One day you wake up feeling especially bloated. You look into the mirror and hardly recognize yourself anymore. As you inspect your new "curves" you think back over the last couple days, weeks, or months and realize your lifestyle has drastically changed. Your running shoes are dusty, strewn in a corner despite how warn in you stretchy yoga pants are, and you can't remember the last time you ate a vegetable. Wait- does the tomato on your hamburger the other day count? It totally counts... Right?
Then you get dressed in "the only pants that fit you right now", and head to the kitchen to get breakfast. Alas no healthy options are available so you settle for drive through coffee and a butter croissant. By the time you get to work or school you are extremely discouraged and can't imagine how you will ever undo what's been done, so you do what's easy, which is continue to eat whatever you want, however much you want, and by the time you get home you're too tired and feeling yucky so exercising is out. But right before bed you think back to the morning and start to feel guilty about not doing better. Then you bust out the excuse: it's too hard.
This cycle seems to be never ending, but there is hope. There is a way out if you want it. And here it is:
1) The next morning, strip down to your birthday suit and jump on the scale. Hope for the worst because this is your beginning number. Later, the bigger this number is the more impressive your results will be. Then, write it down, put it away, and go get dressed.
|Image by east Dallas Crossfit|
You can still eat your favorite foods, just make them lower in calories and higher in nutrients with healthy swaps! Trade goldfish for whole wheat crackers. Use cucumber slices instead of chips. Zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Collard greens instead of taco shells.
Here's an example of my upcoming week:
Breakfasts: cottage cheese and green tea for mornings I'm in a rush, perfect fit pancakes for mornings when I have a little bit more time
Am snack: 1 cup grapes and 1 serving of almonds
Lunch: either quinoa salad with crackers and laughing cow cheese, or a veggie, hummus wrap on a whole wheat tortilla with a side salad.
Pm snack: perfect fit protein shake with almond milk.
Dinner: salad with choice of protein.
After you have your meals planned out its time to look over recipes and write down your shopping list. Next to the shopping list write down how you will need to use each food item. For example when shopping for the veggies to go into my veggie wraps, I will note that I need them cut length wise. While keeping in mind that I will need egg whites for my pancakes, I can then choose the liquid whites over whole eggs to keep my labor shorter.
After you have shopped till you dropped its time to prep your meals. This is where that side list of how you will be using each ingredient comes in useful. Start by dividing each food item and grouping together what you will use for each meal. Cut, dice, or peel accordingly. If you need to actually cook a recipe do so. Make sure all your breakfast foods are front and center in your fridge so they are easy no brianers when you are just waking up. Use Tupperware to divide salads for the week, or any other meal you decide to have. Make it so easy that all you have to do is pull it out the fridge, heat if necessary, and then devour. If you are packing your lunches, why not pack them now, put a label on them noting each day, and then put them in the fridge. If you are portioning out snacks, do it now. For my 1 cup grapes, I like to wash the fruit, and then measure them out into Ziplock bags for the week. The whole idea is a grab and go system so that you are never standing at the refrigerator with the door open wondering what you should eat.
This system really helps to keep food costs and waste down. It might be cumbersome the first week or two but then it will get easier, I promise. Another plus to food prepping is that you can measure out correct portions which will keep you from over-eating.
3) The next step is to get moving. Look at your calendar for the week, where do you have some time to exercise? Schedule in at least 4 workouts for the week. Just 30 minutes is enough. You can do anything; go to a class at the gym, go for a run, walk, at-home workout videos, heck even YouTube has some amazing options. My personal favorite is to run for cardio and do Tone It Up videos at home. Those are my go-to workouts, and they are effective. Later you will need to add variety, but this is just a jump-start, so anything you choose will be effective.
After scheduling your meals and workouts you will begin to feel a lot better. Mostly because you will have a plan! After utilizing the plan after about three days you will begin to see results. Slowly but surely you will start to feel like yourself again, I promise! Sometimes life gets a little crazy and we settle into doing what's easy, but easy doesn't have to be bad for you! Taking a few hours every Sunday to meal plan and schedule your workouts will save you so much time and headache during the week.
After a few weeks you will continue to lose extra pounds and begin to feel better about yourself. Once you feel normal again it's important to find a balance. Continue it plan your meals but it will be OK to splurge once or twice a week! Life will happen, and I demand you are present for yours! Just find the right balance for you to maintain your happy!