Summer is right around the corner and everyone is rushing to the gym for that beach body.
Are you busting ass at the gym but not seeing the results you hoped for? Let us take a look at what some of the reasons why might be.
A lot of people, and I mean a lot have no idea that losing weight and keeping it off is a simple ratio of 80% – 20% …What that means is your body reflects 80% of what you put into your mouth and 20% of your physical activity.
I am going to share with you some easy to do and inexpensive ways to meal prep foods that are delicious and filling and energizing! There will be follow up posts but this is my first get fit and stay fit blog so be sure to “follow” my blog if you care to read more and learn more as I go!
A quick anecdote that some of you may relate to who are working out a lot but still eating take out and fast foods and getting discouraged.
There is a woman that I know who asked me to help write her a meal plan. She asked for my help because I freely offer it to anyone who wants it, you see I have lost and maintained a loss of 150lbs in less than 2 years. My initial weight gain was 100lbs due to my PCOS which required the Sleeve procedure to help me lose it and the doctors said I would lose 70lbs at best due to the procedure alone… but I went on and lost an additional 80lbs!
So because of how hard I worked and continue to work I get a lot of questions and I give as many helpful tips as I can. I even typed up a tips and tools sheet for people who asked me for help and send it out all the time.
Back to the meal plan woman. I asked her to give me a list of foods she didn’t like to eat or couldn’t eat and then I gave her a meal plan. Did she use it? nope. Do I care? nope. I can only give you the tools, it is up to you to use them. I want you to succeed and I will do my best to help you if you but in the end you are the one who has to want it enough to actually do it.
If you are ready to change your life and live a different way thinking about food in a whole new way then the tools I give you WILL WORK! But if you take my tips lose 20lbs and then revert back to your old habits or incorporate your old habits into your new plan then guess what? Say hello to 40lbs.
That is what happened to another friend of mine. She was doing so great following all of my tips! She lost weight fast too! Then all of a sudden I started seeing her eating foods that I specifically said to stay away from…I know better than to ride people so I let her do what she was already doing, going back to old habits…she gained the weight back she lost plus doubled it.
It is a mental thing guys, why else would someone who is doing so well and seeing great results just stop one day? Some people are not ready mentally to face that change for the rest of their lives, but that is what it takes! Some of you will and should seek out professional help with a therapist because there are a lot of people with emotional eating issues that delve deep into their psyche and only talking to a trained professional will help them unlock the key to thinking about food differently.
In order to change, you have to want better for yourselves! You have to love yourself and your life enough to want to lead a healthier and happier life!
Once you want it bad enough and you start to realize that food is not meant to comfort you it is meant to nourish you then you will be at the start of your journey.
Eating the right foods is the biggest part of change but along with that, side by side guys, is portion control! The more you put on that plate and shovel into your face the biggest your stomach stretches and makes room for even more food!
Portion control all has to do with meal prep and planning, that is the best way to control what you eat and how much and it only has to be done once a week! You pick the day!
So where should I start? The right foods, the right exercise, to portion sizes…
I cannot tell you what the right foods for you will be but I can give you a general guide to healthier options and tell you what to not eat. How to avoid fast food and how to make sure you never go to the vending machine at work again.
#1 Meal Prep & Planning!
If you are already making excuses in your head about planning your meals ahead of time for 5 days at a time then you are not ready and this will not work for you. I am not going to sugar coat this, if you are lazy and whiny and picky and not willing and ready to start the first day of the rest of your life then you can stop reading now.
Am I saying you can never eat chips or cake or pizza again? HELL NO! Of course I still eat those things on occasion! but the key-term here is moderation. I do not eat them often and when I do its in small portions.
So how do you keep away from fast food and vending machines and take out? You make sure that you have prepared meals for the week ahead of time so that you do not find yourself at work with no lunch and turning to your only option of fast food. That is what happens to people daily and that is how the fast food industry survives, on people who have to resort to eating there because they didn’t prepare.
I choose Sunday for my meal prep day because right now I work a Mon-Fri job. So I get my groceries on Thursday which means I plan my meal for the week ahead a week in advance. I make sure that I buy enough food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 10 days. I do not count Sat/Sun because on those days I go off of my routine and rest and eat other foods… I do that because in my 5 days meal plan routine I eat pretty much the same thing for 5 days and then sat/sun I can eat anything else I may have been wanting during the week.
Here is an example of my meal prep for this week:
For breakfast every day I eat 1 banana with my bowl of steel cut instant oats, I mix them together and sometimes will add 2 tblspns of peanut butter…it is delicious and filling and super healthy. I have 1 cup of coffee and water as well.
For my midday snack I eat my Dannon light & fit vanilla yogurt but I cut up fresh strawberries or pineapple and add a few pieces of it into the cup.
For lunch I have my to go containers that are a measured container holding 1 cup. I fill that 1 cup with a summer bean and veggie salad. I will post pictures below…but it is tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers, red onion, bell peppers, a few black olives and black beans. I have 2 different mixtures with 2 different dressings to give myself a little variety in taste during the week. 1 batch (the smaller batch) has cucumber ranch dressing, just 2 tblspns and the larger batch has distilled white vinegar and a little olive oil for the fresh taste. I season with a little pepper and garlic salt.
I take that same bean salad and add a scoop of it to my dinner every night with an added scoop of guacamole on top. I put that on top of my steamed or baked Salmon. I used to swap between the salmon and chicken breast which you can do but now I mainly just eat fish and try to stay away from meats as much as possible though I do still eat it on occasion.
