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?
April 7, 2017 at 8:36 am
This makes so much sense. I have some routines, but I do step out every now and then!
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April 7, 2017 at 9:03 am
Variety is important too, which is why I need my routines to get me back on track!! You have to live life and enjoy it — which is why I love Weight Watchers. It gives me the wiggle room I need to do what I want and eat what I want (within reason)!
April 7, 2017 at 2:29 pm
I can’t “yes” loud enough on this one! I always try to sidestep the routine with excuses or plain laziness and then I pay the price–instead of preparing a salad beforehand, so it will be there when I get home, I skip the prep and then grab a couple cookies when I get in the door because I’m so hungry!
And you make such a good point about routines becoming habits. Little by little, if we stick to our routine, we form a habit and then it’s just part of the our lives, no fussing or crying or excuses needed.
April 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm
It’s not the same to come home and grab a handful of carrots to munch on. I get it! Washed grapes, however, are fairly satisfying. And, of course, HaloTop Ice Cream. Have you tried it?
April 7, 2017 at 4:13 pm
Ain’t that true?! Funny how things and people change with time, routine used to be a no-go for me, as I considered routines to be boring. Now, a little older/wiser I love, or should I rather say need my routine. I hate surprises, unless they involve flowers or chocolate 😉
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April 7, 2017 at 11:33 pm
I also make exceptions for stepping outside my routine when presents are involved! Great minds think alike! Thanks Klaudia!
April 7, 2017 at 5:07 pm
For me, I can’t survive unless I’m in a routine. If I sway from my routines my life goes awol. Like, literally lol. But it’s strange in a way because creating a routine for myself is super hard. But once I get into one, breaking it is even harder!!
April 7, 2017 at 11:29 pm
Raymond, I totally get that! My life sometimes goes AWOL even with my routines. Can you imagine how it would be if I didn’t have them? I try not to think about it!
April 7, 2017 at 6:01 pm
I am totally with you about routines and habits. Yesterday my lunch was provided for me at work so I took a vacation from packing my own lunch. I rarely eat bread for lunch because it makes me lethargic and hungry in an hour. I ate a huge roll that was part of a sub sandwich and drank a diet coke (which gives me a headache). I felt horrible all afternoon into the evening and woke up ravenous this morning craving sweets. All because I veered from my routine and ate foods I don’t usually eat. It was a good reminder and so is your post. These are great ideas for everyone who wants to eat healthy and feel good.
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April 7, 2017 at 11:25 pm
Molly, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve now passed up a “free” lunch at work! At first it was a treat to have it. Then I started checking the point values. Then I realized it wasn’t worth it. And, eventually, I was able to go check out the “free” lunch and know that I didn’t want any part of it. And, while it may have been free from my wallet’s perspective, it most certainly was not free according to my scale’s perspective!
April 8, 2017 at 9:53 am
This is great! Routines are so important. I’ve been side-lined by an injury for the past few months and crave my workout routine. I can’t wait to get back into it!
April 8, 2017 at 10:37 am
I’m so sorry you’re injured. Hope you’re feeling better and able to get back into your routine soon.
April 8, 2017 at 11:47 am
I once read an interesting theory that men tend to find it easier to maintain diets for exactly this reason – that men tend, more than women, to like and follow quite strict routines, and people who like routine sustain diets better than those who don’t.
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April 8, 2017 at 11:51 am
That’s very interesting! I think we women should band together and prove that we can stick to routines too!
April 8, 2017 at 12:17 pm
Having severe ADHD I depend on my routines. This all incredibly resonates and I cannot agree more!
April 8, 2017 at 12:40 pm
I applaud you for recognizing what works and helps you get through each day! We all face different challenges, but it’s funny how something as simple as the importance of routines can bring us all together!
April 8, 2017 at 2:06 pm
I find that routine is the one thing that helps me survive my work day. I break it down into increments and just try to make it to my morning break, then to lunch, then to my afternoon break.
By doing pretty much the same thing on the same schedule every day, I can trick my brain into thinking it is okay with going to the office 5 days a week.
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April 8, 2017 at 10:04 pm
Whatever it takes to get the job done, right? That’s how it is with tracking my points every day. It’s like a game to see how much I can eat for the fewest points possible! Routines make those successes possible. I know what to expect, how to feel, when it’s going to happen, etc. Nothing is perfect, of course, but I find that basic expectation is one of the keys to success.
April 10, 2017 at 12:57 pm
Tracking calories and other macros is a must for me – if I stray from that routine, I find it quite difficult to stay on a healthy path!
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April 10, 2017 at 1:11 pm
Amen! Totally agree with you there.
April 10, 2017 at 8:16 pm
I haven’t had a healthy routine in awhile. This is my time of year where I do so much better. I love to be outside and I just found my rollerblades that I havent used in years so I am excited about that!
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April 11, 2017 at 10:56 am
That’s so exciting. You’ll find your grove with the change of seasons! You’ve got this!
May 3, 2017 at 11:48 am
This really helps me too, Robin!!
As boring as it sounds, we have the same lunch every day of a week (then change it up for the next week). It makes it so much easier for me to prepare, and then it’s already ready to go!!
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May 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm
I love making Mason jar salads! I either make two varieties– two of one and three of the other, or I do one for the week! Then I know and there’s never a “what am I eating for lunch today” situation!
May 3, 2017 at 5:50 pm
Why is it so much easier to break good habits than it is to break bad habits?
May 3, 2017 at 8:43 pm
Must be because bad habits are more fun! 🙂