Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Staying on Track with Healthy Planning

From the title I'm sure you can guess what today's post is all about.  Right now just about every woman you know is trying her hardest to get lean, toned and tan for the upcoming bikini months and I'm no exception.  If you follow, you know that I've hired a personal trainer and have been avidly watching my habits on all fronts to get that beach body that we're all lusting over right now. 

However, exercise is only half the battle.  You could exercise your little tush off but if you go home to pre-packaged snacks and bacon you're doomed! Even those of us healthy eaters fall off track from time to time and today I'm going to share what has been most helpful to me during those times you feel you just can't keep it going!

I'm talking about planning...planning your meals, snacks and even beverages is very very important.  In our household, we use weekly meal planners as well as planned grocery lists.  I retrieve a lot of organizational resources from the fantastic website (you can find printable pages here).  Each week, we plan our meals for 7 days; we will write out the days we plan to dine at a restaurant or even the here and there 'FFY' which is short for "fen for yourself" nights.  The weekly meal planning has several benefits, but the major ones are:

1. Keeps us on track for healthy eating - we're never scrambling and ending up with cheeseburgers.  Since we know our schedules for the week, we know how to plan meals accordingly - crock pot vs. grilling, etc.

2. Grocery bills have been drastically reduced; we know what we're eating and therefore, we know what and how much to buy

3. Ease! I am prepared each night when I get home because I either have a recipe stapled to the meal plan (which hangs on the fridge) or I have the meat defrosting on the counter.  There is no wasted time trying to figure out what to make

I get very excited to make these meals because I'm actually looking forward to what's for dinner that day, I KNOW what we're having. 

I also believe it is a chain of events happening when you plan ahead, because there is no guess work or stressing over 'what's for dinner' you make the right choices time and time again.  I've even found that I have more opportunity to indulge here and there on those items that I really love - margaritas! lol - because I do so well throughout the week with my planned meals that I do not feel guilty on the weekends having one or two or four!

I would recommend writing out breakfast, lunch and dinner - even if you eat the same thing for breakfast every day, write it down and stick to it.  For snacks, plan ahead as well but don't feel you have to eat certain snacks on certain days...get your hands on those great snack sized ziploc baggies and fill each one with some of the following items:
- dozen raw nuts
- cut up veggies
- reduced fat cheese
- fruit slices
- granola (raw)

Instead of saying 'okay on Wednesday I'm eating cheese for a snack' just have these pre-made little baggies in the refrigerator and grab one each day for that mid-day slump at 3pm, or maybe the slump between breakfast and lunch! I also favor the Kashi TLC bars as well as Fiber One bars (if you can handle them).

One last little tidbit that I would like to share with you.  I'm sure you are all well aware of the benefits of water! Yes, good ol' H2O...and hopefully you're getting a good 8 glasses per day.  But what I've learned is most important is when you drink 2 of those 8 glasses per day.  As soon as you wake up, drink a glass of water and right before you go to bed do the same. Water is a natural calorie burner and drinking right before bed helps balance hormone and energy levels, muscles and joints and promotes a better sleep as well as toxin clearing benefits! Drinking upon waking rehydrates your body and gets your metabolism working right away ;)

I hope that you find this information beneficial.  Would love to read your feedback!

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