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Summer means a lot of things for a lot of people: Summer school, vacation, work, going home for the summer, etc. Many college students have summer jobs, and the change in schedules they come with can often be challenging when it comes to recovery. My work schedule has taken a complete 180.
Dealing with changes in schedule can be very difficult to balance with recovery from an eating disorder.
We tend to become comfortable with our meal plan and eating at certain times of day, which may not be possible with schedule changes due to work, vacations, etc. Because of this, it is important to plan ahead and be flexible to continue to meet your meal plan and stay on the road to recovery.
I have found packing a meal helps ensure I get a good lunch or dinner in – depending upon what shift I am working.
By packing a lunch or dinner, I eliminate the possibility of making excuses for myself. It avoids the decision of what to buy on my lunch break, it avoids the time concerns of how long my break is, and avoids the questions of how much I have to spend on my meal and what my meal should have in it to follow my meal plan.
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I have talked about packed lunches before in regards to school lunches, but I want to touch on it again with a focus on lunches while at work.
A lot more options are open when you switch from school to work lunches.
Many of us have microwaves or other appliances available at work that aren’t available for the normal school lunch. For example, I have a panini press where I work, so I have packed sandwiches and other things I would like grilled on my lunch break.
I have also been able to bring leftovers, soups, or other microwaveable foods.
The bottom line is you may have things at your work that can make your packed lunches a bit more interesting.
Regardless, pack things that you will want to eat – whether it is a salad, sandwich, or leftovers – whatever you are going to enjoy and be comfortable eating.
Additionally, be sure you will have time to eat your packed lunch while at work.
In the summer my work is somewhat slow, so eating a lunch or dinner is no big deal. However, during the winter, I can hardly get a minute without something needing to be done. Keeping that in mind, make sure you are realistic about what you are going to have time to eat, and plan accordingly. For example, on days where I won’t have much time to eat, I make sure I have a healthy meal before work, even if that means changing my eating schedule a bit.
These are just a few of the ways my summer schedule has changed, and how I have managed to assure I am staying on track in my recovery.
You may have different schedule difficulties or changes in routine, but regardless, it is important to put your recovery first and make sure you are able to stick to your meal plan, even if the timing of your meals may change.
And make sure to give this thought and consideration as soon as possible.
Don’t wait until it becomes a problem. I know from experience it doesn’t take long to get back into the restriction cycle once you fall off of your meal plan for even a day or two. So plan ahead, be flexible, and last but not least, enjoy your summer!
Don’t let stressing about your meal plan get in the way of a great summer.
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