#1 secret to eating healthy
There are a few prerequisites to healthy eating. You have to feel the need for it, of course. You have to know what it means to you. Yes! Eating healthy doesn't mean the same thing to every single one of us. No cookie cutter available! You have to commit to it. That's a tough one. But there is another necessary condition, and most of the time, we don't focus enough energy on it.
For the past 2 years, I have been coaching a lot of people in groups and one-on-one. They all have different reasons for wanting to change their eating habits, and they all have different struggles. But there is one challenge that I have observed across the board. And it is the ability to get organized and plan for healthy eating. Sometimes, it is a step that we don't want to spend too much time working on. Because it might not seem very rewarding. Unfortunately, without planning, without preparing ourselves, there is no success in lifestyle change attempts. None!
What does planning look like?
Planning means organizing your life around your new healthy eating habits. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't mean that all you do from now on has to revolve around your meals, no! We are not in France here 😉
Yet, think about this for a minute. If you didn't plan on going to work and had not set aside about 8 hours per day for work, do you think you could afford to spend that much time away from everything else you have to do every day? You would never make it to work! If you didn't plan your days and weeks around your kids school and soccer schedule, do you think they would get to their activities every day? If you didn't plan ahead for that performance at the theater, do you think you would ever make it to a play?
Planning means thinking ahead. Planning means sitting down and allocating time in our week or day to shop, chop, cook, and eat. It also means finding recipes that we will enjoy making for ourselves and our family. Buying the food we need so that it's available when we want to prepare it. And even learning how to choose the best ingredients for our health. Planning means making some room in our kitchen so that cooking becomes possible at all. Planning is all that and much more. You get the picture, right?
Depending on our situation and our preferences, planning means different things for each of us. But let me tell you this: I have yet to see someone stick to their healthy eating habits without first learning how to plan for those.
Now, if you already feel overwhelmed by the idea of planning, I suggest that you stop reading right now and sign up for my FREE 5-Day Online Meal Planning Challenge for Sugar Balance. It starts on Monday, May 20th and I still have a few spots open. In that challenge, I will walk you through meal planning day after day, and provide live support every single step of the way. Sign up right away!
Is planning absolutely necessary?
We are all very busy. We all do a lot of things, for others, for work, for charities, etc. And to be able to make everything happen, we plan, we schedule, we prepare.
The same applies to food.
Eating healthy is not going to happen if we are not intentional about it.
And wishful thinking is not going to bring results. We have to bring "healthy eating" at the same level on our priority list as all those others things that we do on a regular basis. If we are not ready to do that, it's OK. It only means that we are not yet committed to changing our habits. No problem with that, as long as we are not trying to fool ourselves by making all kinds of excuses.
I don't have time. My work schedule is messed up. It's impossible with the kids. I am bad at planning... You know as well as I do that none of those arguments stand when we are fully committed, right?
I know from personal experience what it is to not be ready!
Eating healthy is not an issue for me, I have been taught how to make it happen since I was a kid. Thank you Maman! But there are other areas of my life where I am not yet ready to commit. And it's fine! Who could judge me? Deep inside, I know that I should start doing strength training. But I am not committed enough to plan, fit a workout in my schedule, and make it happen. That's how it is! Nothing to feel bad about. One day, I will be ready. And it might be a little too late, but well, that's how it is and I am not thriving for perfection.
I am sharing this because if you are not ready to commit to your health and to commit to eating healthier, there is nothing wrong with you and it's important that you don't blame yourself. I know that eating healthy can change many people's lives, but we all have complex decisions to make all the time and priorities to juggle. It's a personal choice, it's 100% yours, and I truly believe that no one is in a position to judge!
How can you start planning today?
If you have never planned for healthy eating, it might seem overwhelming. So, here is how you can get started.
- Map out your week for healthy eating
Get your calendar out and look at all the regular commitments that will happen. Then, add all the commitments that you know will happen this week, even if they are not regular. Once your weekly schedule is set, plan out when you will have your meals and when you will most likely need snacks. Write everything in your calendar. You'll see, after a few weeks, this won't be necessary anymore, but when you get started, it's is essential!
Once you know when you will eat, make sure to plan for time to prepare for those meals and snacks.
If you are not cooking every single meal or snack, make sure to decide where you will go get the food, making sure that it fits your healthy eating goals. Remember, eating whole foods is for most of us the best step to eating healthy, and it doesn't have to equal spending hours and hours in the kitchen. You can keep things simple. When I work with clients, we put a lot of emphasis on simplicity.
Do you want a super easy and healthy recipe for your next meal? Check out the 1-minute video below!
- Go shopping for healthy food
I am sure by now there is not much room left on your schedule. Yet, you have to carve some time to go get the food that you need. Plan for this as well! Decide on a day or two when you will go to the grocery store, or to the market.
Get your grocery list started as well. This is super important! If you go to the store without a list, chances are you will come home with half of the ingredients you need and with a lot of extra "stuff" that is not needed. Yes, we all know that's how things go! So how do you come up with the right shopping list? Well, you can select a few recipes that you will make and list the ingredients you need for those recipes. Or you can just write a list of healthy foods you like (or don't dislike too much!) and you will improvise with all that later, when the times come to make dinner. This is how I do it because I don't like to plan my meals ahead of time, but do what works for YOU! Sometimes at first, it's easier to plan every single meal and snack until it gets easier to improvise.
If you find it scary to plan for all your meal and come up with a shopping list, know that you will get a sample meal plan with recipes and shopping list when you sign up for my FREE Online Meal Planning Challenge for Sugar Balance. Add your name to the waiting list and be the first to know when my next challenge will take place!
- Make sure the good food gets eaten!
OK, so you know when you will eat, you have made time for your meals and for prepping them, and you even have the ingredients in your fridge and pantry. What's next? You know as well as I do that if you are not on top of things, half of what you bought will go bad in the fridge or will be forgotten in the back of a cabinet and you will discover all those treasures 3 years from now, when you do a kitchen remodel or move out. Let's not let this happen!
The best way to eat the food is to see it! I wrote an article about that with specific tips to make sure you eat the food you planned on eating. You can read 3 tricks to be 13 lbs lighter now if you wish. You can also grab my FREE Checklist and discover 25 Tips to rearrange your kitchen so that it supports your health and weight loss efforts.
Another way to make sure you will eat the food you have bought is to do some food prepping ahead of time. Cut up your veggies in advance so that they are ready when time comes to make dinner. Chop some herbs and keep them in air tight containers in the fridge. It will save you so much time! Boil a bunch of eggs so that you can just grab one every time you want to add a bit of protein to your snacks. Cook some whole grain ahead of time: quinoa, brown rice, couscous, etc. Once cooled down, they will make a perfect base for a nutritious salad. Having some steps taken care of in advance can really speed up the cooking process during the week. Often, it will make all the difference between a delicious and healthy homemade dinner and a trip to the fast food drive-thru.
Of course, there are many other steps you can take in order to be more prepared for your new healthy lifestyle. I cannot go through everything in this article, but I will uncover a lot more strategies and tips in my next FREE Online Meal Planning Challenge for Sugar Balance.
For continuous support with your wellness efforts, let's connect in Social Media. You can join my Facebook Group. You will get continuous support from group members and from me, to help you establish a healthier lifestyle in order to lose weight and prevent diabetes. Keep in touch!
None of my content, articles, services, or products are intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness or disease. The information provided in my services, programs, and classes is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian, or nutritionist. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.