As much as I hate to admit it, routines matter. I believe I have this weight loss thing figured out and then I have a day that’s not “usual,” and it frustrates me. But that’s just one day and I’m back on track the next. However, what happens when every day is different and you can’t find your routine? I find that with just one change in my daily schedule everything can go off track if I let it. It’s kind of like adjusting from weekdays to weekends, but worse! Here are three reasons I like my routine:

1. There is a plan
When the days follow the same pattern, I know what to expect. I pack my food for the day and go to work. I eat my snacks and lunch at roughly the same time every day. I put my pieces of fruit on my desk and when I feel like nibbling there they are — right in my line of sight. Easy decision. If I run out of the yogurt for my make ahead parfaits, or forget to get more fruit at the store it messes everything up. Silly right? Not really. When one thing is off, there is danger that everything can go off track. These examples are little things, but what if there are bigger changes to your routine? On vacation? Out of work? Injured? Sick? Everything makes a difference. Be ready for it and have a plan … even if it’s a back up plan!

2. No surprises
There are many things in our daily lives that we can’t control, right? Having a routine helps control the things we CAN control. I like surprises as much as anyone — especially when it’s presents, flowers or an unexpected visit with a friend. However, I also like knowing what’s coming next. Some might say I’m a control freak, but I think it’s more that I’m a planner. I like to be prepared. When I’m going out to eat, I look at the menu online before I go, oftentimes, the day before so I can plan my day accordingly — pointwise, that is. Routines help avoid the surprises that can knock me off track. For me, this carries over into more than just my eating. Every night at dinner, we discuss our respective days and then review the next day — who is going where, when I’ll be home, what’s for dinner, etc. Our lives are not boring or mundane — in fact, our normal is organized chaos — and this little routine of reviewing the day ahead helps keep us all sane. It works the same with food. Planning ahead and knowing what’s coming next helps keep surprises at bay and keeps me on track.

3. Routines form Habits
A lot of people say routines can get stale and cause you to abandon the plan and the goal because you get bored eating the same things every day, doing the same exercises every day, etc. I need my routine to keep me sane. My routines have formed habits. I have tracked my food every day for months. When I stop tracking due to a break in routine, I stop losing weight. Tracking my food keeps me accountable. I was surprised at how tracking my food became a habit without even realizing it. It’s what I do. I am equally surprised at how easy it is to fall off that wagon! Good habits are awesome, empowering and energizing. Another lesson I’ve learned is that for me, when one routine fails, many follow quickly. Putting it all back on track is basically starting over. It’s laborious and frustrating. The difference? I know how to do it. I know I can do it. I know it works. I take one routine at a time and get it back on track. Then I add the next. After a couple of weeks, everything is working again like it should. Whew, right? Crisis averted, or course corrected! Either way, I’m glad when my good habits are back.

For me, routines are a necessary evil. I crave order and predictability (at least where my eating is concerned) in an unpredictable world. What is the routine that keeps your weight loss on track and why does it work?