Hi friends! It’s crazy to think about how much life has changed for me over the past 7 months.
I went from working full-time and commuting 2+ hours per day
to then juggling 2 part-time jobs and my private practice
to now working 100% in my business.
Life gets crazy sometimes. For me it has been my job and schedule, but I know other women out there are dealing with all sorts of work, family, stress and job craziness as well. So I wanted to share how my nutrition has changed over the past 7 months as I’ve tried to embrace changes in my schedule.
I know many women are really hard on themselves when they fall out of their nutrition and fitness routine. While it’s great to get into a groove with healthy eating and exercise, it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world if things fall get off track.
A struggle for me over the past 7 months is managing my nutrition, physical health and mental health all with a changing schedule. No two days are ever the same, and it’s easy to feel out of control with nutrition and meals during times like these.
Here are some common themes with my nutrition and how I’ve adapted recently:
Less Large Meals, More Snacks
I used to be a breakfast, lunch and dinner girl and would snack if I got hungry in between meals. But now that I don’t have someone holding me accountable to a 8-5 schedule, I find myself reaching for smaller items throughout the day instead of 3 structured meals. This is especially true for lunch when I am working from home.
I find a lot of women feel like they are sabotaging themselves when they snack, or they feel guilty when they have a snack and then get hungry and hour or two later. I will admit that I struggled at first with the concept of not having perfectly structured meals. But some days it just works out to randomly have a string cheese stick and and apple, and a few hours later having a piece of peanut butter toast, and a few hours later drinking a glass of milk, etc. Nutrition is what works for you and makes you feel good.
I was previously using the dining room table as my office, which meant I was sitting beside the kitchen all day. This meant to a lot of *mindless* or *stress* snacking. It’s so important to identify emotional eating and finding healthy ways to cope with this. Moving my office upstairs was a great solution to this. This not only decreased my mindless snacking, but it also made me more productive.
And I feel perfectly comfortable accepting snacks in place of meals and trusting when I am hungry.
Eating When I’m Hungry
When I worked in the hospital, I always had the same schedule with when I saw patients, ate lunch and then charted. While a routine is great for many things, eating at the same time everyday was based off of external cues (my schedule, the feeling of it being “lunch time”) instead of internal cues (my hunger). Some people may find themselves getting hungry at the same time each day, but it’s completely normal for hunger cues to change from day to day, too.
I have started putting more emphasis on just eating when I’m hungry, not when I think it should be time for me to eat. In hindsight, I wish I would have embraced internal cues dictating meal times in my old hospital job because I had the flexibility in my schedule to mostly eat when I wanted.
Eating out of Self-Care
So. There are a few times when I do eat when I’m not hungry, and I call this eating out of self-care.
There may be times when I am not hungry in the moment, but I know I’m getting ready to walk into a situation where I won’t be able to eat for several hours- seeing 3 clients back-to-back from 4-7pm is a perfect example. Eating a small snack before the first appointment, even when I’m not too hungry, is what I like to do to keep myself from feeling ravenous when I’m done with my last appointment. This is where mindful eating comes into play because I’m much better off eating a snack when I’m not hungry than trying to catch up to my hunger when my appointments are over.
Sometimes eating out of self-care is better for the bigger picture because it helps us feel our best.
More Communication with About Meal Planning
It was really easy for the meal planning responsibilities to fall on me when I worked in the hospital due to logistics. I always got off of work before B and generally had an evening without any obligations. Now my schedule is open for client appointments on Tues, Wed and Thurs evenings, which means B helps out with dinners if I’m coming home late.
Each Sunday, B and I take about 10 minutes to compare our calendars and decide who is going to take the reigns with cooking dinner each night. This is also when we make our grocery list. There’s a pretty good mix of who takes over and what we cook, and it really just depends on our schedules.
Our most simple dinner is broiled salmon with a side of asparagus, and that’s always in rotation for nights when we don’t want to cook a complicated dinner. Making pasta with chicken sausage and mixed vegetables is another simple one- you probably see it on my insta stories a lot! I like to use lentil pasta for added fiber and protein, and changing up the proteins and veggies is a great way to feel like the dish is ‘new’ and not repetitive.
If it looks like we are both going to have a hectic day and get off really late then we will usually swing by Zoe’s for a quick dinner after work or we’ll pick up sushi on the way home.
Give Yourself Grace
There are some days when things don’t go as planned. Exercise falls to the wayside, or maybe dinner ends up being Wendy’s. Yes, I’m a dietitian and I also have those types of days.
It’s easy to feel guilty and even shameful in these situations, but let’s all give ourselves some grace. Life happens. Eating a meal in that moment and leaving your feelings with that meal is a great way to separate emotions from food. Leaving those emotions with that meal (instead of punishing yourself at another meal) is mentally refreshing.
Have you ever experienced a time when your schedule, life or stress got in the way of your meal plans?
Any healthy coping tips? I’d love to hear about them!