Month: June 2017

3 Benefits of Meal Planning

Meal planning is different than meal prepping….try not to confuse the two. Meal planning is simply the act of planning what meals you’re going to prepare for the week ahead. Meal prepping, on the other hand, is the act of actually putting those meals together and freezing them so you don’t have to cook all week. See the difference? I don’t generally meal prep because I don’t like wasting food. It never fails, as soon as I’ve prepped my meals, I’m not in the mood for what I’ve prepped and I end up throwing it in the trash. Now that I’ve filled you in on the difference, it’s time to dive into the three benefits of meal planning.

Saves Time

Who doesn’t want to save time when it’s such a precious commodity?! I’m all about saving myself as much time as I possibly can! I sit down each week, usually on Saturday, and plan out our meals ahead of time. I make my grocery list based on the meals we’re having, adding the staples, of course, and head out to the grocery store.

How does this save time? I don’t have to think about dinner for the next week. All I have to do is take out the meat so it thaws and cook it. I’m not trying to figure out dinner every day and then have someone tell me they’re not in the mood for whatever I’ve taken out to cook. It also saves time in the grocery store because I know exactly what I need to buy. If I don’t need anything on an aisle, I don’t go down that aisle! My goal is to get in, get what I gotta get, and get out.

Saves Money

Because my list is specific to dinners for the next week, I don’t buy stuff I don’t need, which means I’m saving money! I only buy enough to get us through that meal plan (ok, maybe some extra snacks for the kid) so I’m not totally shocked when I get through self-checkout and see the total. Meal planning also saves me money because we’re not ordering out because no one could decide or agree on what to have for dinner.

If you’re having salad or other dishes that call for fresh ingredients, do not buy these too far ahead of time because they’ll go bad before you get to use them.

It’s Healthy

When you plan your meals ahead of time, you know exactly what you’re making so you can make a healthier version. There’s no guessing as to what’s in the dish because you made it yourself. For example, last night we tried a Pinterest pesto chicken crock pot recipe. Only the chicken and pesto had to cook in the crock pot and I can eat that. However, it calls for cooked pasta to be added at the end. Well, I cooked regular pasta for the guys and whole grain pasta for myself. I know exactly what was in my dinner last night because I measured it and made it.

Meal planning also gives you the added benefit of being able to make dishes healthier for you. If your family loves a certain dish and it’s always on your menu, take some time to research ways you can make it better for you. I bet you could make it healthier and your family wouldn’t even notice! I get the whole family involved in meal planning because they eat here, too.

Weekly Meal PlanDo you want to start meal planning but don’t know where to start? My weekly meal planner printable will help you get started. On the left are the days of the week for you to write down your menu. The right is a shopping list; only use this list for the items you need to complete your meal plan first, then add everything else you may need. I keep this in my Filofax and take it with me when I head out to the grocery store. It’s a great way to get started and help keep you going.

I don’t follow this plan to the letter; sometimes I jump around depending on everyone’s mood but we always eat meals that have been planned ahead of time. Enter your email address below to download this free weekly meal planner today!

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YOU Are Responsible for Your Motivation

YOU Are Responsible for Your Motivation

I’ve lost count of the number of people who have asked me how I stay motivated with my weight loss. I don’t have a secret or magical will power. I have pure motivation to stay the course. Why? Because I want to be healthy; because I want to come off my meds; because I want to have more choices in clothes. If you want it, you’ll make it happen – it’s just that simple!

Starting out, I wasn’t as motivated as I am today. Like everything, it comes in time. There are still days that I’m not motivated at all but I still get up and do it anyway. Why? Because I know I’m going to feel better when it’s done. There are days I just want to kick back and binge watch Netflix and chow down on chips. Do I do that? Of course not! Why? Because it’s not conducive to my goal.

How Can I Stay Motivated?

Motivation is as unique as you and I. What motivates me may not motivate you and vice versa. So, it’s important for you to understand your why (and this doesn’t just pertain to weight loss). First thing’s first – you need to determine your goal. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down what you want to achieve. Got it? Ok, now it’s time to move on to understanding your why. Why do you want to achieve (your goal here)? List realistic, relevant reasons you want to achieve your goal.

Now that you know your goal and your why, break it down into bite-sized pieces so it’s easier to digest. When I first started my weight loss journey, I wanted to lose 100 pounds. Well, that’s a big ass goal and it overwhelmed me each time I thought about it. But, I broke it down into 20 pound increments because that’s way more manageable. Once you have your goal broken down into smaller pieces, you need to make a plan for how you’re going to achieve each piece. Write it all down on paper because you’re more likely to succeed that way and get to work!

What to Do When Motivation Wanes

Your motivation is going to ebb and flow and that’s natural. The only advice I have for this is don’t get too comfortable! Nothing good ever came from your comfort zone and it’s sure as hell not going to start now. We tend to get complacent when we become slightly satisfied. Right now, I’m happier with my weight than I’ve been in a long time and it would be so easy for me to just work on maintaining it. But, that’s not what I want in the end. I need to lose more weight and I’m not going to do that by just maintaining. It’s during these times that you’re going to start coming up with “reasons” not to do this or not to do that.

