By Liz McGehee
Okay, not to brag, but I’ve been pretty good about bringing my lunch from home lately, and it feels great! Like me, you may have struggled in the past to bring your lunch from home, giving up within the first week or two, and that’s not uncommon.
What really motivated me to try again though was a sudden and sharp decline in my overall health. I began tracking the moments I felt bad and eventually realized that, midday directly after eating lunch, I lost focus, became extremely fatigued and transformed into a grump. The side effects of my diet were even more intense after eating refined carbohydrates and sugars.
Then there are the self-deprecating thoughts that inevitably follow our poor diet choices. Why did I eat that slice of pizza? No wonder I’ve gained so much weight. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to think about bringing your lunch from home. You have the power to change your life so don’t put your health off any longer.
Bringing your lunch from home also allows you to control your calorie intake and tailor your diet around your nutritional needs. Cafeterias, sit-down restaurants and fast food joints often serve massive portions, sometimes an entire day’s worth of recommended calories and then some! On top of that, “healthy” choices like sautéed veggies are slathered in butter or flash fried. Unless you are the one making the food, you have no way of knowing just how healthy the menu is.
Struggling with gluten intolerance, dairy allergies, fatigue, high cholesterol, diabetes or something else? Follow your gut and try phasing the perpetrator out of your diet and adding foods that boost energy, cognitive function, weight loss as well as healthy cholesterol levels and see if anything improves.
Health benefits aside, bringing your lunch to work is extremely cost effective. Even making your own coffee can save you $20-30 a week.
If you know you need to make a change, try to figure out the steps to your personal success. Once I realized what my diet was doing to my mind, body and spirit, I knew I had to make a change, but I was also afraid of failing again. So, I asked, “Why did I give up last time?” The answer:
- Unrealistic food choices
- Going cold turkey
- Sticking to a strict diet
- Not enough variety
- Giving in to stress binges
Believe it or not, bringing your lunch from home doesn’t have to feel like a punishment. Try easing into your new diet so you don’t shock your system. Start by bringing food two days a week and move up to four days in your own time. Allow cheat days, and change up your meals.
If you’re the kind of person that gets sick of leftovers, make two meals for the week. This will give you options and help you stay on the right track. Above all, food should be fun, delicious, nutritious and make you feel great!
Say goodbye to soggy sandwiches! Veggies should be packed separately and added at mealtime. Use cold or room temperature ingredients only to prevent condensation once the sandwich is wrapped. Condiments like mayonnaise and mustard should not be applied directly to the bread but rather between the meat and the cheese.