Monday, February 8, 2010

In The Market For Patience...Anyone Got Any?

The last couple of weeks have seen some crucial changes made to our life.....and with any kind of change, there usually comes some growing pains as the change gets accustomed to.

Finances have made the need for frugality even more necessary and this year 2010 is going to see a lot of belt tightening - in more ways than one, hopefully!

One change:  meal planning.  In theory it seems like a no-brainer, and I've read for years about how it's necessary to do in order to keep on track with any kind of food budget.  I've had some half-hearted attempts at it in the past, but I finally buckled down and have done it, successfully, for the last two weeks.  This will be week three, and I can say it's been liberating, and just plain hard, all at once.  They say it takes doing something new 21 days before it becomes ingrained as it should be easier next week, right?


The upside to this is that I'm cooking more from scratch and relying less on processed, prepackaged foods....not to mention less fast food.  Which, of course, not only saves money but is much, much healthier. 

So, the other belt tightening is literal!  Now that I'm over my bad cold (which had turned into bronchitis) I'm really watching what I'm eating more and hitting the treadmill once again. 

It's been a challenge to stay motivated, with both the weight loss goals, and pinching pennies.....and I've only really just begun!  I've realized that what I'm lacking is patience. 

Once I make my mind up to do something, I get all fired up and overly-enthusiastic, ready to plunge in head first and make it happen, NOW!  The problem is.....losing weight, and saving money, take awhile.  There is no snapping one's fingers and fixing in an instant something that took years to go wrong.  It's a slow, daily slog....which after time has passed, one can look at the bank balance, and scale balance, and see progress, but in the meantime, everyday life has to happen and it can feel like everything's going at a snail's pace and I want to bang my head in frustration that it's not happening faster.   The enthusiastic novelty and rush of plunging in dies down and reality sets in.

Instant gratification.....that's what we've become slave to in our modern world, and I admit to it as well.  Not only do we want our food in less than a minute in the drive-thru, we want to shed 50 lbs overnight without having to work at it so we look to the latest fad diet pill to solve the problem.  It's madness!

How do you stay motivated to accomplish something that's gonna take a while?


  1. "How do you stay motivated to accomplish something that's gonna take a while?" Uhhhh, I'm not very good at it. I want instant gratification.

    Yes, your meal planning will become easier. So will planning the grocery buying to go with the planning. That much I do know.

    Good luck and great post!

  2. So very true! We have been having conversations about the instant gratification world we live in with my bf lately, and how sad it's become that our patience wears so thin when we don't get what we want with a snap of our fingers. It is extremely difficult to stay motivated because of this, admitting that it's been extremely hard for me to stay motivated on continuing to lose the baby weight, and finishing school, etc etc..always trying to find a shortcut to reach these goals, but sadly there isn't an easy way out on certain things ::sigh:: and its just so very tough to be patient... hopefully there is someone out there who can give us some insight ;) Great post! relieved to see I'm not the only one having a hard time with this...

  3. To stay motivated with my dieting and exercising i put a dress that too tight at the moment hanging up on the wardrobe. Everyday when i wake up i see it and it keeps me going when i just want to slob out in front of the TV with cakes and sweets.
    With the saving money thing, i'm probably not the best person to ask about that... :)

  4. Packrat: I am confident that it will! I'm trying to unlearn years of bad habits and weird ideas that have become ingrained in my head about eating, shopping, cooking, etc.

    Miss Go Lightly: And I'm relieved to know *I'm* not the only one having a hard time with it too! Let's just think of it as character building... :)

    James: Thank you! :)

    Stefanie: Good idea! I've vowed to not buy any new clothes this year because my closets are jammed with clothes that are perfectly good, just too small at the moment. I am determined to be able to "go shopping" in my closet soon and it will feel like a new item since I haven't worn it in so long! At least that's my theory. ;)

  5. Indeed :) and I am sure you will accomplish these goals!

    Please stop by my page when you get a moment..I have a little something for you =D

  6. I'm impressed you've managed to get meal planning to work. I've tried it several times here, but it seems to fall apart (even though I'm the only one doing the shopping and cooking!).

    I, too, am trying to tighten both my belts too. I think I stay motivated and on track by a mixture of grim determination, focusing on the 20,000 feet view when I'm having a bad day and also allowing myself the very occasional day off (when I do treat myself to that steak or I just blow off going to the gym)!

    Good luck!

  7. Here's my advice. Cook once, eat twice. Either eat dinner for lunch the next day, or eat dinner one day and leftovers the next dinner.

    Do you have a crock pot? It can really pinch a penny and save time too. You can put the meal together the night before and plug in the crock pot the next morning (eat that night). Come home from work, and dinner's waiting for you.

    Third, vegetarian food is cheap. Maybe you don't like beans, but they are real budget stretchers and good diet food. Try lentil soup or vegetarian chili for starters.

    You can do it. Meal planning saves time and money in the end, and makes you feel taken care of.



  8. Richard: Well...there's lots of room for improvement. I do have to say I'm impressed that you're the cook of the family. :)

    Andrea: Hey there! That's what I've been trying to do, plan it so that one meal's leftovers are the next day's lunch. It's been two weeks since I got fast food for lunch so I must be doing something right! :)

  9. Sweetie, it's human nature to dive in all determined and then peter out! That's why gym memberships die out by the beginning of February!

    I think the trick is to make it a habit, so you're not thinking of eating differently as "being on a diet", because that implies that you'll go OFF the diet.

    I don't have any answers, other than to say that I'm stubborn...and I don't like to say "I give up!"

  10. I've been working on my budget for a while and I find that I have to set aside a little bit of money a month for fun and eating out! Otherwise, I'll go crazy. Same thing with working out - I let myself take days off. I tend to get rebellious when I feel like I'm being restricted (even if it's me doing the restriction!).

    Best of luck with your new adventures!

  11. Top tip for staying motivated and getting through large tasks is to break them down into smaller goals. The old if you have to eat an elephant trick....(They never explain how to keep the remains of the elephant fresh while you struggle for months to eat the damn thing yet alone stay out of prison for eating an endangered animal)

    I would love to be able to do more home cooking but it comes down to a question of time and probably lack of cooking ability.

  12. Kathryn: I know, I know (sigh). Sometimes I like to complain too much, lol!

    Emma: Isn't the brain a weird piece of machinery? It rebells against us doing the very things we need to do to make it run at its best. The creator has an ironic sense of humor I believe...

    BlackLog: If only I could win the lottery and hire a cook (and a personal trainer) all my problems would be solved! ;)

  13. Your blog is lovely! I love Ginger too! I invite you to visit mine:

    See you!

  14. How do you stay motivated....

    Well, music always helps!! Also.. remember that you can make any mundane task very zen like and calming if you really try. You need to get used to relishing the time you spend on a task, by intensely focusing on it with care and intricacy.

    I've accomplished this with ironing my clothes (something that's SUPER calming for me) and today I also accomplished it when I came home and had to shovel my driveway and sidewalk for over an hour. It takes practice to make it happen, and I wish I could describe my process better.. but I'm not so sure I entirely understand it completely myself. LOL!!

  15. That's a very good question ^^)

    I find it difficult to stay motivated but I do find that if I put motivational phrases/pictures around my house/room/day planner,that they can help to remind me of my goals :)


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