People are always searching endlessly for that one magic pill or a potion that is going to make them lose all the weight they’ve ever wanted to lose. What if someone told you that in reality, it’s not just one thing that’s holding up your weight loss? There is one thing that can fix this issue for good, but it’s not going to be found at the bottom of a bottle or in a pill container. The one thing that truly makes your weight loss goals is much “simpler”: planning.
Number crunching or counting your calories can be quite frustrating. Concentrating on designing healthy meals is what we should be concentrating on, not these accounting tasks. The US Department of Agriculture has a pretty useful tool known as “MyPlate” which is designed to help people manage their food choices, and design a balanced meal with relative ease. The design of this program asks you to fill up your plate half full with fruits or vegetables (or both), a quarter with whole grains, and the last quarter with lean meats (chicken breasts, fish, or lean beef). This is a great way to get a “visual basis” for your meals, what foods you need to eat, and help the calories you need each day fall right into place. You really don’t even have to count them, you just have to ensure that you’re eating the right portions. This makes it a lot easier, and makes sure you’re getting proper nutrients your body needs.
It may take a bit of planning and some organization to fill up your plate with foods that are healthy, but you may be surprised when it winds up not taking much of your time to do so. Sarah Bedwell is a noted dietitian who recently wrote a book on just how to do this, in as little as 30 minutes a week. By planning out your meals ahead of time, throughout the week, you need to devote only around 30 minutes to the task and will see major transformation in your body. Making a grocery list (around five minutes of time), designing a meal plan (maybe 10 minutes) and then prepare the food for the week (15 minutes). The last step may be difficult to only do in 15 minutes, but it’s possible and even reasonable to design an entire week’s worth of meals, and cook them, in just an hour or so. Once you do this for a few weeks, it will slowly evolve into a life long habit, one which you can take with you anywhere and easily maintain.
Designing a Meal Plan
There are a few thing that help keep your meal plan on target when you’re designing your meal plan for any weight loss or diet.
- Take in Visual Cues – You want to make a visual “board” (like a calendar) of your meals throughout the week. Somewhere easily accessible like a door or refrigerator.
- Keep Looking Ahead – You always want to be aware of the things you have planned throughout the week. Some days you may need more time to cook than others, and some days you may have to switch over to a frozen meal you prepared already.
- If You Dine Out: Plan Ahead – Dining out is an important part of your social life, to be sure, however there are also risks of overeating. Many people take this as a chance to “indulge” which can often result in feelings of guilt afterwards. Avoiding this is very important.
A Good Strategy for Grocery Shopping
- Getting Coupons Makes A Difference – Many people think that eating healthy can be expensive. Fortunately this isn’t exactly true, and people can actually follow a healthier diet with relative ease on their wallet just by using manufacturer coupons. There are many readily available out there.
- Keep Track of Your Food Inventories – You want to check your refrigerator, your pantry and your freezer for all of the staples you need to make healthy foods often. You want to be proactive with the foods you need to get from the store to prevent forgetting important things.
- Eat Before Going Shopping for Groceries – If you shop when you’re hungry, this is one of the surest ways to buy foods that you really shouldn’t be eating. Oftentimes people who shop when hungry will buy quick, accessible and high carb foods. Have a snack at the very least before you go.
Prepping Your Weekly Meals
- Try to Precook Your Meals – Taking time the weekend before to go through your meals and plan them out for the week can go a long way. Many things like chicken, pasta and brown rice can be prepared in bulk quickly and then frozen for use throughout the week.
- Do Preparation of Produce Early – You can help cut down on the time you spend prepping every meal throughout the week just by chopping and storing vegetables ahead of time. If you prep your food for the next day the night before it makes you life a lot easier.
- Freeze Foods for Later – If you’re running out of time and aren’t sure if you will have time to make food every day, or you find yourself not eating properly, the way to deal with this is to freeze foods and thaw them for meals later. This helps you stay healthy and cuts down on the time you spend preparing meals.