Last Monday, wanting to be in better shape for trekking across the George Mason campus in July, I started the Whole 30 Diet. Deep in the middle of food prep for the week, I found myself trying to come up with just the right sequence of foods that I could pre-prepare and have ready to eat. What dinners could I use for lunch the next day? What quantity would I need to prepare to make that happen? What kind of healthy snacks could I make to give myself a break from protein, fat and veggies? It took me a while to plan out and prep food for the entire week, but now having survived week one (and lost 3 pounds!) I can tell you that it was well worth the ease in coming home and having dinner ready in less than thirty minutes each night.
Eating breakfast on Sunday and getting ready to do all that again for this week, it dawned on me – this kind of planning came to me naturally because it was just like Kodály lesson planning!
Whether planning meals for a diet or lessons for my music classroom, I do think in monthly plans. I know what my goals are for the month (losing weight; preparing a musical concept) and in the weekly plans I carefully break down how to get there. I can switch up foods for variety just like I can switch up activities in the classroom. Each day varies that process just a little bit (a different protein; a different song) and for fun I can insert a new (snack; singing game.)
Wow! No wonder I’m enjoying my new diet. I’m losing weight, eating three delicious, nutritious, fresh meals a day and practicing what I preach.
From an Alexander Technique perspective, this realization is all about pausing, becoming aware of correlations between the kind of habitual choices I most like to make and, figuring out how the directions I am used to following in teaching can now apply to my diet. I used to do this kind of meal planning (with less food restrictions) when I was younger, working full time with a child in the house. I don’t think I could have survived without weekly meal prep. In recent years I’d let all of that organization go and have been living more like an Alexander person than a Kodály person. Dinner preparation has often been “Wow – what are we going to eat tonight? I have no idea. Let’s eat out!” That’s lovely and freeing and in the present moment, but it isn’t very healthy. Restaurants offer lot of salt, a lot of sugar, and portions way too large for me that I tended to eat anyway. It was definitely time for a re-boot and a detox.
I know from years of experience (and I’m learning again!) that in the beginning this kind of planning takes time. But once you get started, it gets easier and easier. I wouldn’t teach any other way – and my husband certainly hopes that we won’t eat any other way since he’s getting three square meals on the table every day. Just like the kids loved my Kodály classes, my husband loves the food I’m feeding him now. Healthy, nutritious and fun. A great combination.
Know someone who might be interested in Kodály Music Education training? Check out our Kodály at George Mason University program.