Emergency Preparedness

First of all, I wanted to let you all know that this post is in response to a request from MeYouHealth in regards to their Blogger Well-Being Challenge promoting their Daily Challenge.  I agreed to it because their philosophy (small actions that make a lasting impact) fit in so well with what I've learned over the past year and how I'm trying to live my life going forward.
Today's (Dec. 15, 2010) ChallengeSwap your mid-afternoon snack to save cash and calories.
How to do it:
Step away from the vending machine or corner convenience store! Instead of choosing a sweetened drink for your mid-day break, fill a reusable bottle with water from home or from the big-bottle dispenser at work. Also skip high-calorie snack or candy bars, pastries, and salty snacks in the machine. Instead, choose fruit, trail mix, or string cheese and get a better deal for your bank account and body today.

Why it Matters:
Loose change adds up. The cash you'll save each week by not buying vending-machine drinks or snacks (priced about $1.50 each) every workday could give you $100 or more in your wallet in just three months. By drinking water instead of one sweetened beverage during a work day, you could save 200-plus calories daily (many drink labels have calorie counts per 8 oz., when the bottles hold 16 oz. or more). That's a savings of 15,000 calories in three months!

Fun Fact:
The average cost of a serving of fruit or vegetable (fresh, frozen, and canned) is 25 cents per serving.
Unfortunately, this is a lesson I've already learned -- the hard way.  It's no joke that at my company people tend to gain the "Freshman 15" the first year they work there.  It's not just the snack vending machines or soda machines--all the candy dishes, all the cookies and cakes for random occasions, and on top of all that, most of us are glued to our desks and computers. 

I was no exception to the "Freshman 15" at the office.  I can break down my failures into two different categories:
  1. Not eating lunch and eating something disastrous as a "snack"
  2. Not planning my meals the day before, or even the morning before. 
I think these two things are problematic no matter where you live, work, study, or play -- whether you a bustling metropolis or in the middle of nowhere.  I work in the middle of a smallish city.  With that comes all the trappings of the city -- the fast food, the multiple Starbucks and other coffee shops, and a CVS, pharmacy, or newsstand everywhere you turn.  The only difference between my smallish city and the middle of nowhere is that I do not need to get in a car to make some bad choices -- they're next door!

When I didn't eat lunch, my blood sugar would crash and I'd make bad decisions because I was delirious.  When I didn't plan my meals the day before, and the day's stress would get the best of me, I would make choices based more on comfort and less on nutrition.  These choices were usually based on what was nearby and easy:

In other words, it was a caloric minefield and a nutritional wasteland.

I knew when I made the choice to make my health and well-being a priority it wouldn't be easy (it's not hard, though).  I'm am an unorganized organized person, or an organized unorganized person.  It's easy for me to plan certain things, but not my own food. I'm a highly moody eater.  This was part of my disordered eating pattern.  I would use my eyes to determine my hunger than my stomach.  Luckily, I have been able to work with a registered dietitian and together we have begun the dialogue between my mind and my stomach.

So where does "Emergency Preparedness" fit in to all of this?  Well just like the Boy Scouts, I've learned that I need to be prepared to deal with my stomach (and my moods) in a healthy manner.  What does this mean?  Having lots of healthy choices on hand to deal with hunger or thirst.

Not pictured, but often on hand (either in a cabinet by my desk, or in the shared refrigerator on my floor):
  • (original) Fiber One cereal to add in to my Chobani Greek yogurt (the protein helps me stay fuller longer, and this is a tasty way to add some fiber to your diet)
  • Old Fashioned Quaker Oats (add salt and hot water and let it sit or microwave for a few minutes and will taste much better than the instant stuff)
  • Wasa Crisp'n Light crackers (in 7 grain or mild rye) to use with a Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge
  • Baby carrots, celery, or zucchini and some hummus in a half cup Rubbermaid container
  • Other whole fruits that don't need to be refrigerated and have a few days of shelf life -- like oranges or fruit canned in its on juice or water (not syrup)
  • Cucumber, tomato and red onion salad with a little bit of white wine vinegar
  • Almonds in an Altoid can -- it helps me not overdo it on portion sizes
  • A hard boiled egg (the eggs I get at the farmer's market are delicious and so healthy!)
I'm also lucky that my company has a pretty darn good coffee and tea selection in the break room (and sadly way too many artificial sweeteners, but that's another story)-- along with a water filter that dispenses both hot and cold water.  This comes in handy because often when I've had a great breakfast and lunch and some hearty snacks, I will still feel hungry.  I've learned that this is actually thirst I'm feeling.  A quick trip to the water filter to refill my 72 oz mug and I'm back in business.

Yesterday there were cupcakes with green and red sprinkles everywhere.  I was able to walk away from them because I had a plan:  I knew what I wanted to eat, and it was ready and waiting for me.  If I had seen something that interested me, I would have been better able to make a value choice versus the making a choice based on my environment, my desperation to eat anything because I hadn't eaten in hours, or because someone else wanted me to eat it.


Lots of good info to ponder here. My fave line, "I would use my eyes to determine my hunger than my stomach"... so many of us with eating issues think we can just go from one minute to the next and we'll be Ok. Well, Ok, then why aren't/weren't we? It is because until we take the time to get to know ourselves, and really know ourselves to the point of acknowledging why we do what we know we ought not to, until that point we are subconsciously doing things like 'using our eyes to determine hunger'. Which once we have that moment of clarity it is like a V-8 moment, oh I love V-8; and we are instantly healthier in the mind and on our way to making our bodies better too.


All that deliciousness around the corner even LOOKS tempting!! It is much easier when you have a plan set in place. The laughing cow cheese and crackers is my favorite snack! The only downfall is if I wasn't paying attention, I would probably eat 3 or 4 servings of it in one sitting.


Great site here..I'll keep returning, great advice!



Terrific post and so inspiring! The Almonds in an Altoid can is a neat trick that I'll never forget now. Thankfully they now make 100 calorie packs that you can take with you.

I struggle with making healthy choices every single day. Reading this makes me all the more committed. And for that, I can't thank you enough!

- Alicia
Social Media Manager
MeYou Health


Patrick: I'm more V8 engine than V8 the drink. I say eat the whole fruits & veggies and avoid all the extra sodium or sugar (the V8 splash drinks are horribe!!). But yeah, I think true success is when you go from trying to survive minute-to-minute and can focus on long term goals and behaviors.

Fat Mom: I think that can be a problem regardless of what you're eating. You have to be present and focused when eating. Ask yourself if you're hungry always. Give your body and mind time to process the food you intake.

Sandy: welcome to my little blog. Glad you like it!

Angela: How you doing, hon?

Alicia: I can't say that trick is mine. I'm very lucky to have a very savvy dietitian. The containers in the video are about the same size of an Altoid can. I don't like the whole "100-calorie" pack mentality -- it almost makes people go on cruise control and think that just because it's "only" 100 calories that it's good. Almonds are good, but you should know what portion sizes are regardless of the container it comes in.

Glad you liked the entry, hon!


Very nice and so well said! Keep up the good work, girl! I don't even know you and I'm proud of you!


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