At one time, my meals were totally routine and predictable.  I had just finished college and lived at home.  Each day, i would have breakfast at 6:30AM. Before leaving for work, I would pack a brown bagged lunch.  I would throw in a sandwich, fresh veggies, fresh fruit, crackers, and a granola bar.  I would then drive to work and start my work day around 8AM.  Lunch usually went from 12-1PM or so.  I would save the crackers or granola bar for an afternoon snack around 3PM.

I would workout on the way home.  I typically got the the gym by 530PM and returned home for 7PM dinner.  I was fortunate that my parents cooked dinner and it was typically well balanced and healthy.

During this time, I was in pretty good shape.  I had energy most of the day.  I felt good about my strong body and mind.

After some time, I changed jobs and moved out.  Working in an outside sales job without a distinct start and end time changed up my routine.  I would almost always sleep in until the last minute.  I would then grab a granola bar and piece of fruit on the go.  Lunch varied depending on the appointments I had that day.  I would get home and either cook or eat something conveniently quick.  Do you know what happened?

I gained weight.  I gained a good 20 pounds.  Plus, my athleticism was going in the wrong direction.  I could no longer run far or lift heavy things.  I was totally caught off guard.

I finally realized what happened.  Since my my routine was off, my body responded. It did not know what to expect.  Therefore, my hunger and satiety cues were off.  I ate more than I should and was not burning off enough calories.  This was a big realization for me. I realized I had to do something differently.

Since then, I have changed the way I prepare my meals.  Since I usually rush in the morning, I pack my lunch the day before.  I take time to eat a well balanced breakfast before I leave the house.  I keep a stock of healthy snacks readily available when my 230 craving becomes apparent.  I usually cook in bulk so I have a convenient and balanced meal available for the week.

I now know more about how I operate through this experience.  I know that rhythm and repetition help me stay on tack.  I know that I need to eat every few hours to stay satisfied and fueled well.  I know the proactive steps I take set me up for success.

I encourage you to do the same.  Take a look at your current meal pattern and decide if it helpful or hurtful. Identify if you feel well fed all day.  Look for time when you feel “hungry”,  Search for times that you may eat emotionally or binge eat.  Once you identify your current meal patterns, make small adjustments.  Maybe it’s meal prepping on Sundays.  Maybe it’s throwing snacks in a desk drawer to limit over eating at dinner.  Maybe it’s packing lunch right after you cook dinner.

Whatever works for you will be the right answer.  You can only find out by trying new ways of meal planning.  How do you stay consistent with your diet?
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