Planning is Everything

In my last blog I talked about how to set yourself up for success when it comes to exercising on a daily basis. The same is true for your diet. If you want to successfully stick to your diet, don't self-sabotage!

The most important factor for sticking to your diet is planning ahead. In order to eat healthy, nutritious meals you must: first plan out healthy meals, then shop for the ingredients (or get them delivered to your home), and finally prepare those ingredients into meals of the correct portion size. All of this must be done BEFORE you are hungry and ready to eat!!!

Once you are hungry, it is way too late. You are not going to make the best decisions when your blood sugar is plummeting and your stomach is growling. You need to avoid this situation at all costs! Instead, have a weekly ritual (maybe on Sundays) where you scan your diet cookbooks, pick out meals that sound good, write a shopping list of all the ingredients needed, hit your local Walmart or Trader Joe's, stock up on enough fresh veggies, fruit, meat, eggs, dairy, and fish to last at least a week, and then prep your meals ahead of time.

Step One: Find a few excellent cookbooks (or websites) that features dishes and meals which fit your diet's parameters. Every diet has its own cookbook (and website!) these days, so you will never have trouble finding recipes to fit any particular diet. Your local library will have at least one entire shelf dedicated to diet cookbooks.

Step Two: Set a weekly time to sit down and plan out your meals for the week. Do this when you will feel relaxed and not rushed, after you have eaten and NOT on an empty stomach!

Step Three: Set a weekly time for grocery shopping. I strongly recommend shopping after a meal, and never on an empty stomach. All kinds of things can go wrong if you are wandering around the Walmart while starving! Believe me, I have made many mistakes. Purchase ONLY what is on your list. Don't even look down the naughty aisles. You know which ones I'm talking about.

Step Four: Prep your meals ahead of time whenever possible. This could mean fully cooking your meals and dividing them up into pre-portioned containers which you simply grab out of the fridge and reheat. Or it could mean chopping a bunch of veggies and storing them for future use. Do as much prep as you need to make cooking and eating a breeze for the rest of your week. If you work Monday-Friday, it makes sense to do your prep on Sunday.

With practice, you will learn to purchase the correct amounts of all your staples so you never run out in the middle of the week. The goal is to avoid situations where you are hungry and have nothing healthy to eat. If you are happy with your meals, the fast food places will no longer call your name! You will enjoy eating and lose weight, too.