The most challenging part of fitness isn't trying to figure out what workout to do but trying to figure out what food to eat. As a health coach, the question of “what to eat” comes up a lot.
And it makes sense why this would be challenging for most. You spend so much of your mental energy during the day trying to complete tasks that by the end of the day, trying to figure out what to eat is the last thing on your mind. So you choose the most convenient option even if it’s not the healthiest.
At least, that’s what I did for years until I discovered a way to make making healthier food choices a little bit easier. And the great thing is that it doesn’t require willpower, discipline, or even a lot of money. That way is meal planning.
What is Meal Planning?
Meal planning is simply taking the time to plan out your meals in advance. This can mean deciding what you'll eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week ahead. By deciding, I don’t mean that you have to prepare these meals. You can prepare some or none of these meals if you choose.
Conversely, meal planning can entail planning the meals you’ll be prepping for the week. For instance, you may choose to prepare your meals for the week on a Sunday afternoon. Or, if bulk preparation isn’t your style, you can prepare your meals throughout the week.
There are no golden rules for meal planning, there are some specific steps I share in, The A Fitness Mindset Method that can be of help if you’re just getting started with meal planning.
Why You Should Start Meal Planning?
Meal planning has a lot of benefits, but these are some of the most important ones:
1) Helps You Make Confident Food Choices
Meal planning helps you make confident food choices without guilt or shame for eating the foods you enjoy. We've all been there before: we're out with friends at a restaurant and order something that we know isn't the healthiest option, but it’s what we want.
And afterward, we beat ourselves up for not making the healthiest choice. But here's the thing: food is meant to be enjoyed! Meal planning allows you to indulge in the foods you love without feeling guilty because you know that you've already accounted for them in your weekly menu.
When you've taken the time to think about what you're going to eat - whether dining in or out - you can honor the food choices you make guilt-free.
2) Helps You Focus Less on Your Body
Meal planning also helps you focus less on your body because you're eating nourishing foods and giving your body what it needs to thrive. As a health coach that practices a weight-inclusive and Health at Every Size® approach, I know this is an area that many of my clients have struggled with in the past.
When we're constantly worried about what we're eating, it's hard to focus on anything else. By meal planning, you free up mental space because you don't have to agonize over what you're going to eat or whether it will fit into your diet.
This allows you to focus on other aspects of your life, such as work, school, or hobbies. And release the belief that one meal will ruin your progress toward achieving your fitness goals. It won’t!
3) Helps You Save Money
Lastly, meal planning helps you save money because you're able to be more mindful about when and how you're spending your food budget. If you've ever gone grocery shopping without a plan, chances are you've bought many things you don't need (and will probably end up wasting).
But when you take the time to sit down and figure out what you need for the week ahead, you can save money and time by making fewer trips to the store. Plus, you can plan for those meals you eat outside the home, which means fewer meals to prep.
Therefore, meal planning helps you become more mindful of how you're spending your food budget. Fewer impulse buys will lead to more money in your bank account.
Final Word From Tomesha
So there you have it! If you've struggled to stay on track with your fitness goals, give meal planning a try. It is the missing ingredient you need to succeed. Who knows, after a few weeks of meal planning, you'll even find that it's something you enjoy doing!
In The A Fitness Mindset Method, I show you exactly how to meal plan your way to achieving your fitness goals. Save your spot on our VIP waitlist to be the first to know when the book is available!