I’ve been on my journey of meal plan for a year. It has had its ups and downs. Some days staying strict is so easy, and other days all I think of is pizza and donuts. Here are a few tips for success.
#1. Persevere through the first 3 weeks.
Based on my experience, and the experiences of some of my close friends in the fitness world, the first three weeks of any type of meal plan are the most difficult. This is when you are going to face the greatest cravings, which for me was pizza. You will have times that you feel very restricted because you’re use to choosing your food for each meal, and now you already have your menu set in stone. While the old 21 days to break or make a habit theory does not have scientific evidence, many scientist do believe there is truth in that plan. Everyone has a different brain chemistry, which does play a role in how you respond to changing stimuli, so it does take every individual a different amount of time to adapt to a new behavior.Here’s a link to an article regarding the 21 day theory. 21 Day Theory. My advice is when those thoughts of doubt or cravings hit think of your end goal. One of my favorite sayings is, ” A moment on the lips. Forever on the hips.”
#2. Buy a scale!
A food scale is such an important tool when meal planning. It is crucial to know the weight of your food in order to determine if you are hitting your macros. I use my scale EVERYDAY! I recommend a digital scale that will measure to the 100th decimal place. You can get a scale at Walmart, and it will cost anywhere between $20.00-$25.00. Here’s a link to buy a scale exactly like mine. Walmart.com
#3. Do not deprive yourself.
No cheating everyday will likely not give you the results you’re seeking. With that being said, you do need to reward yourself after a few weeks of meal plan. I prefer to have my cheat meals on Saturday evenings. I enjoy a meal followed with numerous desserts. The day after your chest be sure to hop back on the wagon, and get back to clean food.
#4. Find what macros work for you.
EVeryone’s body processes different macros in different ways. What I mean by this is some people do very well with higher carb and lower fat diets, and others see success with low carbs and high protein. for example, I do really well with higher fats and proteins. My body doesn’t effectively use carbs as energy. My mom on the other hand takes carbs and burns them. When she incorporates high fat she usually gains unwanted weight. So find what works for you and your goals.
#5. Don’t discuss your plan with others.
The main point I don’t recommend discussing your plan of action with others is simple: avoid conflict. Everyone has different opinions and theories of what works. There is paleo, carb cyclers, intermittent fasters and the list goes on. All of these different theories have passionate followers, so I find it best to just keep your plan to yourself.
#6. Change up your foods.
It’s always good to switch up your foods. Instead of eating chick try ground turkey. Drop the brown rice, and have some kidney beans. Along with changing food, change the way you cook them. I have recently changed from eating oven baked chicken to grilled chicken. This small change has made a drastic change in how I feel about my meals. The grilled chicken is much more flavorful, and that keeps me from straying to unhealthy food.
#7. Don’t go to extremes.
Like I said before, this isn’t a quick fix, so going to an extreme is not the answer. When we take extreme measures like cutting out all carbs we set ourselves up for failure. We need to make a lifestyle change that is maintainable. On the other hand, don’t go to the extreme on the other end. When you do decide you’ve earned a cheat meal, don’t make that into a cheat week. Remember it’s much easier to gain than to lose in regards to bad weight.
Water is one of the most life sustaining substances for humans. It is so important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and to help your body’s cells to receive the nutrients they need. Water help purify our body by removing toxins. Water helps our body metabolize fats and carbohydrates. I try to drink one gallon of water a day, but a good equation to determine how much water you should drink is to consume half of your body weight in ounces. Here are two links for more information on water.Water Article 1 Water Article 2
#9. Eating out is possible.
No you don’t have to choose between meal plan and going out with friends. You can still eat clean at a restaurant. Order plain grilled chicken, fish or a small steak, and pair it with a side salad or steamed vegetable. As far as dressings, I would lean toward a vinaigrette, and ask for steamed veggies without butter.