Yes, You Have Time (Eye roll....)

One of the most convenient (I think) excuses for not following a structured diet plan is "I just don't have the time to...." and you can finish that sentence with: prepare 'special' meals, spend time shopping for healthy food, exercise, or, the most common one, measure, weigh, and log my food. Many people who are not ready to face reality have said one of those things to me.  Hell, I've even said it to myself at times. The response to their claims that stays in my head is "bullshit...." The polite answer is: "Well, you have to make the time if you want to lose weight."  


No one wants to hear that they are the obstacle to their own success.  Especially over-achievers, like me. To us, that is a huge insult. We don't under-achieve (in our heads). We get out there, jump in, and give it our all. So, if we can't succeed on a diet, then it MUST be something beyond our control. Our body won't do it, our jobs, our responsibilities, our financial situation, or even our environment. We have settled on an excuse to stay right where we are, with respect to our weight. That's how we sleep at night.  That's how we grab bags of snacks, regularly hit the drive-thrus of fast-food places, use our smart phone app to have high-calorie unhealthy meals delivered, and ignore how hard we breathe when walking up a flight of stairs, wishing we were drinking a flight of beers, instead. Yep, if only we had time, things would be different.


Everyone reading this blog is intelligent. I know this because my husband has explained crypto currency to me many times and while I have two college degrees, one of them in accounting, I still barely understand how it is made and how it works. So, I know all of you are intelligent. And I know some of you need to face the hard truth that you need to get healthier. Even if you do NOT need to lose weight, there are some of you who need to take care of your whole selves better.  


The bottom line is this: You do have time. There are many, many tools and hacks to help you manage your health as efficiently as possible. I'm going to focus on some strategies I've used over the last year to help me lose weight (73 pounds as of yesterday).


Let's start with meal preparation. What has worked for me is knowing what I'm going to eat ahead of time. Everyone I know, friends and family, tease the hell out of my husband and I because we have certain meals we eat on certain nights. However, it has really helped me to stay on my diet and makes shopping so easy because we already know what we need to have on hand every week for those specific nights.  I'm only going to focus on dinner/supper because my lunches are low calorie wraps with chicken breast and a side of raw vegetables, and my breakfasts are usually eggs and diet toast. Those are simple and quick to prepare. 


Two nights a week I eat a family sized salad with five ounces of baked chicken breast on it, one hard-boiled egg, and two tablespoons (yes, I measure it) of 60 calorie balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing. My salad has nothing but meat, egg and vegetables in it. No nuts, no cheese, no dried fruit. I use probably two and a half servings of spring mix greens (no iceberg lettuce) with some extra spinach added. To prepare for salad night and my daily lunch, I will buy big family sized packages of boneless, skinless chicken breast, put some sort of rub or seasoning on them (not sauces) and bake the entire package of breasts. I bake them for about 40-45 minutes at 400F, depending on how fat they are. I do check them to be sure the internal temperature is 165F when they are done cooking. After they cool, I bag them up, two to a bag, and freeze them. This way I always have chicken breast available for salads and wraps for lunches. I eat a lot of chicken breast on this diet, and I keep from getting sick of it by using different seasonings on the chicken when I bake it.  Measuring and logging salad is the most time-consuming food log that I do but I make myself do it. I also put radishes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, carrots, and celery and sometimes raw broccoli in my salad.


Another meal I have weekly is grilled Mahi-Mahi fish with a microwaved four-to-seven-ounce red potato (no butter on it), steamed asparagus, and some other roasted or steamed vegetable, depending on what I feel like.  Neither of us are fish lovers, so we found a mild white fish that we like, that is not a filter feeder or a bottom feeder (he has a thing about 'poo fish'). He puts it in the hot air fryer, hits the fish button and it comes out perfect every time. Sometimes I have a half cup of cooked brown rice instead of a potato with it.  I usually add an extra vegetable because we buy frozen steam in the bag asparagus, and I want more fiber than the six or seven stalks I get. 


The other meal night we have alternates every week. My husband is not a fan of steak (I have no clue what the hell is wrong with him...) but I could live on steak nightly. He wants burgers (not good for dieting) so we have this compromise to accommodate us both. We alternate steak and burger night every other week. On steak night I will have a five-to-six-ounce Angus petit sirloin with a microwaved red potato and steam-in-a bag broccoli or green beans. Our store sells organic, fresh veggies that are in a bag ready to be steamed in the microwave in three to four minutes. On burger night, I will replace the steak with a 99% lean ground turkey patty that weighs five to six ounces. Yes, ground turkey is bland, so here is what I do to enhance it. I buy a pound of 99% lean ground turkey at a time, dump it in a bowl, add salt, pepper, onion powder and sometimes dried chives. I mix it up to incorporate the seasoning and then I make two five-ounce patties and one six-ounce patty. I wrap them individually in cling wrap and keep them in a re-closable bag in the freezer. When it's burger night, I have my burger (no bun, no fries).  I have a potato and vegetable with it. 


