Meal Planning For Weight Loss
Meal planning can be one of the single most important aspects of developing a healthy lifestyle. When we don’t plan ahead, it can be very easy to give into the temptations of unhealthy food choices and eating on the go.
Especially when it becomes a habit to eat for convenience rather than eating foods that will nourish our bodies.
Meal planning can feel like a chore. It can be somewhat intimidating, especially to somebody who doesn’t do well with organization.
If you find yourself having a hard time with meal planning, don’t fret. You’ll get better at it with time.
And for a quick start there are meal planning kits that you can buy today to make it easy to get started. No one says you have to do all the hard work yourself!
Many of these fresh food services have the option of ordering boxes full of fresh ingredients and include recipes that you can use.
This can be very helpful if you’re not used to cooking with new ingredients. And it helps when poor eating habits and a busy work schedule make it seem difficult to carve out the time necessary to make healthy, nourishing meals.
Here are 7 tips to help you with meal planning so you can eat healthy, save money on food and lose weight by choosing the right food ahead of time:
Step 1: Research Your Options
The first step in meal planning is research. If you’re going to get yourself healthy, and plans meals to lose weight you have to look at your options.
Researching recipes is the first place to start. Accumulating a binder full of healthy foods that you want to try out can be both fun and an interesting experience.
It will open your mind to food possibilities you may have otherwise scoffed at or thought would be too difficult for you to prepare. You can learn tips and tricks when it comes to cooking healthy that you didn’t known before.
Cooking can be a hard habit to get into, but once you begin to master it, you’ll be surprised by just how much freedom you can find in putting a meal together for yourself that is both health-conscious and in line with your goal of shedding weight.
Look at recipe books, websites and apps and get an accumulation of recipes that you want to try. Start with the things that look the most delicious and nourishing, and if you’re a novice in the kitchen, you may also want to look to the things that seem the most simple.
A good way to start is to choose colourful dishes. That means there will be a variety of veges that are low in calories and good for your health (and waist line.)
Step 2: Organise Your Recipes
Next, you should keep your recipes organized in a simple way that’s easy to navigate. If you find yourself overwhelmed by a lack of organization, it will make meal planning more difficult.
When you’re beginning a new habit, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything as simply as possible. Too much change at once can be demanding on your system, and you should always try to implement small, easy changes until they’ve become a new habit.
Make sure that you’re recipes are easily accessible, so that when you want to begin preparing your meal you can do so easily.
If you’re using a binder, you may want to consider laminating the pages or using plastic sleeves, so that if you’re using it in the kitchen, they’re not affected by water or other food contamination.
I’m a pretty simple person. I print recipes in hard copy and put them in a display folder. I leave it in the kitchen where I can find it.
I’m not so much into the tech side of things and have found it harder to follow recipes when I’m trying to mix ingredients or stir a pot and scroll my phone for the next instruction.
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Step 3: Create a Menu
When you organize your recipes, it would help to put them in order of breakfast meals, lunch meals, dinner meals, and snacks. This will help you to reference the recipes more easily once you start cooking or prepping.
If you like, you could even organize your binder by day of the week, and have your meals planned out for every day and file it in the binder int that order.
There are many ways you can organize your recipes. Do what seems to make the most sense to you intuitively. Don’t force yourself to adhere to a type of organization that doesn’t work for you. Instead, make sure that you’re doing what works best for you.
Make sure that you’re taking the time to regularly seek out new recipes that stand out to you to keep your creative juices flowing and keep your meals interesting.
There are so many types of recipes you can try, just keep in mind your budget and how long the food will keep for. This is a big mistake people make when they start meal planning.
They get excited and buy a heap of ingredients and small fortune on containers to “organise” themselves. The food goes in the bin because they didn’t know how to prepare it and the containers get stored in the cupboard never to see the light of day. Don’t do that.
Step 4: Get Technical or Not
Next, if your a tech guru or love gadgets you could explore software such as Excel spreadsheets or Miro board or Air Table that will help you to organize your meal planning.
On Excel you will find templates you can choose from to help yourself plan out your meals by the day, time, and week. This can be a hugely valuable resource if you’re into it.
If you would prefer not to use excel, there are also apps you could download on your phone or tablet or another device to help you to utilize your time and resources better.
Of course you can go the old school route and buy a notebook that is specially designed toward planning meals.
This is an important step in making sure your meals are organized and easily accessible. Having a meal plan is extremely helpful when it comes to embarking upon a journey of healthy eating and in particular weight loss.
