If you have ever been a girl scout or a boy scout, you know the motto: BE PREPARED! Being prepared can keep you in the driver’s seat, rather than being in the seat where you are being driven. It is much better to be in control of circumstances instead of circumstances controlling you. The corporate types callings being “proactive” rather than reactive. Proactive helps with your healthy lifestyle as well. What does being proactive or prepared entail? First of all it involves the ability to look ahead and prepare for the events that are coming your way.
If you want to lose weight, you need to be able to make sure you are eating properly and tilt the scales in your favor (no pun intended). I spent 10 years as a flight attendant and you learn to be a scout and be prepared. That means packing a bathing suit even if you have a layover in New York in December just because you could get rerouted and be sent to overnight in Miami. That also meant having your own little medicine kit of aspirin, decongestant, Midol, cough drops, etc. It meant taking a paperback along on trips for those times when flights were delayed, this was in the days before Kindles and iPads.
You learn to maximize your time. If you are on the ground for 2 or 3 hours some place, you could plan to go to the quiet room and snooze or go to the lounge and get caught up with phone calls. If you were on a layover in a particular city and you wanted to visit a store, or site, you’d get up with enough time to go and get back to the hotel in time to check in for your return flight. It is all about using your time wisely. We would have to plan how to serve meals to 300 people in 55 minutes and be prepared for landing. It was all about being aware of what you needed to accomplish and where you are now versus where you needed to be an hour later to get the job done. Learning how to think like this has made me a proactive person. I try to always think ahead when it comes to my fitness and my food intake.
I am fortunate at present that I do not have to travel and have that challenge in my daily mix, but nevertheless, I still make huge attempts to be prepared. I normally know what I am going to eat the next day, so I can plan for changes or interruptions. The goal is not to get caught off guard and be hungry and have to “grab something”, which is just about guaranteed to be not nutritionally sound and have too much fat, sodium and calories. Whenever in the position to grab something, I notice that my options aren’t nearly as good as if I had something in my briefcase or tote bag to hold off the hunger. Because I eat smaller meals though out the day, then I have to refill my tank more often. Some of you may eat just 3 meals a day with no snacks, so this won’t be as much of a problem for you. I am a petite female, so it is easy to run out of fuel rather quickly.
To be a scout, to be proactive, I always make sure that I have what I call my “emergency rations” with me. If I am at a day job, I will have apples, granola bars and other things at my beck and call when the hunger pangs strike. Because my normal eating style is very predictable, I make sure that if I have a deviation in my schedule, that my lunch or dinner is with me. When being away from my kitchen at noon, I will have a brown bag, so that I can eat quickly* and restore my energy level. If I have a class after work, I have my dinner that I can eat in the car on the way. Yes, this is extra trouble, but it is worth it to meet your daily goals without blowing your diet.
*Just a little note about eating quickly, yes, this is not a good habit and it is not good for you. It takes the brain 20 minutes to register that there is food in the stomach. If you eat quickly you are likely to over do it and eat too much before your brain registers it. I can wolf down food very quickly for two reasons: 1) When I was a flight attendant, we often times only had 2 minutes literally to eat before the plane landed, so if we wanted to eat, you ate in 2 minutes or went hungry. 2) I can maximize a lunch hour by eating and running multiple errands. I have a lifetime of experience of being able to gobble food. I try not to do it when I have time, like when at home or getting to actually dine rather than fuel the tank, but have been trained to do this for years. This doesn’t excuse the behavior, but this is how I work around it.
Plan ahead, this is a great skill to develop in 2011 if you haven’t already done so. Take your lunch, have your emergency fruit, granola bars or carrots and celery nearby. Look at your day and your week and see where you need to plan ahead and make those visits to the gym. You may need to spend a night in the kitchen preparing little take along meals because for the next two nights you have other plans and things that must be done. Learn to evaluate where you are versus where you need to be and then equip yourself for your diet so that you will be in control. Learn to look at your calendar to best be prepared and to fit in all the things that are important to you so you can get the most out of life!