could wing it, but when you lay out a schedule, you create structure that will help you feel in control of your day and can help you get more accomplished.
- Plan your meals for the week on Saturday. We all know that we tend to make poorer choices when we leave our food choices to what we feel like at the moment or what’s in the fridge. Plan and write out in your calendar what your meals will be for the week. Make sure you have what you need for groceries and get them over the weekend so you are prepared. Remember the adage: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
- Stick with your eating plan. Keeping things as much the same as possible is very helpful not only for your mental health, but for your physical health and weight maintenance/weight loss as well. While your favorite brand of lettuce or your favorite cut of meat may not be as readily available as they usually are, most of us can still find lean proteins and fresh vegetables. Frozen vegetables are a fine substitute as well. Avoid using the circumstance as an excuse to eat processed carbs, snack throughout the day, and drink high calorie beverages. The circumstances have not changed what is good for you and how you should be eating. It is one of the few things you can control right now so be sure you are.
- Don’t tempt yourself. If you find yourself wandering into the pantry because the nebulous nature of your day is getting the better of you, make sure you won’t find things there that will tempt you. Keep only food that is healthful and you will find yourself less likely to stray from your plan.
- Try to hold fast. Remember fasting between meals is the best way to lose weight and maintain weight loss. A consistent influx of food from snacking just delivers a continuous stream of calories, putting your body in a constant storage mode. If you feel like you have to snack, choose some cut up vegetables like cucumbers that will not provide much in the way of calories but might satisfy that desire to chew. Sucking on ice is another good option, as is a cup of decaf tea.
- Schedule exercise daily. The gyms are closed, but there are lots of options for exercising at home! Make sure you schedule this into your calendar every day! Check out USA Today’s “25 ways to take your favorite workout classes at home.”
- Count your blessings. There is no better way to create a positive mindset than to count one’s blessings. Focus on what you are grateful for, and vow to make the best of each day. Hang in there — you can do this!