The Planning Dilemma

If it is not obvious, I am loving my busy schedule. I literally have to plan out my entire day by the hour, write it down, follow it, and breathe to stay sane and on top of everything. There are multiple to-do lists to keep me ahead. So far so good! This life right now just makes me want to sing “I’m loving it” from McDonalds commercials.

Here is the thing though, I was really nervous about planning out my days by the minute because this is something I did in the dark days of my eating disorder and I can say honestly it was not healthy for me. It put me in a stressed yet controlled mindset and when something deviated from the schedule I had set I wanted to cry (and did).

I have also taken a note out of Chelsie’s book and begun planning my meals. Another big step for me. For four years now I have associated meal planning with my ED recovery and have stayed away from it completely. You see I through away my binder of planned meals one day in the midst of my recovery. The throwing away of my meal plan binds was a huge step for me at the time. I was sick of all of the detailed and specific planning. I was sick of following these stupid pieces of papers to a tee. I wanted freedom and with that binder in the trash I gained quite a bit.

Some of my meals for last week. Soup in a portable crock pot, a full fridge that didn't cost an arm and a leg, a successful sweet potato smoothie, and an omelet!

Some of my meals for last week. Soup in a portable crock pot, a full fridge that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, a successful sweet potato smoothie, and an omelet!

But here I am planning my days and my meals every week now. So what makes it different this time? How is planning my days by the hour and hours by the minute OK now? How is me going back to meal planning keeping in that freedom I have so desperately come to love? Well, in the past 4-years I have become FLEXIBLE folks. That’s right I said it. So although I plan my days out in extreme detail and my meals are laid out in a nifty Meal Plan Template of Chelsie’s now, I am totally willing to change things. I schedule in FREE TIME or what I like to consider me time that doesn’t always include my meal times. I also still allow myself to change my meal plan based on plans that might come up or a random craving for something different. And as plans change I keep going.

The fact of the matter is planning has made this crazy and wonderful schedule of mine so much more enjoyable and slightly stress-free (for the most part, but let’s be honest I strive off a little stress!). O and I am saving quite a good bit of money at the grocery store each week! Which I promptly spend on coffee…

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19 thoughts on “The Planning Dilemma

  1. Aww thanks for the shout out girl! I’m glad you’re finding my meal planning method helpful. 😀 When you’re as busy as you and I are, its so helpful for staying on top of things. And it’s great that you’re able to meal plan now without becoming obsessive about it. I think that’s a really easy trap to fall into. But you’re right – it’s easy to avoid that obsessiveness by being flexible. I totally change around my meal plan as needed throughout the week too. Like I just found out it’s pancake Tuesday this week so instead of my planned dinner for Tuesday, I’m having pancakes instead! 😀

    Have a great Monday!

    • Yup the day before Ash Wednesday! I wish I could have pancakes tonight (no time sadly!) but I had them Saturday instead 😉 Meal planning has been a saving grace. With everything else exciting happening in life the last thing I want to be worrying about is food to be quite honest!

  2. I’m so glad you’ve been able to be flexible. I don’t really meal plan much but because I eat the same thing just about every day, I guess that is kind of meal planning. As you know I too, have to plan my life out by the minute and it can be stressful at times but I feel like it almost keeps me more relaxed and sane in a way which sounds counterintuitive. I hope you have a great week and are able to keep that stress at bay. You deserve a little me time now and then just like the rest of us 🙂

    • Haha you make perfect sense! Actually I am having some me time right now. Too much me time for my liking but I need to remember this time when I start to get busy again tomorrow. But I am really looking forward to being busy tomorrow after all of this down time today!

  3. This is a really great post and I know how much you thrive on being busy. I’ve started meal planning a bit because of work and budgeting and it seems to be working well. Being flexible is such the key I think to being successful at many different aspects of life. From running to recovery to college. I have learned that if I’m not flexible with work…I stress myself out so much. Anyways as always I can relate to your posts on many fronts.

    • 😀 meal planning has saved me money already and that makes me and my parents so happy! I think everyone has to find the things that matter and then work everything else they care about around that. For me school is #1 and then meals, workouts, and social media/fun time with friends surround that. The important thing is I make sure I do incorporate those other pieces!

  4. Ahhh love this is wonderful! I completely understand how the meal planning thing goes and thoroughly disliking it (memories from my own treatment days still haunt me with those damn things), but I’m so proud that you can see how far you’ve come and that you’re making it work for you AND leaving it flexible! That’s AWESOME!! Shannon, seriously, look at you. You are THRIVING 🙂 You’re out there, doing what you want, making sure that you’re doing what you need to do and still leaving room for the unexpected…doesn’t get much better love 🙂 This makes my day ❤

    • I love that this made your day because pretty frequently your posts make my day so much brighter! You enthusiasm for life if just so awesome! I think through all of this I have gained the most out of realizing that yes not every minute is joyful, all minutes end up making an awesomely joyful day!

  5. I haven’t done any meal planning in quite some time either, for pretty much the same reason that you gave it up – it reminded me too much of the meticulous planning that I used to do when I was in the depths of my ED. I do love the freedom that comes with not having meals planned out, but at the same time it would be nice to have some sort of idea so I don’t resort to eating cereal when I can’t think of anything at the last minute 😛 You’re definitely right that flexibility is the key, though, and it’s great to hear that things are working out so well for you! Especially because they allow for extra coffee indulgences 😉

    • haha! I think the freedom to choose is an important thing. I had that, and I needed it then. Now I need to plan for other reasons than for recovery. Well it sort of has to do with recovery because recovery is life and this planning is helping me to enjoy life and stress about it a lot less! Every stage of life requires different things. Right now planning is part of mine but there will of course be a day when I don’t do it again because of other things

  6. scheduled but flexible is totally the way to be! Honestly I fully support meal planning and planning out your days the way you do – I do this as well when I’m super busy, and it’s really the only way I can be productive without having a stress breakdown. That said, if something comes up or if the day ends and I haven’t crossed EVERYTHING off my list? I don’t sweat it. Life happens. Plans are never made to be set in stone! It seems like you’re right on the money with that too, so I definitely see planning as a healthy thing for you! Meal planning though is something I’ve always shied away from – because it felt too obsessive, because what if I got too hungry, what If I wasn’t hungry at all, what if I wanted something different…usually what I do is cook food in bulk for the entire week and then pack my lunch each night as I clean up the kitchen from dinner (in college I wasn’t quite as busy as you and I had a meal plan, so I usually ate breakfast in my room but lunch and dinnner in the dining hall with buds – or I got dining hall takeout if I had to study. And yes this was back in my ED days so it was always salad, but oh well lol). Which I guess is a form of meal planning in itself, but a more flexible one! Anyway from all your posts and tweets, you seriously seem to be kicking BUTT at life right now, so if it ain’t broke no need to fix or change it! 😀

    • You hit is right on the mark about plans not being written in stone. Actually when I first started planning I wrote everything in pencil so I could erase when things didn’t happen and then it wasn’t written at all. Now I am much better at adding and subtracting thing and moving things to different days even in pen! Progress baby! I think meals and planning is different for everyone. I like to know what is coming next in all things so meal planning is working well for me. One last thing to stress about in my book!

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