Set Yourself Up for Nutritional Success
Welcome to January. The month of new year resolutions and big plans. As I’ve talked about before (Read: “New Year, New You - But Why?”), I want everyone to be successful in their goals for 2019. However, in order to be successful in your goals for the new year, we need to make sure that we’re taking productive steps! That means understanding how to make yourself successful when it comes to dieting!
Food is not the enemy
I can’t say this enough and likely you’re thinking - Why is she saying this again?? But, I’m going to keep saying it until you truly believe it. The biggest issue that I see with dieting is this - everyone treats food like the enemy. It’s not. Your pants won’t fit better because you didn’t eat all day. You don’t win some magical contest because you turned down all of the snacks and food at the office party. What you probably did earn yourself is a massive headache and a rumblin’ tummy. If you constantly look at food as the enemy, or that all food has calories and is therefore best avoided, then you’re immediately setting yourself up for failure.
I’ve talked a lot of more thoroughly about the relationship with food here (Read: How I Changed My Relationship with Food), but ultimately, it comes down to creating a positive relationship. We, as humans, require food daily. And we require a very specific amount of it to maintain or gain/lose weight. Do you want to lose weight? Then yes, we need to adjust those numbers a bit. But, more is not better. Eating less does not mean you’ll lose weight quicker. It’s more of a surefire way to completely throw your metabolism off-kilter. And that, my friends, is going is completely the wrong direction!
Instead of thinking of healthy food as a “boring, blah diet,” think of it as ways to be creative with new foods. Just because you’re choosing to be healthier, doesn’t meant that you have to hate it. I’m always most exciting about trying new recipes or stocking the pantry with new foods. My recipe archive or Pinterest is always a great place to look for inspiration when you’re unsure.
But, just remember - you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, healthy eating isn’t the prettiest looking food or the most creative. But, it can still taste good!
Meal prepping like a boss
If you want to be successful with nutrition, it all starts with being prepared. Let’s face it - we don’t always have time to make dinner at night. When you come home tired from a long day, cooking might not be the first thing on your mind. What is on your mind is how simple it would be to just stop and pick something up on the way home or order something in. By having foods prepared ahead of time, you’ll break this habit!
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be a day-long ordeal. In fact, many foods can be made quickly in advance, such as roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes, and chicken.
From there, you can choose to meal prep several different ways.
Individual meal planning
If you prefer to have your meals pre-made so that you can simply reach into the fridge, grab and go, you could mix and match your week in meal-sized containers. This could be a little bit more time-consuming on the front end, but you’ll be able to quickly reheat an entire pre-portioned meal. This is one of my favorite ways for clients to meal prep if they work at a desk or in an office environment. It’s also a great way for clients to prep if they don’t get easily bored of the same foods!
This is personally MY favorite way of meal prepping. Each weekend, I make an attempt to make at least 2-3 different kinds of vegetables (I usually steam broccoli, roast brussels sprouts & various vegetables), 1-2 starches or carbs (roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes are my favorite!) and a variety of meats (count me in as a grilled chicken girl!). I then leave everything in my fridge in large containers and portion it out as I need it through the week. This works for me for a variety of reasons: I am meal prepping for more than one person. And, I have flexibility in my schedule during the day. Since I’m able to come home, I can afford to take the time to compile my lunch.
This variation of meal prepping is also very convenient for those that get bored easily with the same meals. This allows a bit of flexibility in your eating, since you can mix and match all of the foods that you prepped.
This is another great way to meal prep if you have flexibility in your schedule in the evenings (aka: to make dinner at night) or if you are meal prepping for more than one person. These meals can be made ahead and put in the freezer to be thawed and cooked for dinner or simply added to an Instapot or slow cooker in the morning to be ready in the evening.
The best part of make-ahead meals is that you can make them and completely forget them! You don’t have to worry about anything going bad - if you have the freezer space, these meals can help you plan out your entire month!
Personally, I like to have a bit of variety, so I take advantage of all three methods and mix and match to best suit our needs.
Keep yourself accountable
Make your goals public! I’m not necessarily an “in your face” kinda gal when it comes to goals, but keeping up with your goals is so much easier with a support system. Whether it’s a network of online social friends, or it’s a group of close friends, this level of accountability is invaluable. Whenever you are doubting yourself or want to share a new accomplishment, friends and support groups help so much. When you add that layer of accountability, you’re not only motivating yourself, but you’re motivating others. Breaking old habits and starting new ones may seem hard, but with just a little nudge you’ll be in the right direction.
And if you think you need more support and guidance, that’s where I come in! Feel free to ask me about online coaching.
Give yourself some grace
And ultimately, it all comes down to this. Give yourself some grace. We’re all imperfect. We will all make mistakes. If you’re making big life changes, it’s not going to happen without a few mistakes. There is no perfectly straight line towards success. It’s a convoluted staircase of adventure and sometimes the ride is going to get a little bumpy. You have to be prepared for that and allow yourself to make these errors. And that’s ok. One mistake - one extra dessert or one missed meal - will not matter in a week, in a month, or even in a year. The best that we can be is consistent and with consistency, comes change.
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