5 Reasons Meal Planning is Worth It

Be honest, do you pay attention to what you’re eating?  I sure didn’t used to.  I would work hard in the gym but then follow it up with not so stellar eating.  I used to think, “I’m working out and I’m working hard, so now it’s OK if I have that (cookie, ice cream, humongous portion) – you name it!  And I wondered why I wasn’t getting any kind of results physically.  Working out as hard as I was not to see the scale budge or any new definition took a toll on me emotionally.  I started feeling like a failure, like I’d never be able to change my body.

But then I was introduced to the world of Beachbody.  The focus was still on exercise, but now a new component was entered into the equation – nutrition.  I was not excited.  I thought I’d have to eat like a bird or eat foods I really didn’t like to get results.  I had no idea what healthy eating looked like.  Bottom line, I was out of my comfort zone.

But often times that’s where the magic is, right?  Truly, it was for me.

Through challenge groups I learned new healthy recipes, how to meal plan, and how to fight off emotional eating.  But honestly, the one thing I’ve learned that will help me stay on track the most is planning.  I’m not talking about getting a few meal ideas swirling around in my head each week; I’m talking about planning each and every day from wake up until bedtime and writing it all down.

Why is this the most helpful thing I’ve learned?  When I plan—–>

 1. My mind stays on track.
One of the hardest things for me is fighting off the voice in my head that tells me to eat food that isn’t good for me.  When I haven’t planned, I find myself standing in front of my pantry or refrigerator eyeing food that isn’t the best choice.  But when I’ve taken the time to write down my food choices for the week, I simply look at my plan and then prepare that food only.  My mind doesn’t wander.

2. I save money.
My weekly routine is to plan my meals and then make a grocery list from that plan. When I know my list is complete, I stick to it and don’t add other items I don’t need.  But when I don’t plan, I either buy a bunch of food I don’t need that ends up going bad = wasting money, or else I realize I forgot some items and have to come back to the store later in the week.  And guess what?  A few more extra items always find their way into the cart somehow which equals spending more money I shouldn’t.  BAH!  Having a plan also keeps me from making late evening runs for take out when I don’t know what to make for dinner.  Have you ever compared how much you spend for a meal you’d prepare at home vs eating out?  It’s mind boggling!

3. I save time.
When I go to the grocery store with a list, I can be in and out of there in about 30 minutes.  I’m focused and moving quickly.  When I wander around the store without a list, it usually takes me over an hour.  Ugh!  I also get what I need and don’t have to return to the store multiple times in a week.  Don’t you just hate when you realize you forgot one of the main ingredients for your dinner?  Getting in the car, finding what you need, and waiting in line can really add up!  I want to spend that precious time playing with my kiddos after school.

4. I’m healthier.
I follow an awesome nutrition plan that helps me eat in a balanced way throughout my day.  I know how many servings of each food type to eat and how much, and that helps me stay on track.  When I plan, I stick to it.  But when I don’t, I have a tendency to overeat and choose foods that aren’t good for my health.

5. It lowers my stress.
One of my least favorite things is when dinner is about 30 minutes away and I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M MAKING FOR DINNER!!  I can feel my heart rate speed up because my family is counting on me to have dinner on the table for them, but I’m drawing a blank.  And then I start getting grumpy with them because of my anxiety over not being prepared.  ACK!  This never happens when I have a plan.  I simply get out what I need and peacefully start cooking.  It’s a little bit of heaven for this girl.

Sure, planning takes a little effort up front, but I love knowing exactly what I’ll eat during the week to keep me on track.  That takes a huge weight off my shoulders.  If thinking about your entire week is completely overwhelming to you, I’d encourage you to start with just the following day or two days at a time.  The more you do it, the easier it will become.

Oh, and by the way…here’s one of my sample weeks.  Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 3.50.48 PM

Do you have interest in joining one of my future challenge groups?  I can help match you up with an at-home fitness program that would meet your interest and fitness level needs and show you exactly what to do for your exercise every day, help you you utilize a customized nutrition plan, provide individual recipes, snack ideas, and 5-day meal plans, share fitness and nutrition tips, and give you accountability and motivation to get it done and get results.  If this sounds like something you’d like more information about, please fill out my questionnaire HERE!  Looking forward to meeting you!

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