Step 5: Create a Meal Theme
One thing that can really help when it comes to meal planning is sticking with a meal theme. For example, a lot of people have specific themes like taco Tuesday or another day that is assigned for Pasta night or Sandwich night or another specific type of meal.
If you think that would help you to stay on track, feel free to imitate that type of meal planning. It’s done for a reason, because it works and it helps to keep things simple and streamlined.
It can be annoying to find yourself stuck doing a lot of planning and preparation every single week or month, so if you want to keep things easy, that can be a good way to do it.
You could have a theme for biweekly meals, such as taco Tuesday one night and maybe rice and vegetables Tuesday the next and alternate between them. There is no wrong way to plan your meals. See what works for you.
Step 6: Accountability
Without follow-through, everything else becomes redundant and difficult. Something that can truly help you to succeed at meal planning is accountability.
If you let somebody know that you’re starting to plan your meals, ask them if they would be willing to help you to stick to your routine.
They can help you by asking questions about how things are going and whether or not you’re staying on track. They may also choose to encourage you and cheer you on through your endeavors.
However, they choose to support you, they can be very rewarding for both of you. If they’re a positive and supportive person, it can be great to know that you have people rallied in your corner who truly want you to succeed.
Just make sure that you are weeding out toxic people who are critical people and will make it harder for you to accomplish your goals.
Constructive feedback can be incredibly useful, but if you’re not seeking constructive feedback, it can at times be toxic.
And let’s face it some people don’t like to see people doing well. Especially when it comes to weight loss and choosing healthy habits. It can make them feel self-conscious.
Make sure you understand the difference between a toxic person masquerading as a supportive person and a supportive person who truly wants to see you thrive.
Step 7: Journaling and Tracking Your Progress
Another way to take accountability is through journaling and self affirmations.
Talking to yourself about your goals, internally or out loud, can be a good way to help you to stay focused.
You can journal answers by asking yourself whether or not you’re doing the things that you hope to accomplish, what’s working for you, what isn’t, what changes do you want to make, why is this important to you etc.
If you find that you’re not on track to achieving your goals, instead of beating yourself up about it, consider your obstacles and move on as you begin to uncover them. The only way you will ever be a failure is if you don’t try or you don’t get started.
When you get started everything will fall into place because you’re making an effort and creating positive changes in your life. You can refine things from there.
But if you don’t start then you can’t improve. You can’t have something you want if you’re not willing to do what it takes to have it.
Journaling can help you keep track of what you’re eating, how much you’re eating and you will be able to see if your food is in balance or if there’s too much of this or that.
This will give you a good idea of what you can realistically expect from yourself too and what situations or people influence your food choices.
The things that you are unhappy with, you should address and take note of.
But instead of being angry at yourself for not being a tackling it right away, remember that it’s a process and you need to go slowly. Instead of implementing an entire change in routine and planning out every meal for the next month when you have never done it before start where you’re at.
Start slow by easing into planning meals for one or two nights a week or just planning breakfasts for the first week. Then gradually add in the rest as you feel comfortable with the process. Make changes that won’t shock your system. Gradual change is the most lasting.
And journaling about your experiences will help you to uncover your innermost thoughts about the process and things that you might not even realize were holding you back.
You’ll begin to sense patterns in your behavior and possibly predict when you might find yourself tempted to get off track and why. If you’re able to identify these trigger points, it will be easier to avoid them in the future.
Conclusion on Meal Planning
Creating good habits takes time and patience, and it’s inevitable that you will slip somewhere along the way. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay stuck on the ground!
Actually, it just means that you’re going to have to get back up and start again, because giving up is far easier than sticking to your plans.
Meal planning can be fun or at least make you feel organised. Even if you aren’t the type who enjoys that type of organization, it can be very rewarding to think about exactly what you’re going to be putting in your body and knowing you’ve got everything under control.
Everybody deserves a chance to become the healthiest version of themselves. And to lose weight and feel good in their own skin. With meal planning and a healthy dose of self-esteem, you’ll be well on your way to a lifestyle of healthy eating and shedding weight with ease.
If you need help click here to make an appointment to talk about your meal planning and lifestyle habits and I can help you in person or over Skype/Zoom.
If you’re wanting to lose weight, you can check out the Hypnotic Gastric Lapband Weight Loss program here or read about hypnosis to stop food cravings which I can help you achieve face to face or over zoom /skype.