12 months ago, I was fortunate to get a promotion at work. The new responsibility came with a new work schedule of 9 hour shifts, 5 days a week. Suddenly I was at work a lot more than I was in my previous role. At first it was great because one of the perks was getting free lunches each day I was out of the office. Initially I was out of the office once or twice a week. I would get a lunch claim and I would be treating myself to Chipotle, McDonald’s and other sit down restaurants.
As my work became more intense, I found myself out of the office 5 days a week and now everyday I was eating at different restaurants. And being completely honest, I was loving it. I was saving money by getting my lunch claims reimbursed. My colleagues and I would be deciding at every morning meeting where we would go for lunch. I must say I was very well fed as I had tried many restaurants in the Vancouver area.
Fast forward 10 months and one morning I woke up, got ready for work, looked at myself in the mirror, and I was EMBARRASSED with the reflection. With all the meals I enjoyed over the previous 10 months had changed my body. My waist line had increased and I had piled on 20 pounds.
Initially I justified the weight gain with excuses like, “Well I work out 5 days a week, it must be muscle.” and “Well maybe I am indulging too much on the weekend. I should cut down on having a cheat day on Saturday.” But the truth was, I was eating at restaurants 4-5 times a week for lunch and I was not in control of what went into my food.
No matter how hard I trained at the gym, no matter how often I went swimming, I couldn't out-exercise a terrible diet. So I created a two week challenge for myself where I would bring my breakfast and lunch to work 4-5 days a week and treat myself to one dine-in meal. Surely I could make breakfast and lunch for 10 days and see how I felt.
Well it has been two months and I am still bringing breakfast and lunch to work 4-5 days a week. I have not been exercising as often as I used to, however, I have lost weight and I am loving the results. It is true that your physique is 80% diet and 20% exercise.
I would love to share with everyone my 5 day bring your breakfast and lunch to work plan. I start work at 7am so I prefer to prepare my food the night before and eat as soon as I get to work. Of course everyone has different schedules, so feel free to adjust my plan to your own schedule.
For breakfast I spread my portions out over a few hours. I make two hard boiled eggs. I cook the eggs in water for 12 minutes and remove immediately. This allows the yolk to be mostly solid with a delicious moist centre. I eat the eggs as soon as I get to work to get some protein in my system. Usually I remove one of the yolks and discard it with the shell. This is my personal preference.
I love oatmeal and I cook 1/4 cup of steel cut oats in 3/4 cup of water. The cooking time takes between 5-8 minutes depending on how thick and chewy you like it. Once cooked and cooled I had a sprinkle of cinnamon, a few crushed walnuts and one tablespoon of chia seeds and then scoop it into a small Tupperware container. In the morning before I leave for work I add a very small amount of pure maple syrup and unsweetened almond milk to taste. On the weekends I still eat the oatmeal but add fresh fruit like blueberries or a banana which adds a wonderful flavour to the meal. It is important not to add too many walnuts because of the high calorie and fat content. Remember too much of a good thing is bad!
Around 10am I start to get hungry and this is the time I eat the remainder of my breakfast which I prepared the night before. I shop at Costco and purchase a three pack of Greek yogurt. Often times yogurt has A LOT of added sugar and our go to yogurt is the 0% fat, plain yogurt. I purchase this yogurt because of the low sugar content. I take 1/2 cup yogurt and mix it with 1 tablespoon chia seeds and frozen berry medley (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry). By the time I get to eat this the fruit has thawed and mixes perfectly with the yogurt.
So I have been up since 6 am and I have eaten three small meals spread out over 3 hours. This keeps me full til 12-1pm and prevents me from eating snacks in or out of the office.
I hope you enjoy reading my meal plan and I will add my lunch plan. If you would like to hear more or have any questions feel free to leave a comment
I truly believe in making small changes. It may not look like much at the start, but no one ran a marathon without taking the first step. Take the first step and prepare healthy meals the night before work and you may see and feel a difference in your body and mind.