#7 Find a Healthy Eating Strategy That Works with Your Lifestyle and Budget
When trying to change your body composition, lose weight or fat or build muscle it’s important to research eating strategies. I say “eating strategy” because that sounds more intelligent than just following a fad or trend and far better than “diet” or “fast” or locking you into a type of diet or fast. Eating strategies take into account your personality, budget, time and provides a level of variety and flexibility that isn’t possible when you are following someone else’s plan or program.
The temptation is to see what everyone else is doing and then shelling out wads of money to get on that bandwagon as fast as possible. You think “Ah that must be the right thing for me! Everyone else is doing it and it seems to be working for them..” The only problem is that kind of reaction and those types of diet programs may be setting you up for failure, simply because that particular plan or program has built-in difficulties. Difficulties like: too many restricted food groups, adherence to impossible rules, too expensive, requires too much change at once or doesn’t take into account your personality or tastes. And although fad diets or food programs or services are very popular and may get results quickly, they are not designed for the long term. They are designed to prey on your weaknesses like your need to feel better about yourself quickly and get your money even faster.
Designing your own eating strategy does take time and a little extra effort but you will be much happier sticking to it and if you are looking to lose weight you will be able to keep it off far longer than a diet program or plan.
In my Lose Weight With MindBody Mastery online course I’ve taken the following points and a few things to understand about yourself first. Then created specific meal menus based on a weight loss goal. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when creating your own meal or eating strategy:
1- Understand how you perceive change (is it threatening or exciting)
2- Map out a typical day (including times for lunch or breaks etc.)
3- Know what you typically crave.
4- What nutrients are you lacking?
5- What is your budget for food?
6- How much time to you have to prepare meals?
7- Do you have to prepare meals for yourself or do you have a family you have to prepare meals for also?
8- Make a list of special circumstances you have to be aware of like: food allergies, days that you can’t bring your meals with you etc.
Make a list of each of the following:
8- What are your favorite proteins
9- What are your favorite vegetables
10- What are your favorite carbohydrates
11- If you had one day to prepare 4 or5 dinners what day would that be?
Now here are some recommendations I give to all of my weight loss clients:
1- Drink at least 8oz. Of water per 10 lbs of body weight
2- Make sure you are sleeping at least 6 hours every night
3- If your goals is weight loss avoid carbohydrates for the first 3 weeks, then take a carb every other day until you start to gain weight again. This will help you discern how much or how little carbohydrates you need to survive and be active. Very often you will find you don’t need that much energy if you are seated at a desk or are driving 4-8 hours a day.
4- Don’t eat after 6pm
5- Create a food journal and stick to your eating strategy. Make notes of successful recipes and snacks.
6- Eat only from the earth, air or sea (nothing processed)
7- Create a happy kitchen and clean food storage environment, make preparing meals a FUN activity that you can share with your family.
Once you have answered all of these questions you can begin to create a schedule of meals based on your choices. I like to begin with dinners as they are usually the most time consuming to prepare. Then I move onto lunches, breakfasts and snacks. Once I’ve got the schedule down I choose day(s) that are easier to prepare. In most cases I am able to shop on Saturday and prepare dinners on Sunday and store them in advance. Then I preset lunches if possible, very often I am able to make more than necessary for some dinners and use the leftovers for lunches the next day. I personally am comfortable sautéing vegetables and having two or three fried eggs on top for breakfasts every morning. But if you crave variety you can also create mini egg quiches quickly in the oven and store them for breakfasts throughout the week. You might also add cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit.
Don’t allow a night out at a restaurant throw your plans into chaos. You can easily eat out just keeping your focused attention on your goals and by following a few eat out rules. Always bring a bag of nuts or vegetables to snack on just before you arrive at the restaurant so you don’t over order. Drink plenty of water and PROVE each menu choice, if the choices don’t reflect the PROVE acronym then ask if you can create your own dish based on the menu.
R-Remove fats and Refined foods
O-Olive Oil is OK
V- Veggies are Great
E- Eat only what you need, stop after 15 minutes and see if you are full
Enjoy your meal!
I hope you enjoy creating new and interesting meals every week and feel free to email me your ideas and new additions. Good luck!