By: Rick Bellanti – Aug. 2019
Just like an army preparing to go to war, when you are fighting the battle of the bulge, preparation is the key to success. Going on a diet doesn’t have to be a fight (or war) but it is a battle for some of us, and for some of us a life-long battle. Just like any battle, the right preparation could determine the outcome.
Before we even talk about things like diets, food and calories you have to have the right mindset going in.
The beginning of any new journey and changes can get quite confusing and overwhelming, especially if you are not mentally prepared for your new healthy lifestyle. When you’re in the right place mentally it is easier to begin a healthy change that you will follow. By preparing yourself in advance, you will have more luck following a program designed and prepared by yourself to help avoid quitting when things don’t seem the same as when you had no direction or plan in place. So keep a positive mind set and team up with other positive people. Remember if you stay positive, positive energy and positive people will be drawn to you.
Now the preparation comes in. How do we prepare for such a battle? First we have to prepare our “battle station” which for us is our kitchen and where we prepare our food. We need to go through all our cabinets and refrigerators (including freezers) and clean out (purge) all the unhealthy bad stuff. Think about donating it to food pantries (if unopened) or just give it away, as long as it’s gone, anything that you will be tempted by or that will derail your new healthy lifestyle.
Then you want to get organized, like I mentioned in past columns it is always great to keep a journal, but now we are going to talk about a different type of journal. This journal will be for you to make your “Meal Plans” and help you see what healthy foods you will be buying to prepare in advance. Choose foods that you like, that are healthy, after all if you just make a list of healthy foods, that you don’t enjoy, chances are you’ll be quitting after a short time. So, pick foods you like and plan your meals accordingly. You will need to make a new meal plan at the beginning of every week, so think variety (so you don’t get bored).
Once you have cleaned out the bad, unhealthy food from your house, made your meal plan for the week and purchased all the new healthy foods, you are on your way to Food Prepping.
My advice is to purchase some plastic food containers in different sizes; they are not very expensive at all; in fact, I purchased all mine from the dollar store. I’m a firm believe that if we make things easier in advance, the better we will follow through with our plan. I hate to make salads from scratch, cutting up all the lettuce, and veggies to make a salad for a single meal, then I will end up eating something bad because it’s a quick grab and go item that is not healthy. But if I spend one afternoon cutting up everything I need for my salads and put them in food containers for the week, it’s so easy to just throw a quick salad together.
For example, if part of the meal plan you chose for the week, is chicken, brown rice and steamed broccoli,then prepare your chicken, cook your brown rice and then steam your broccoli, when all is cooked put them into your individual, measured out meal containers for the week. The best part is it will save you preparation time when you are hungry making it easier to stick to your plan.
Pick your prep day, (maybe the day you do your shopping), and it really is not a whole day, for those of you worried about time involved. A few hours a week is all it takes. When I have my chicken roasting I cut up and prep all my salad vegetables. Want to save more time, buy one of those already roasted chickens in your grocery store.
Prepping your meals ahead of time will allow you to create your own creative meal plan for the week ahead, and in doing so, will keep you in control of your eating and also by doing it in advance will be less stress, when it comes to deciding what you will be eating at meal time. Preparing and planning your food ahead of time will help you make intentional, healthy choices.
Change is very hard, especially if you have been abusing your body with bad eating habits over the years. You may find it’s very difficult do a weight loss program alone. Always seek support from family members and friends. Sometimes it’s hard to face people we know and talk about ourselves in a not so glamorous way, being vulnerable, but tell them the truth that you’re trying to lose weight and ask for their help. Always seek the help from a close friend or family member when you are feeling frustrated or tempted to eat the wrong food. If you would rather talk to a stranger, there are therapists trained in this area that will listen to you and help you, so you don’t have to go at it alone. Talk to them about your goals and ask for their support. You would be surprised at the amount of people that want to see you succeed.
Starting something new is very daunting, don’t be scared, be prepared, and to be prepared is half the victory.
Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240lbs, and has lost 160lbs since the start of 2015. You can find Rick on Facebook at: Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti ◊