PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.

Good Nutrition Without a Plan

Wake up!How many times have you awoken in the morning only to realize that you don’t have any food prepared, are going to be too busy to cook, and you really have no plan? This hardly ever happens to me, but it did yesterday (Saturday). I almost always make food for 3 days or more in advance, but alas, I found myself in a bind and with a relatively empty fridge at home, so my options were certainly limited.

Similar situations arise for many of us when traveling, but I’ve written on that before in other articles and in my book Cracking Your Calorie Code, so this post is more about what to do in your own home and on your own turf when you find yourself unprepared, super busy, and without a plan.

When I woke up at 5 am Saturday morning to get ready to take my 14 year-old daughter to her volleyball tournament in Olympia (over an hour drive),  I realized I had left all my food in the fridge the Belltown X Gym. My first thought was “crap!” My second thought was that if I skipped my shower, I would have time to make the round trip to get it, but then I got the idea to turn it into an experiment instead.

One of my daily proclamations I always say out loud is, “Whatever life gives me, I can turn it to my advantage.” This reminded me that forgetting my food could be an opportunity instead of an inconvenience. I always experiment on myself before I try things on X Gym members, and I always make sure I live any lesson before I give advice on it, so I saw this as a great experience for me and a good blog post opportunity where I can talk first-hand on how to handle this situation.

I always make a protein shake in the morning, so that was still within my normal routine. Instead of drinking it slowly over a couple hours like usual however, I drank it quick and made another one to take with me. I also packed some Pure Fit bars which I always have on hand for snacks and emergencies. My daughter and I made the drive, had a wonderful time (she is one of the rare teenage girls who is an absolute dream to be with), and got set up in the gym for the tournament. I had a Pure Fit bar about 9 am and another one at about 11 am. I drank my other shake through the course of the morning as well.vb-snacks

When I saw the snacks table for one of the other volleyball teams, I was shocked and awed. It was so nasty, I couldn’t believe my eyes (pictured right). I don’t know how the moms thought their daughters could make it through the day on this crap. There wasn’t a single nutrient available. It was all fillers and junk. I felt like flipping the table over and making a big scene, but my daughter would have been scarred for life, and it wasn’t even her team’s stuff. Still though, how can anyone be expected to perform with any ability when running on muffins, cookies, chips, pretzels, bagels, cheese puffs, sugar juice, Gatorade and peanut butter sandwiches?

elk-sandwichMy dad lives in California now with his new wife, but he is in town this week, so he showed up at around 11 to watch his granddaughter play. When she had a long break between games, we decided to go out for lunch. He mentioned that the Cabela’s store in Lacey has a restaurant that serves elk sandwiches. We went there and I ordered my elk sandwich with no bread (pictured left). The guy behind the counter got a little confused, but he was very nice and we got it all sorted out. He warned me that he would have to charge me the full sandwich price even though he was leaving out the bread and condiments, but I assured him that was fine (plus, dad was paying). I thoroughly enjoyed my meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato. I put a little of each on my fork every bite, and made mini kabobs that were quite tasty and full of yummy goodness. My dad had the chicken chili and was pleasantly surprised at how much protein was in there.

Dad had to get some chores done, so we parted ways and I went back to watch Jill’s final game. One the drive back home, I had another Pure Fit bar and called my friend Erik who had invited me over for dinner a couple days prior. I had already told him I couldn’t go because of Jill’s tournament, but her team didn’t do so well, so we were leaving early and I could now make it on time.

nuts-and-carrotsWhen I got there, I was hungry again. They had some pistachios and carrots set out (pictured right), so I started munching on those. It’s hard to over-eat pistachios, because each nut has to be individually shelled. It reminded me of an X Gym member who recently told me that he had slowed his peanut binging habit down by buying them in the shell instead of unshelled. I thought that was a great idea because he wasn’t depriving himself of one of his favorite foods, but was moderating it naturally and breaking a pattern at the same time. Dinner at Erik’s was chicken and veggies, so I was golden there as well. I passed on the pineapple upside down cake, and merely said, “Thanks, it looks delicious, but I’m sugar-free.”

When I got home, I made some cottage cheese with MRM (see the members videos page for the recipe) and went to bed. I also should mention that I had plenty of filtered water through the whole day. That is a must. I have spare water in my car for emergencies and it really came in handy!

I considered making some food for Sunday, or driving into the club to get my food from the fridge, but I had a good time figuring out how to make-do, and I thought it would be more fun to have no plan for a second day in a row and see how it went.

