Feeding Schedule

My days start early. At least three mornings a week, I'm out of the house by 5:10AM. On many days, my evenings end at 8PM. I usually return home during the day, but the schedule doesn't jive with a normal breakfast, lunch, dinner schedule.

I'm sure those of you that exercise before work or have long commutes understand. If I eat at 5, I want lunch at 10, then dinner at 3, and I'm starving again by 8.

At first, I tried to make it work. I ate a normal breakfast--or at least as normal as it gets when breakfast occurs between 5:00 and 5:05AM. After morning practice, I would stave off hunger as long as possible--usually until 11AM.

Sometimes, lunchtime would also require coordination with a workout, which either pushed it forward to 10AM or back to noon.

With this strategy, I was so hungry during afternoon practices, I'd basically eat another meal.. except that meal would consist of snacks I could shove in my bag on the way out the door. By 8PM, I was no longer ravenous, so I skimped on dinner--one of the healthiest meals of my day. End result: I was hungry again by bedtime, an hour later.

The whole affair was just too complicated, and involved eating the wrong foods and the wrong times, in the wrong quantities.

I've tried several different variations since then, but the one I've settled on seems to work best: it minimizes grumpiness but lets me eat just the right amount of food.

5AM: big breakfast--usually cereal with a little bit of fruit
8AM: small snack, like a piece of fruit, or a piece of chocolate (like I said--it minimizes grumpiness)
10:30 or 11AM: small, healthy lunch, with a focus on fruits and vegetables--usually a veggie sandwich with fruit and veggie sticks on the side
2PM: small snack
4-5PM: snacks during practice--usually fruit, crackers or a PB&J on whole wheat
8PM: dinner + dessert (yes, dessert is a daily requirement)

My work schedule isn't constant, so there are numerous variations on this plan. Still, I'm happy to have a plan that works most of the time.

How do you juggle meals with work commitments?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Mondays are by far my favorite day of the week. So while everybody else celebrates Friday, I'd like to give Monday a little bit of love.

I lucked out--I love my job(s).

I'm currently coaching two rowing teams--a junior girl's program (for high school students) and a master's men's program. I work 30-35 hours a week between the two programs, but have the middle of my day free to train, cook, clean, and catch up on wedding planning and the housing search.

The schedule is the biggest downside. With four early mornings and four late afternoons, finding time to eat dinner before I'm a total zombie can be a bit of a challenge. We're hoping to shorten my commute a bit with our own place.

Mostly, though, coaching is everything I could want in a job.

First of all, I have to be a jack-of-all-trades--politician, motivator, tactician, scientist, engineer, builder, improviser, safety advisor, public speaker and much, much more. It means I'm constantly learning, and forcing myself out of my comfort zone.

Second, I can inspire people to do incredible things. The examples are endless: The girl who couldn't run a mile a month ago, but this week ran 2 miles as part of the workout. The guys beat their 20 minute test speed on their thirty minute test--all because they believed in the training. The ones who have lost weight, and gained fitness, who touched their toes, or completed a squat. And in turn, it inspires me to do incredible things.

Third, it's hard work. School has rarely challenged me. Rowing taught me to work hard, and for that, I love rowing.

As a new coach, I'm definitely in over my head--who knew coaches used training plans? and did teambuilding exercises? and motivated athletes? Who knew motorboats were so difficult to start and maintain? And that rigging rowing boats was so complicated? So I have to work hard.

But the reward far surpasses the effort, and for that, I love Mondays.

What do you love about your job? Let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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