Last week I talked about making New Year’s Resolutions and how to succeed finally when you make one.
After reading it, a client sent me an email. In it she said:
“Every year, I make a resolution to lose weight and this year is no exception. Last year, I promised myself I’d lose 30 pounds. In the first couple of weeks, I lost about five and then I got busy and gave up. Instead of losing 30 pounds, I actually ended up gaining, and now I weigh about 10 pounds more than I did last January. It’s so frustrating! I really want to succeed this year. What is the No. 1 thing I can do to help me stay on track and get the weight off.
You see, I’ve been there. At one time I tipped the scales at over 400 pounds and it wasn’t until I got serious about getting it off that I actually lost the weight.
First off, motivation wasn’t Nancy’s problem. She knew she needed to get the weight off for health reasons, and she seemed determined to do so. I asked her what she kind of obstacles she struggled with in the past.
“I’m just too busy. I promise myself that I’m going to exercise and eat right but after a couple of weeks, I end up being too tired to go to the gym, and I just don’t have the time or energy to cook something healthy when I get home from work. So, I usually hit the drive thru or order something.
The truth is we are all busy.
Back when I lost my weight, I worked about 75 hours a week, raised a family of six, and played football. I could have easily said: “I’m too busy” and I told her that. I also said: “There are 168 hours in a week can you commit to giving just five of them to your health.”
She paused, and said, yes.
“Awesome,” I replied. I then said: You asked me in your email what is the No. 1 thing you could do to help stay on track and get the weight off. You also said you struggle with energy and eating healthy — which is 80 percent of the battle when it comes to losing weight. So the answer to your question is very simple. You need to meal prep. And it will only take you two of those five hours you’re committed to.”
Meal prep involves preparing all your meals in advance. It’s something I started doing years ago and my wife and I continue to do so to this very day.
Here’s what we do. On Friday or Saturday, we plan our meals for the week. Now that we’ve been doing this for years, we spend less than 10 minutes total doing it. Many people try to figure out the entire week in detailed precision. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact, I highly recommend that if you can do so. But, to be honest, it’s not necessary. My wife and I keep it very simple. Most weeks we pick one or two recipes and decide what else we’d like to have during the week. In our case we decide on our proteins, and what veggies we want.
From there we go buy what we need.
At first you should make a list and stick to it, but after a while you can get a feel for what you need and maybe even make an impulse purchase that falls into your meal plan.
Then on Sundays, we do all our cooking for the entire week at one time. We cook all our meats and side dishes at the same time, then portion them into meal containers. We find it helps eliminate the excuse of being too busy to cook. Now, instead of coming home and being too tired to cook, we just grab a container, put it in the microwave, and dinner is done.
Instead of trying to find time to make a good lunch in the morning, grab a container and put it in a lunch bag. Too busy to make breakfast? Put the container in the microwave and have a healthy breakfast. No need to hit the drive-thru, no temptation to pick up the phone and order a pizza. No stressing over what to make for dinner. It’s all done! Not only that, you’ll be better equipped to portion control when you’re making up the meals by weighing and measuring it all before you put it into the container thus reducing the chance of overeating.
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to getting weight off 80 percent of the battle is in the kitchen. And, in my experience, it’s the very first thing people give up on.
If you’re truly serious about being successful on your fitness journey, you need to focus on your nutrition and the best way to do that is to plan. Try pre-making your meals and having them available to just grab and go and your chances of success will skyrocket!
Oh, one other bonus I forgot to mention. You‘ll spend less on food, because you won’t be buying junk or spending money eating out. Laurie and I average less than $100 a week on groceries for both of us!
Dan Romand is co-owner and operator of Full Circle Fitness-NY in Colonie, where he is also a certified personal trainer.