I woke up at 5am on Sunday too, because Jill had a second day at her tournament. I made a protein shake, drank it, and made another to take in the car. I couldn’t stay at the tournament however, because I had some stuff to do, so her mom got to do the pick up later.

On the way back to Seattle, I drank my other shake and arrived at the Belltown X Gym by 8:30 am to meet a Kirkland X Gym client who wanted her bodyfat tested on the BEI machine. We talked over the test, set some goals, and then drove downtown to meet up with some other X Gym members at 9 am to climb stairs in a skyscraper. We all finished the 63 floor climb, and exchanged our high-fives.

quick-meal-at-homeI went back home to get ready for church. Before I got in the shower, I put the broccoli in the oven (see the “Broiled Broccoli” recipe on the page www.xgym.com/hardbodcafe.htm). By the time I was ready to leave the house, the broccoli was done, so I threw it in a container (pictured left) and took it with me in the car to eat on the way. I did forget a fork though, so I had to eat it with my hands – but no one saw – so I only felt a little bit like a cave man. The big mug pictured is 1 quart of filtered water. I like that mug because it has a base that fits in the car cup holder.

I wanted to meet my dad by 10:30 at his church instead of mine, because it would have been my mom’s birthday if Alzheimer’s disease hadn’t taken her in 2005, and they used to enjoy that church together. I also wanted to go with him to the cemetery, and he needed to leave right after church because his day was very packed. I brought some beef jerky I had made (also pictured left in the baggies), and we enjoyed that together on the way to the cemetery. We had a great visit and talked a lot about wonderful memories of mom.

I got back home at about 2 pm and had some cheese. I also had some goat milk yogurt in the fridge, so I mixed that with some MRM protein in the blender and had a yummy goodness chocolate treat. I got some work done for a few hours (including writing most of this blog) and left at 5:30 pm to meet dad for dinner with both of my kids at the Cheesecake Factory in Bellevue. I ordered Jamaican shrimp, with a request to hold the rice and plantains. I did eat some of mango garnish, and intended to taste the beans, but I wasn’t in the mood after all. My dad ordered the salmon with broccoli and spinach (since he arrived 4 days ago, he has lost 5 pounds so far by eating X Gym style). We were all quite full and satisfied. None of us actually had cheesecake, including my 17 year old son Harrison who can eat like a champ.

All in all, these two days really were surprisingly easy. I could have done a little better, and I didn’t eat near the volume of food that I do when I’m making it for myself, but I did meet all my water and protein requirements, and I ate enough vegetables to get my nutrient needs met as well. I really didn’t put much effort into it because I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else how easy it really is – even without a plan!

Now here is the best technique for getting yourself out of a bind when you wake up in a hurry without a plan (I saved the best for last):

Instead of just writing the whole day off as hopeless, and then just giving up (like most people do), look at it as a challenge to take on and conquer. Prove to yourself that you are stronger than your predicaments and that you can solve this one too. Say to yourself, “This will be interesting to see what ideas I come up with to make this a successful day”. Make it a game that you will win, and at the end of the day, you have the satisfaction of doing something that you might not have been able to do yesterday. You are stronger and better because of it. You are growing and improving. That is very empowering and little victories like that will spill over into other areas of your life, causing bigger and bigger victories.

Remember that COMFORT KILLS! Push your envelope and make yourself grow. You are either growing or dying. There is no in between. I have a rule that I must do at least two things every day that are outside of my comfort zone. I started out doing only one thing a day, but that became comfortable, so I had to add another. I’m sure I’ll get to three soon, and some days I do even more than that, but since I started this habit, I have noticed that the little things I used to see as challenging are now easy. I am stretching my envelope and becoming a bigger person because of it. My predicament with this food experiment would have upset me in the past, but this time I quickly saw it as an interesting experience instead of an obstacle, and then even did it again on purpose the next day! I never would have done that before I started stretching my envelope daily.

Sorry if this seems to “life-coachy” for you, but it really is true. Expand your envelope and enrich your life. It’s that simple.



4 Responses to “Good Nutrition Without a Plan”

  1. Camille Elliott says:

    Great article with all the daily details in it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Taz Waham says:

    Wow PJ, that’s a lot of writing! But glad you did it! This article is extra helpful because it is common to ALL of us. Everyday really is defined by our ATTITIDE and our choice of ACTION with whatever is in front of us at each given moment. Great Example!Thanks for sharing so honestly.

  3. Eric Hill says:

    Awesome blog PJ…

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.