Back to School at 40-Something – What’s for Lunch?


This week was relatively easy going.  Busy as usual with a few late nights, but thankfully, no all-nighters.  I’m really focused and attending to the projects at hand, successfully managing the time to do the work and meet the quickly approaching deadlines.

As I’ve mentioned before, the pressures of the programme are relentless and take up most of my free time.  I don’t mean the free time I might spend socializing, going to the movies or to the gym, but the free time I would normally spend on my nutrition and diet.

I’ve been pretty serious about the food I eat for the last couple of decades.  The Zone diet, an alternative approach to nutrition by Dr. Barry Sears was my primary guide for nine years, and being a bit of a purist I initially cut out all of the white starches, increased my fruits and vegetables, chose lean meats and healthy fats.  Over time I relaxed a bit and adjusted the Zone principles to a more inclusive and healthier approach to eating.  This kind of diet along with a gym programme of weights and cardiovascular activities, has kept me lean and fully energized for the last 20 years.  It was the way I lived.  But now that I’m back at school, it’s all changed.  Eating properly has become a daily struggle.

I’m still able to keep breakfast and dinner pretty healthy, but lunch is where trouble comes into play – lunch and evening snacking!  Lunch is always on the fly; 10 to 15 minutes is frequently all the time available.  So what to do?  It wasn’t too long before I fell into the habit of picking up a slice of pizza and a soft drink.  It wasn’t healthy, but it was easy and most of all, comforting.  As comforting in fact, as eating chocolate covered almonds and BBQ chips, my special “comfort” habit for the evenings.

This kind of eating in combination with copious amounts of coffee and no gym activity was going to eventually take me down, so I knew I had to make some changes.  I tried packing lunches, but with limited time for planning and shopping, that was short lived.  So I’ve had to accept that fast food is the practical solution right now, but no matter how difficult, I am trying to make healthier choices both for lunch and snacks.

I’ve gained weight, some eight to ten pounds since August and even though I’m horrified, I can’t worry too much about it right now.  Fortunately, end of term is coming up in August and then I will be on work term until December, which hopefully means a more regular schedule.   If that’s so, you can bet my increasing poundage that I’ll quickly get back to eating properly and hitting the gym with greater regularity.  I look forward to the next few months and a slightly healthier lifestyle.

This week meet someone younger and someone older:

Rand, 20
Dubai, UAE
About: charming, endearing, intelligent and wise beyond her years.  dubbed the princess of “everything” she’s a force unto herself and one on which I’ll be keeping a watchful eye.  She’s sure to be going places!

Jennifer, 35
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
About: a former botanist would be architect; mother of three wonderful happy boys, the youngest of which was born months before the start of the program! How she manages is beyond comprehension and reminds me that I have little to complain about!