Each and every day, we have to make thousands of decisions from what clothes to wear, to what plans we make with friends and family, what we will eat, how many times, and when. This can result to an overload of decisions, which can perpetuate poor decision making when it comes to food and consistency with exercise.

One strategy that has really helped me maintain my weight for several years is making eating and fitness decisions ahead of time. Let’s start with exercise. In this digital age, apps are all the rage and of course there is one for fitness. My mind-body app (love that name) lists all the classes for the upcoming week and I book ahead of time.

When I see classes filling up, it motivates me to book even further to protect that coveted spot when class time comes. Also, when scheduling a class ahead of time, I also make it a point to reach out to a gym buddy to see if they are going to increase my chances of attendance. We often times save spots for each other, so cancelling again, is not an option.

At my indoor cycling studio our favorite instructor books are out weeks ahead of time so grabbing that bike is a wise idea, and consequently, the likelihood of cancelling is low. For the workouts that don’t find themselves on my trusted app, I write down in my calendar ahead of time to also ensure that it gets done. I always book my outdoor runs ahead of time in my planner and I ensure that I have my gym clothes on at the start of the day, to honor my own commitment.

Exercise then, is really  non-negotiable, just like any other personal meeting, or night out. When I don’t plan, I often succumb to everything but moving my body.

Moving on to food. Again, so many decisions each day for food. On Sundays my husband and I plan meals, shop for those meals, and cook them, barring any major changes, which helps us stay in line with our eating goals for the week.

When this doesn’t happen, inevitably I find myself ordering a pizza, or scarfing down mini wheats, or weighing the ultimate choice of my kids’ uneaten mac n’ cheese or bagel bites. Same with lunches. It’s important to pack a health lunch in advance to avoid eating out and consuming larger portions than necessary.

Planning in advance is one less decision I have to make for the next day. I have noticed when I work from home, I am not as disciplined as is the case when I work at my office and my food decisions are poor. In writing this blog am asserting the need to make my breakfast and lunch decisions ahead of time, maybe even pack them as one that is leaving the house. It is so tempting to graze and make poor decisions all day long when you work from home.

Another area that I have found helpful to plan for, is the area of social drinking. Did you know one drink or shot can have up to, if not more than, 200 calories easy. Even a night of moderation can help pack on a few pounds without even noticing it. Consequently, if you are going out and planning to drink responsibly, a strategy ahead of time is important.

One strategy I implement is the 1-2 drink rule and large waters in between.  I won’t let myself order another drink until I consume the water, or having a soda water with lime often does the trick as well. Also, I make it a point to focus on the guest versus the food or drinks. Make the conversation and laughs the focal point.

I have also realized that you will still have to make the decision to honor the decision ahead of time, but you may find that less stressful, than succumbing to the temptations when you don’t. All the negative emotions that come up when you don’t give into these urges can be the focal point of coaching work. Till next time, remember to make daily plans in advance and stick to them! Complimentary mini-sessions are available, grab your spot at ~mindyourstrength.com!

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