Finding the Time

By Shani Petroff

When I have a stressful, busy week, my eating tends to go downhill. I mean to follow the Weight Watchers plan and stick to my SmartPoints® budget, but as the enormity of all the work I still have to do hits me, I go for the sugar rush, the comfort food, the whatever is in my reach. If I’m at the office that generally means a visit (or two or three or more) to the candy machine, and if I’m at home, it’s ordering in — and the choices I make in the moment leave a lot to be desired.

Recently when I had a major deadline looming and little spare time, I came up with a plan so that I didn’t sabotage myself, and it wound up being one of my best weight-loss weeks in a long time! So I thought I’d share what I did with you:

1) Plan, plan, plan. It’s advice we hear all the time, but it works! I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of opportunities to go shopping, and I’ve had fruits and vegetables go bad on me on more than one occasion, so I stocked my freezer with frozen fruit and frozen veggies galore. For the vegetables, I bought those steamer bags and at work I was able to pop them right in the microwave. It was supereasy and there wasn’t anything to clean afterward! At home, I used the fruit to make thick smoothies/sorbets. It only took a few minutes, and I was able to eat them with a spoon, making it feel like I was having ice cream.

2) Simple suppers. Instead of ordering out, I decided to cook. But because of time constraints I wanted something easy with little cleanup time. My staple became salmon. I lined a baking sheet with tin foil, coated it with olive oil spray, put the fish on it, put some fresh dill on top as well as some cut-up vegetables. (I bought whatever was already chopped to save time — often onions and butternut squash. The frozen veggies worked too.) I sprayed it once more, and put it in the oven. Less than 20 minutes later (including prep time), I had a yummy, home-cooked meal. I took the tin foil, put it on top of a plate, and ate right off of it, so there was less of a mess to clean up.

3) Make the most of breaks and downtime. I felt guilty taking breaks when I was in crunch mode. I should have worked in gym time as a way to relax and clear my mind, but that idea was making me more stressed out. So instead, I tried to take walks to clear my mind. I would kill two birds with one stone. I would walk to go do the errands I knew I needed to get done — mail a letter, go to the bank, pick up some more salmon. Other times, I decided to clean. If I needed to get away from my computer and keep me from snacking when I wasn’t hungry, I scrubbed the tub or cleaned the floors, and I could actually feel my muscles working!

4) Healthy-ish, splurge snacks. While I liked the fruits, vegetables, and fish, when I am seriously stressing, I sometimes really want junk food. But I also know that’s dangerous for me to have in the house — I will often binge. So I went with things that tasted like they’d be superbad for me, but in reality didn’t have a ton of SmartPoints, even if I ate a larger-than-suggested portion. For me that included Halo Top ice cream (the whole pint is less than 300 calories and it actually tastes like ice cream) and strawberry Dole Dippers (a package of four chocolate-covered strawberry halves that are only 3 SmartPoints value). It allowed me to indulge without going over my points.

By the end of the week, not only did I meet my deadline, but the number on the scale was smaller!

Find me on Connect at Shani! - I’d love to hear how you handle a busy week and any tips you have to share!

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