Spoiler alert! You need to plan ahead to lose weight.
Millions of people are trying to lose weight. Changing their diets, starting an exercise routine, trying to live a balanced and healthy life.
There are also millions of people giving up on their new lifestyle, and going back to their unhealthy habits. It is estimated that 95% of people fail to make healthy, sustainable changes, and many of them fail within just a week.
And while those statistics are widely disputed, what's not disputed is that the majority of people have a hard time sticking with a new nutrition or exercise plan long-term, and the reason for that has absolutely nothing to do with willpower or genetics.
It's simple. It comes down to failing to plan ahead.
People are great at setting routines and never breaking them. People are creatures of habit, so by flying by the seat of your pants when you want to change something as big as the food you eat or physical activity, you'll fail without a plan.
Unhealthy habits are difficult to change. But, the good news is there's one simple trick to making healthy living habits that last.
Planning ahead! This by far, is the most important habit you can develop, and it will pay you back huge dividends too.
When you meal plan, organize a healthy grocery list and have a backup plan for hiccups, you'll be much more likely to stick with your new healthy lifestyle, lose weight and feel AWESOME about yourself.
Still not convinced why you need to plan ahead to lose weight? Here's more reasons.
Why You Need To Plan Ahead To Lose Weight
You Can't Work & Be A Chef
Let's be real. Working and being the household chef is two jobs, and you're too busy for that!
Imagine you come home from a long day at work and you're staring at a refrigerator full of ingredients. Chances are high you'll go either through the drive through or order takeout instead of making a healthy meal. Sound familiar?
That's because your brain is tired from a full day of working. Creating a meal on the fly, takes as much mental endurance as running a marathon. Cooking is work!
By setting aside 30 minutes every week to meal plan, you can come home, look at the plan and know exactly what needs to be made. There's no decision making in the moment. You simply follow the plan. Bonus if you make it ahead of time and can heat up leftovers!
You'll Have All Your Bases Covered
For today's busy family, planning is necessary to keep track of everyone's evolving schedules. Between work, school, hobbies, sports, appointments and social gatherings, it's hard to know who's coming and going when and where. This can throw a wrench in your eating plans if you wait until the last minute to figure it out.
When you meal prep, check the family calendar and plan meals and snacks that accommodate everyone's schedule. Include on-the-go friendly snacks and plan crockpot meals that will make the meal for you while you're out.
This way you won't suddenly find yourself scrambling to find something to eat for a crowd of kids that show up for a play date, or if you're single find yourself like Bridget Jones eating moldy cheese and drinking wine.
You'll Have A Backup
Anyone can stick to a new diet or exercise program when things are going smoothly, but once something unexpected happens, they give up and order takeout.
By planning ahead, you can anticipate things that may cause a change in plans, and have a backup ready to help you stay on track.
For example, keep a stash of healthy snacks in your purse for appointments that run late. Keep steam vegetables, turkey burgers, fish (yes, you can cook these frozen) or pre-made soup or casseroles in the freezer so when you're short on time, you can heat and EAT! Keep gym clothes in your car so you can head go to the gym if the kids practice is running late.
Leaving everything to chance gives you excuses, and your weight or health won't accommodate excuses.
You'll Eat The Right Portions
We live in supersize America, and estimating calories and portion sizes has become a problem as much as the obesity epidemic. When you plan ahead, it's more likely you'll eat the right portions because you won't overbuy food which will save you money! Also, you can divide a single meal into separate containers so there's no question how much you should be eating on any given night.
You'll Get More Nutrients
Recipe - Skinny Orange Chicken
By planning a week of meals and snacks, it's easier to balance your nutritional intake over the course of the week. However, if you take things day by day, you are more likely to overindulge in a given food thereby neglecting the other nutrients you should be getting. Put it this way, if you want your cake and to eat it too, then planning will help you achieve that balance.
Planning ahead is critical to changing, sustaining and/or meting a weight loss or health related goal. By planning ahead each week, picking out recipes, making a healthy shopping list, and doing basic food prep, you will find it much easier to stay on track.
Stop make excuses and setting yourself up for failure by leaving everything to chance. Start planning ahead, and watch the pounds melt off!