Here’s the big secret to staying healthy, eating right, exercising, and losing weight all while staying on track without slipping up. You ready for it? There is no secret. It’s called putting in the time and effort to make your health a priority. It’s about breaking unhealthy habits and replacing them with new, healthy routines. And, guess what else. You will most likely slip up from time to time, and that’s ok. Life’s not perfect, you’re not perfect, and that is perfectly ok.
In order to make this whole healthy-lifestyle-thing stick, you’re going to have to start making your health a priority and valuing your health enough to put in the time and effort it takes to stay on track. Enter, Planning Ahead. That’s right, reaching your nutrition, weight and fitness goals does not come easy (remember, there’s no secret that everyone else is hiding from you), and it does not just magically happen. It comes from planning your meals, snacks, and workouts ahead of time to make staying on track easier. Create a habit of planning ahead and executing on that plan, and you are well on your way to living your healthiest life and making it stick.
While planning ahead does take some time and effort at first, it actually makes your week so much easier once all of the work is done. It takes the guess work out of what you’ll eat all week, and makes life so much easier when all of your meals and snacks are prepped ahead of time. You’ll be less likely to run into a situation where you come home from work, don’t feel like cooking, have nothing in the house, and end up ordering take out or eating stale crackers with peanut butter out of the pantry for dinner.
Here are my top 10 tips for planning ahead to help you stay on track and not only reach your goals, but live your healthiest life.
- Get a journal: It doesn’t matter if you use a paper and pen, an app like My Fitness Pal, or a document you’ve created on your computer. Just get a journal and start writing. Write out what you plan to eat for the week, and then document what you eat and drink, and your workouts, all week long. Research shows that keeping a food diary makes a big difference in reaching your goals.
- Explore recipes and get inspired: Check out some fun blogs like these that I love (this one, this one, and this one), to find inspiring recipes each week. Find fun, tasty, and exciting ways to prepare your meals so that you actually enjoy eating healthy food. It really is delicious!
- Take it one week at a time: Sit down one day on the weekend to create your meal plan and workout routine for the week.
- Get detailed: The more specific you get, the easier it will be to follow the plan. And, the less tempted you will be to deviate
- Make a shopping list: Write down everything you need to prep your meals for the week.
- Go shopping and stick to the list: Don’t get side tracked by the chocolate chip cookies in isle 3. They’re totally not on your list.
- Make all of your meals at once: Get in the kitchen and start cooking. By making big batches of food, you will save time and energy all week long. You won’t have to worry about what’s for dinner, because, well, it’s already made!
- Portion it out: When you’re finished cooking, portion out your meals and snacks into their individual containers for the week. You’ll be so happy on Wednesday morning when all you have to do is grab your containers and get out the door.
- Execute the plan: You’ve done all the hard work, now, you execute the plan. Stick to the meals and snacks you’ve prepared, head to the gym on the days you’ve decided, and have a great week.
- Track your progress: Write down what you liked, what you didn’t like, when you felt like deviating, if you were hungry, full etc. so you have a better idea for the next week. Log your food, water, and workouts to make sure you are meeting all of your needs and reaching your goals for the week.