That's four nights of meals, planned in advance.


One night a week, we eat out for date night. The other two nights are me cooking and hubby cooking nights. I started buying packages of whole chickens that had been cut up already. I separate them into two freezer bags, a half chicken each bag. I will put seasoning or marinate them in the bag before I put them in the freezer (I try to stay away from barbecue sauce because of the sugar). I eat the breast, and my husband eats the wing, thigh and drumstick. I usually take the skin off the chicken breast before bag it for the freezer. Another meal I might make is pork tenderloin, which is also very calorie friendly. It bakes in less than a half hour at 400F. I usually have both these items on hand.  Sometimes I will also do center-cut boneless pork chops. Another quick cook meal.  Hubby and I will negotiate what he makes on his night to be sure I can make it calorie friendly for me. If he wants tacos, I want to be sure I have enough greens on hand to have a taco meat salad. If he wants pasta, I have to be sure I can find something else to eat (because I'm not eating that.)  One time-saving hack I don't do is preparing all my weekly salads at one time and keeping them in the refrigerator. That will certainly save time. 


Yes, I try to avoid eating a lot of flour-y carbohydrates, when possible. Diet bread for toast, low-calorie wraps for sandwiches, no pasta, and rice only sometimes. Potatoes are one of the most satiating foods we can eat, and they are not too bad if you don't smother them in fats.  They also have fiber. If you cook them ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator, they can be re-heated easily AND you change the composition of the starch in them which makes them harder to digest, which means your body uses more calories to digest them. 


Your freezer is your friend. If you have freezer space, you can prep meat and fish ahead of time and freeze it, like I do with chicken. You can also buy frozen vegetables that you can steam in a bag, which saves time on cooking and washing dishes, as well. Having frozen blueberries on hand is a great way to add a healthy boost to your Greek yogurt or your morning oatmeal. I always add berries to my oatmeal.  Your microwave is also your friend. I use it probably more than my stove for steaming vegetables, baking potatoes and re-heating foods. 


When buying fresh fruit and vegetables, wash everything at once before you put it away. Make that part of your shopping duties. Also, it's so easy to grab carrots, celery and my new favorite, mini cucumbers, when you need a snack because they are already washed and ready to eat. 


My other new time-saving hack are grocery store apps. We have a store in Texas called HEB. I really like their app. Before I shop, I sit down and create a list. I like it, because the list you create doesn't go away once you check off your items, so once you create it, it's there. You just check off items as you shop and for the next time, uncheck all the items on the list. It tells you where you can find each item in the store, in order so you know what aisles you have to go down. This prevents impulse shopping, too. I tried using Aldi's app, but you can't create a list ahead of time. At least, I haven't found a way to do it. I do not use their shopping app.  If you have the resources, you can also do curbside shopping and let someone else do it for you and just pick up your shopping. This also saves time. I have never done this so I have no thoughts on this. 


Don't throw away the few extra bites of vegetables that you didn't eat. Put them in the fridge and use them in omelets or in scrambled eggs. 


As far as measuring and logging food, that does take time. But what I've started doing is logging food ahead of time and then changing the measurements when it's prepared and I can measure. Since I know what I'm eating four nights a week, I can do that easily. The app I use, My Fitness Pal, remembers foods that I usually eat for each meal and will pop up a most recent list when I'm logging.  If you have a general idea of what you are going to eat that week, log your food ahead of time and just change the measurements if needed. 


You do have time to do all these things. 


(photo courtesy of Martin Pechy)


How do you rate this article?


7th Decade Redhead
7th Decade Redhead

I'm 60+ years old female retiree who is finally figuring out why she's been struggling with losing weight her whole life. I want to share the lessons I learned so others can help themselves with their own weight loss struggles earlier in their lives.

60 Pounds by 60 Years
60 Pounds by 60 Years

My final weight loss attempt after 40 years of different diet failures. No shakes, no supplements, no surgery, no crazy food, no purchased meal plans, no fasting. Creating a healthier relationship with food and facing the painful truth about my relationship surrounding food. No BS, just common sense. And it worked.

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.