-by Shannon Collins
Planning can make or break our week when it comes to healthy eating and exercise. Without planning, we are at risk for giving into easy, readily available options and laziness. I have come across so many excuses for not eating right and missing workouts. Many times the reasons have nothing to do with a lack of knowledge. Many people know what they should be doing, but because they aren’t planning ahead, they end up falling into bad habits. Let’s dive into the challenges of planning one at a time:
CHALLENGE: Meal Planning
Some of the excuses that I hear when it comes to meal planning are, “I don’t have time to plan meals for the whole week”, “Healthy meals are boring and I get tired of eating the same thing every day”, and “Preparing my own meals is too big of a time commitment”. These are truly just excuses! There are several strategies to meal planning that can actually minimize the time that you spend on food preparation. First and foremost, you have to make meal planning a priority. This means that you schedule a time each week to devise a meal plan for the week. If not for the week, then for the next day. It won’t take much time and it can streamline your grocery list! There are all kinds of healthy AND tasty options out there. Check in with Fit Gal Club on Facebook here for lots of easy, healthy options. Find some quick, go-to items to keep at home so that you always have healthy options available. Food prep doesn’t have to be complicated. You can even purchase prewashed, precut, preportioned, and precooked items to save time. Prepare your meals (or parts of them) ahead of time (prechopping veggies or mixing marinades, for example). Make two dinners, one for dinner and wrap up the other for lunch tomorrow. There are all kinds of meal planning strategies out there. Find the one that works for you!
CHALLENGE: Dining Out
Dining out without a plan can quickly derail our success. Often we have no idea what we are consuming when we go out to a restaurant. What we thought was a healthy option turns out to be much higher in fat and carbohydrates than we would have thought. Instead of guessing, go out with a plan. There are so many online resources to determine nutrition information at restaurants these days. Check out the menu and nutrition info before you go and know exactly what you are going to order ahead of time. Ask your server how your food is being prepared and don’t be afraid to ask for alterations (no dressing, grilled option, no butter, etc.). Speak up….it’s your body we’re talking about here!
CHALLENGE: Planning Your Workouts
So many people claim that they don’t have time or energy for exercise or they just don’t like to exercise. It is all about planning and prioritizing the 24 hours in your day. Find something that you love and make it a priority. Start small…..no one starts out running a marathon! Build time into your schedule for exercise and keep track of what you’re doing. Each week try to add a little more. Challenge yourself and hold yourself accountable and figure out what works for you. Are you more likely to exercise if you get it done early in the day? Do you prefer to destress after a long day by taking an evening walk? Do you love to dance or are you more likely to go for a jog? Do you like to decompress with time alone or do you prefer to be around a large group? Find something you enjoy and start there. In no time you will realize that it has become habit and you will be ready for new challenges!