Meal planning is a life-changer. Seriously. You’ll be happier with each tiny baby-step of success because you’ll start recognizing your power, and your power ripples out to the people around you. The impact you can have on your immediate circle of influence is monumental. You are enough, indeed. You are more than enough. It's time to know it.
When I was a very little girl my mom would tuck me in after having me pray that childhood prayer that so many of us used to recite: “If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”. My dad used to gleefully say “goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”, before turning out the light and closing the door.
I would lie wide awake in the dark, waiting for what I imagined was coming to get me while I slept, bugs that only came out in the dark that could bite me enough to kill me.
It terrified me that my parents couldn’t keep me safe from this unknown threat that would hurt me in the dark, so I told myself that if my stuffed animals were lined up a certain way along the open edges of my bed, I would be safe. This ritual allowed me to sleep, and knowing that I had taken care of myself gave me a certain acceptance of my own power over my destiny.
This served me well over the years; it gave me a certain “MacGyver” attitude- it gave me to freedom to think outside the box, to come up with solutions that others hadn’t seen. It also gave me a strong sense of pride, but that pride took a beating when I became a mom.
Suddenly I was faced with an infant who couldn’t self-soothe. He needed constant love and attention. I was exhausted and drained in every possible way. And the childhood bugs that came out in the dark returned to me, created by my own critical thoughts: “You’re not enough. Who do you think you are?” “You’ll never be able to manage this”. “You can’t even feed yourself. How will you feed your family?”
It took some time. All skills do, really. There’s a constant movement, a subtle shifting of energy, trial and error. Just like parenting, when you think you’ve finally got it figured out, your child hits a new stage and suddenly you’re starting from scratch again. But not really, because you’ve gained something: confidence and experience. Each time you survive and push through challenges you find that you “sort-of, kind-of” do know what you’re doing. It works the same way with meal planning.
Meal planning works on a larger level than just what you see on your dinner plate. You’ll see it in how much better you feel the more often you eat real food that you cooked yourself. You’ll be awe-struck by how much time you find for yourself when you thought you had no time to spare. You will even love your grocery budget again!
And your power ripples out to the people around you. If you have a family, they’ll start absorbing these new life skills through osmosis, even if not actively taught. Everyone you come into contact with is going to notice your healthy glow and ask you what your secret is…and will be shocked when you tell them it’s because you started cooking food for yourself.
And the best part of all? Meal planning levels the playing field. Everyone must start at the same place in their food journey: the beginning.
What does your beginning look like?
To find out, ask yourself “why”? It’s the why that differs between people. Some want to lose weight, some want to stop wasting food, some are tired of getting to the end of the month long after they get to the end of their grocery budget.
Some are sick of being sick. Our bodies are meant to thrive through the absorption of vitamins and minerals, amino acids and proteins, fiber, fat, carbohydrates, and water. If most of our diet is comprised of fast-food and short-cut meals found in the freezer section of the local grocery store, most of our diet is going to be lacking: calorie dense but nutritionally abysmal.
Meal planning is like a child learning to walk. First a roll, then an inch worming, moving to crawling, and finally walking. No one is ever born knowing how to walk. It’s a slow process, but each little shift of energy and movement is the building block for the next skill. That’s why we call them “baby steps”. And that’s why the smallest shifts of energy and habits are the most successful.
Many of my clients start out excited and inspired. They are ready to go from 0-60 the first day. And while I celebrate that enthusiasm, we intentionally moderate through a 3-month process bookmarked by celebration, goal setting, accountability, and more celebration. I want to see them finding success and happiness in their baby steps, so they never have to think again that they “aren’t enough”.
What about you? What sort of baby steps can you take to find yourself happy and humming your way through the grocery store and dinner prep? Spend some time imagining your wildest dreams about what dinner time looks like and how it makes you feel. Break those wild dreams down into bite-sized pieces. Start small, make tiny shifts, and end large. You’ve got this, I promise.