Another discussion over the on the 3 Fat Chicks forum under calorie counters… do you plan your day, or do you wing it?  I’ve got to tell ya, I was pretty surprised at the responses.

My thought:  We’re counting calories, of course we have to plan… otherwise you could get to the end of the day and find out you’ve got 100 calories for dinner!  Disaster!

However… it hasn’t been so cut and dried in the discussion.  Some people swear they’d revolt against being so planned out.  Others say they just don’t know what they’re going to make for dinner until they’re in the kitchen and getting ready to fix it.  Some do plan… but not nearly as many as I’d have thought and it amazes me.  I wonder how they manage without planning.  How do they know what to eat?  How do they know if they can have that whole sandwich?

Obviously, I’m a planner.  I didn’t really think of myself as a planner until that discussion though.  I mean, I knew what I’d be having for dinner because I came up with a grocery list off a weekly menu I’d prepared…. how else do you know what groceries to get?  Wouldn’t you find yourself running to the grocery store midweek for something you don’t have otherwise? (Something that just isn’t possible for me without taking up a huge chunk of time… there are no grocery stores where I live… not even a tiny one.)

Also.. wouldn’t you get stuck in some sort of eating rut?  I mean, if you grab the same items in the grocery store every time you go because you “know you’ll need them” won’t you just be making the same stuff over and over again?

As I write this, I’m laughing… it’s becoming more and more obvious to me I’m a huge, geeky, planner.  So be it!

One of the things I started doing when I began calorie counting is keeping a food log.  I sit down every morning (which reminds me, I’ll have to do this at night now that school’s gonna start soon) and log in all the food I’m going to eat that day – breakfast, snacks and lunch are a breeze.. I usually eat the same thing or variants of the same thing every day.  Then, I gather all the ingredients I’m going to use for dinner and sit down with my computer, look up all the calorie contents, calculate the number of servings and figure out how much my dinner will cost me calorie wise.

It looks something like this:

pay no attention to the ice cream and balogna!

pay no attention to the ice cream and balogna!

All of the mad calculating for “dinner” is on the back of the page…. specifically so I could take a photo for the blog so please don’t go thinking I’m always so neat.

When I first started, calculating dinner calories was a huge pain in the ass.  Talk about time consuming and tedious!  But you know what?  As with anything else, once I started doing it, I noticed various benefits emerge.

  • I’m painfully aware now when my dinner doesn’t have enough veggies.
  • I’ve noticed that, if I want something terribly high-caloried for dinner, I’m going to need to pair it with a nice, light salad. (Might have been obvious for some, but remember, I’m like on the 12-step program for Fatties Anonymous.)
  • It’s made me stop and think.  Can I substitute in something that is lower in fat/calories?  Do I really need to saute that in butter?  Do I really need to add in those calories?  As a result, many of my “regular” dinner ideas have become healthier and lighter on the calories.

So what do you do?  Do you wing it, or plan it?   And why?  I think I’m a planner for life now… and it feels good!