My other go to snack is a Nature Valley Protein bar, they are the best when it comes to sugar and protein content that I have seen in my grocery store. Sesame seeds/pumpkins seeds, Premier Protein Shakes (they are the best with the most protein and only 1gram of sugar)
You Have To Read Labels if you want to know what you are putting into your mouth!!!
So there you see a week in my life of breakfast snack, lunch and dinner.
So now I have my lunches and dinners all pre-made and in the fridge in their containers so all I have to do and grab and go or grab and heat and eat! I do not have to worry about running out to grab food somewhere because I have it all ready and it saves you money too not eating out 5 days a week.
I drink water, 2 cups of coffee and Powerade Zero. That is all that I drink other than the occasional Protein shake when I need a pick me up at the end of the work day.
I know a woman at work who works out many nights after work but she has not lost any weight because all day long at work she is drinking pop, eating bad snack foods and ordering take out nearly every day.
Just because you are working out doesn’t mean you can eat junk food everyday! That is a huge huge misconception… I actually heard her say one day, “well I worked out so hard last night that I can eat this” … nope. That is NOT how it works!
You are never going to see results if that is how you approach food and exercise.
Yes, there are things you are going to need to give up but you can replace those things with better things! Just because it is good for you doesn’t mean you wont like it or cant afford it!
That stuff I bought prepared and will eat for 2 weeks which will equal br-ln-dn 3 meals a day so 30 meals cost meal under $100. That’s fruit, veggies, protein and snacks. Yup.
#2 More Protein Less Sugar and carbs!
So how do you stay full and how often should you eat?
It is said having a small protein snack every 2 hours from morning till dinner time is optimal but I say eat when you are hungry but DO make sure you are eating 3 meals a day at least.
Eating foods that are filling and give you energy is what keeps you from grabbing a snickers bar midday.
You can google foods high in Protein and make a list of your favorites and start rotating them into your meal plan. Protein is key though! So is cutting your sugar.
Switch to sugar free treats if you must have them, my favorite is chocolate sugar free pudding, cant tell the diff and it definitely hits the spot when I have a chocolate attack.
My favorite sources of protein snacks that I rotate daily that keep my on track and away from junk food are the protein bars, Premier Protein shakes, yogurt (make sure you are buying yogurt that has single digit sugar and double digit protein or else you might as well eat a candy bar), pumpkin and sesame seeds.
My favorite protein for dinner is Salmon or Shrimp or Crab legs! Yum!
Do NOT cut out carbs from your diet! Your body needs some carbs and also when you cut them out and them start to eat them again what do you think happens? You will find that weight you lost almost over night.
You need a little bit of carbs in your diet but not a lot, eat them in moderation and choose carbs that are better for you! You can google Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs and see what I mean.
Stay away from high sodium/salts because it just makes you retain water and bloats you, trust me on this. #1 offender are canned soups! I say this because so many people think eating soup is healthy for you…NOPE! More on this in a post coming soon though!
So there are the cardinal rules, the Numero Uno & Dos to losing weight and keeping it off: Portion control & Meal prep along with More Protein and less sugar/carbs! That is 80% of the battle!
Now for the other 20%
So exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym, we all know this. it is recommended to get some heart healthy activity in your life 30-40 minutes a day for optimal weight loss and maintaining.
That is a walk a lunch time or after work , start out slow and them ramp it up with speed walking or riding a bike or jogging or running …there are so many options! You have to pick something you enjoy though or you will never stick to it. It is a trial and error thing, do not beat yourself up over it…trying out lots of things can be fun and then when you find a few you enjoy you can rotate them in.
My favorite activities and kayaking, walking, volleyball, yoga, the gym sometimes on rainy cold days, stand up paddle boarding, yard work, nature hikes … I do a lot and keep it interesting because that’s what works for me. You may be a person who needs to focus on one thing to make a routine stick…but the key here is routine!
This all must become a part of your daily life routine so make sure the choices you make are ones you enjoy and know you can live with.
Another example of how someone set themselves up for failure: I know a woman who wanted to get back into shape and knew working out had to be a part of it so she decided to start waking up at 5am everyday to work out before work. She did it for a few weeks then it started to be too hard to roll outta bed that early and eventually she stopped.
Here is why she failed at incorporating this routine into her life. #1 She is not a morning person, never has been. She was pushing herself to wake up early and workout which she also hates to do…so right there she has started off her day in a stressful way!
Do not do this, especially if you work early hours and are not an early to rise and get chores done before work type of person. It will not work for you and you will just get discouraged thinking you are a failure when it isnt you that is a failure it was your plan of action.
If you know you sleep until 20 minutes to start time at work then stay that way, get your rest because getting rest and not stressing yourself out are key to a happy life and being a happy person who is rested and not stressing out of this type of stuff will help you in the end.
Find a way to work in that 30-40 minutes into your day after work, split it up and do half at work on your lunch break, it doesn’t have to be all at once guys! Did you know that? 20 min at lunch and 20 min after work, bust it out!
4 to 5 days a week guys, most of you have 2 days off a week so there are 2 days right there that are easier to work with. Do not make excuses, make a plan!
Ok, so I have given you the basics. I am open to questions. I am not a professional I am just passing along the things I learned along my own journey. I educated myself A LOT and so should you. When you are ready you will do what you need to do and do not give up and call it quits if you fall off the wagon a few times, it will happen! I do it once a month lol Just start again the next day, that is all any of us can do.
If you know anyone who needs to help, tips or advice please pass this along to them. I know that reading other peoples stories helped me along the way…
We are all in this together guys…I wish you the best of luck and please if you have questions I am open to them.