Sunday, 24 February 2013

One Week in Sarah's Kitchen: Learnings

After posting what I eat for a week I thought it'd be worth summarising my thoughts and what I've learnt. Here are the top 10:

-1 The number one for me has to be the quotation 'don't let perfect be the enemy of good' that stems from Voltaire. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and very all or nothing. So often I've eaten one thing not on my plan and it's spiralled into a night or even a weekend of naughty treats. This weeks food is by no means perfect, but I'm not an athlete looking for a competition body. I'm just an office based professional who wants to be reasonably fit and healthy. This approach is achievable for me and that is what is important. I am sure I could get better results by taking it further but at the moment I don't think I'd be able to stick to it. Plus I quite like the idea of having some contingency so if I stopped exercising as much or my metabolism took a nose dive as I got older there is further I could go.
-2 The second key thing that for me helps massively is planning:
- planning my meals a week in advance (every Friday night)
- planning and buying my shopping in advance
- planning and preparing as much food as possible at the weekend and on a daily basis the night before
- once I have my plan and make my mind up I can ignore others who try and tempt me with sweets and treats
-3 The next thing that helps me is accountability. It really makes me think twice about giving in to cravings so posting every day has been good for me
-4 That my planning needs to be flexible. Even on a particularly stressful week at work I am pleased with the way I pretty much stuck to my food plan and that I managed to fit in 4 sets of exercise and some walking. Again making sure that 'perfect isn't the enemy of good' is important. I need to make sure I make the best choices possible when when circumstances mean I can't stick to the plan.
-5 A treat meal a week helps me stick to eating cleanly the rest of the week. I like having something I really want to look forward to. Preemptive treat meals and if necessary cheats help prevent me from over eating or making bad choices eg having a latte so I don't get pudding envy when eating out with others
-6 When I eat well I like the light feeling I get and the way my body reacts. I have in the past confused this like feeling for hunger. I guess as I was so used to feeling bloated or stuffed.
-7 I find it really hard to eat well when I'm stressed and have to focus even more on the above at these times.
-8 I must 'make time' rather than 'find time' for exercise and relaxation. Apparently the Obama's get up super early everyday to make time to exercise together. If they can manage that when running a country as big as America I don't see that I have any excuse! Even if I can't make time for a long gym session then I can do circuits or sprints at home or in the park and find a way to work in plenty of walking.
-9 Relaxation is another critical factor in leading a healthy lifestyle and I don't make enough time for it. I need to find a way to make time for more meditation and relaxation.
-10 Overall, this is a style of eating and living that I have been broadly sticking to for about 6 months now. I can see it as something that is sustainable for me as a lifestyle moving forwards and a way to life a healthier lifestyle without feeling deprived or constantly on a diet.

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