Amy Culver - The Queen of Lean
November 19, 2010    

Setting priorities

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Amy Culver

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Setting priorities

Last month, we talked about creating some systems to help you organize your holidays for this year and in the future.  This month, I'd like to get a little more specific and I'd also like to ask you to consider your priorities.  This is also cold and flu season, and if you don't have time to take care of yourself, do you have time to get sick?

Certainly, there aren't any foolproof ways to avoid the contagions flying about, but you can lower your risk, and if you do get sick, reduce your recovery time.

Eating well and exercising regularly keep your immune system strong.  This means that even if you do catch a bug, it will likely be less severe and have a shorter run.

Take some time now to sit down with a calendar.  Mark up all the activities you already know about including your shopping trips.  One thing we do that helps save time on Christmas shopping is to go on Friday evenings.  The malls are almost empty, even near Christmas.

Once you have your calendar marked up, take a look at how many regular dinners you need to fix for your family.  Make up a menu for those days now.  An easy system is to create a two week rotation and cook once.  So, if you are going to make meatloaf, cook enough for two meals and freeze the rest.  If you plan two weeks of meals this way, you get one month of dinners.  Remember to save the menu to reuse next year!

Shop ahead for all the ingredients you can.  Obviously, some things need to be bought fresh, but even meat can go in the freezer.  If you want, you can create shopping lists ahead of time.  Put the date at the top and list the fresh items you will need.

Next, consider when you are going to get your exercise time in.  You might need to be a bit flexible on this.  Some days you might need to do it in the morning, others in the evening.  Be realistic.  Don't over-schedule yourself, but do hold yourself accountable.  Remember, if you are used to a regular exercise routine, too much time away from it will make you irritable and stressed.

Something else to consider doing is making a list of all the non-food things you are looking forward to.  Do you have family coming in from out of town?  Is there a special gift you are excited about giving someone?  Try hard to focus on those types of things that give you joy, rather than all the sugary temptations.

One last suggestion:  don't eat anything if you don't have a really good idea of the calories in it.  I've been doing this for many years and I still get fooled at times.  If you really want something and you just aren't sure, give it your best guess, then double it.  Later, look it up and see how accurate you were. 

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.


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