As a health and wellness coach, I've found that scheduling time for the things that bring happiness keeps me and my clients from using food to fill a void of pleasure or to distract from boredom. To ensure my clients are enjoying more than just food every day, I ask them to purposefully plan out their week—a strategy that helped me overcome binge eating and emotional eating.
On Sundays, I design a fulfilling week by scheduling activities in each of the following categories: work obligations, pleasure, movement, food, variety and consistency, and social and alone time.
When I wrap up, I feel excited about spending my time doing the things I value. Here's how you can do it, too.
Step 1: Major Work Obligations
I look at my workweek to see what’s already on my calendar. I search for red flags, like having too many meetings in one day, or a bunch of deadlines that I know will be overwhelming. Then, I shuffle things around as much as I can to avoid feeling frazzled.
Step 2: Pleasure
After my work agenda is looking good, I think about pleasure; it's my non-negotiable. The process of scheduling in pleasure every day helped me get over my food issues and eventually lose weight. Most people on strict diets tend to deprive themselves of food and activities they love. Since we tend to turn to food to fill a pleasure void, it's a vicious cycle. To avoid all that, I plan dinners with a girlfriend or taking myself out to tea with a good book for an hour. I aim to squeeze in one fun activity per day.
Step 3: Movement
I don’t schedule in movement every day, but I like to at least get a few fun workouts on the calendar, such as yoga classes or other new exercise classes, working out with friends, and planning a time to walk or jog outside. I try to keep this pretty flexible and know I can always try something else or skip it altogether. But by carving out time for movement, there's a better chance I'll actually do it.
Step 4: Food
Sundays are also usually when I do a grocery run. I’ll look at my calendar and see what I have going on that week, so I can figure out how much food to buy. If I’m out most nights, I’ll just pick up food for breakfasts and some lunches. Or, if I have several nights at home, I’ll start looking up recipes to last me a few dinners (I am a huge fan of cooking once and eating all week!).
Step 5: Variety and Consistency
Whether you're more comfortable with consistency or variation is totally a personal thing. Since I'm a fan of switching things up, I make sure that every day looks a little bit different. This might mean I take myself out to breakfast one day before work or that I plan a fun evening out to keep things exciting. It helps me feel fulfilled and inspired by my own life. If you like consistency, make sure your plans fall into the rhythm you crave.
Step 6: Social and Alone Time
In order to feel fulfilled, we need to have real connections with others. I always make sure that I have plenty of time with my girlfriends on my calendar each week. This means that I'm usually planning dinners, coffee dates, and whatnot—but it’s worth it. By making an effort to meet with friends, I ensure that my emotional needs are met.
It's also important to make sure you get enough quality alone time. It’s crucial to connect with yourself. Everyone has a different ideal balance between social and solo time, so try to find what you thrive on and aim for that each week.
Going through each of these categories should help you design a week that makes you feel inspired, joyful, relaxed, and fulfilled. You might find that you don’t need to rely on something like food to fill those voids—which can lead to serious weight loss without dieting.
Jamie Mendell is a holistic health coach who specializes in helping women lose weight without dieting. To find out more about her philosophy, check out her website. And if you’re looking for deeper ways to take care of yourself so food isn’t your go-to, check out her new Supreme Self-Care program.