Do It Anyway

I don’t care if you want to do it or not, if you need to do it, it gets done. It’s summer vacation and I don’t want to still get up at 6 am, but I do it anyway. I don’t want to work when I’d rather be lounging in the pool, but I do it anyway. So, whatever your goal is, do it anyway! You’re not going to achieve it if you stop working for it.

Hold Yourself Responsible

What it all comes down to is that you’re the only person responsible for your motivation. There’s not one other person in my life who wants my weight loss more than I do. How can I hold those people responsible for my motivation? I can’t! They’re supportive, yes, but not responsible for making sure I get up and workout every day or log every single thing I eat. That’s all on me. Your goals are on you, and you alone, to achieve.

You’re more empowered than you give yourself credit for and it’s high time you realize it. Don’t give your power away to other people or things. Own that shit and do it like only you can! It’s time to depend on yourself and stop making excuses for why you “can’t” do this or that. Just think – all the time you’ve spent making excuses, you could’ve achieved your goal already. That sucks, doesn’t it? But, better late than ever so get to it!

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Brace Yourself: There is NO Quick Fix

Brace Yourself - There is NO Quick Fix

I’ve been on every fad diet imaginable over the years and there’s one thing they all have in common – THEY DON’T WORK! How many of you have bought into diet pills or other “guaranteed” methods of weight loss? If you raised your hand, the next fact is going to surprise you. Americans spend over $60 billion a year on weight loss products. $60 billion! And you thought eating healthy food was expensive.

I don’t care what any of these products say, there is NO quick fix for weight loss! You have to put in the work, which is why so many people fail at weight loss. We get lazy and look for a miracle pill that’s going to melt the fat away. No matter where you look, you’re never going to find it. Stop spending your hard earned money on fad diets and invest in YOURSELF. How do you do that?

You start by realizing that you DESERVE to take time for yourself. Your health should be your top priority and these fad diets are wreaking havoc on your health. Diet pills, for example, aren’t good for your heart and can increase your blood pressure. When you yo-yo diet, you lose fat and muscle, but, when you re-gain the weight, you actually gain more. Stop doing this to yourself!

Instead of wasting your money on fly-by-night fads, invest in a good pair of running/walking shoes and budget more for groceries so you can buy healthy foods. Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Yep, you read that right. On July 27, 2015, I was 278 pounds and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was put on metformin and lost more than 60 pounds in 6 months (weight loss is a side effect of the medication). At my 6 month check up, I was taken off the metformin and, within a year, I gained back all but 20 pounds. Why? Because I didn’t fully commit to changing my lifestyle.

It all starts with committing to making a change and always following through. That’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but it’s the one thing that will literally save your life. Trust me – I know. As of February 1, I’ve fully committed myself to getting healthy. At my last visit with the doctor, I was 259 pounds. I’m currently 196 pounds and I feel amazing!

There’s been no medication, no fad diets, no strict programs, no special food. It’s just been me, my Skechers GoRun shoes, my FitBit, the Lose It app, lots of lean protein, and all the fruits and veggies I can get.

Brace Yourself There is NO Quick FIx

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The Importance of Being Intentional

The Importance of Being Intentional: Why Goal Setting is Important

Each and every one of us has goals we want to achieve. What good are goals if you never follow through to achieve them? Those aren’t goals; they’re dreams. Goals are things to work hard to achieve to make your life better. It’s important to be intention when setting your goals so that you’re more likely to achieve them.

How to Be Intentional

Be realistic. Don’t set goals so high you’ll never reach them. That’s a form of self-sabotage and you’re not going to do that. Even if you think your goals are too small, so what. We all have to start somewhere! For example, when I first began my weight loss journey (again), my goals were to drink 2 bottles of water each day and get 5,000 steps per day. Those are small goals to me now, but, back then, they were huge!

Write them Down. To make your goals more concrete, you should write them down. Keep the paper somewhere you can see it regularly, like the fridge or your desk. I like to type my goals out in my Notes app and share them to Instagram. Why? Because sharing them with others makes me want to work hard to achieve them.

Plan Ahead. I can’t stress the importance of planning enough! It will help hold you accountable and keep you on track. Use a calendar or a daily planner to help you plan for the week ahead in case you could get thrown off course. If one of your goals is to exercise 3 days per week, take a look at your calendar to see what the best 3 days are. There’s no need to be caught off guard!

Tell Others. Nothing makes you want to follow through more than knowing others are watching you. Let me be clear – you’re not telling others about your goals so that you achieve them for those people. You’re telling others to help hold you accountable to yourself. This helps you set goals that you’re more likely to achieve.

Being intentional when setting your goals helps set you up for success. Don’t even think about setting a goal that you know you can’t or won’t achieve; it’s not worth the disappointment.

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