Meal plans are one of those tools that are assumed to be a requirement when you’re trying to lose weight. And sometimes we convince ourselves that the mark of a good meal plan is that it has to be restrictive enough to help us lose weight as fast as possible. This can’t be further from the truth.
The mark of an effective meal plan is that it helps you make eating for weight loss as easy as possible. This means that it helps you map out your days and weeks so you have an idea of what you should be eating to support the results you want, and it should also help you shop for the ingredients and prep your meals to make the plan a reality. Bottom line it helps you be prepared to take action on a consistent basis.
This sound like a tall order, and it’s no wonder that a lot of the ladies in our community ask me for meal plans all the time. And instead of coming up with a generic meal plan that I give to everyone regardless of where they live, what they like to eat, and what their life is truly like, I decided to teach you how to plan your meals for yourself.
I would rather teach you how to do this for yourself because planning your own meals will help you take ownership of your meal plan and I explain why next.
Why is It Important to Take Ownership of Your Meal Plans
Taking ownership is important because you’re not blindly following a plan just because it promises weight loss. It means that you’re actively involved in creating the plan and it includes foods that you would actually eat, that you enjoy eating, and that you have easy access to.
When you take ownership of your meal plans, the typical weight loss challenges are not as bad. Some of the top challenges I’ve experienced myself or heard from the women in our community include:
- Having to cook separate meals for you and your family. This will not be as bad because you’ll know the principles behind the meal plan and can make adjustments to what you would typically cook for you and yours to make the meal suitable for you.
- Having to spend a lot of money on healthy food. I’ll be honest when I say that eating healthy can be more expensive than eating conventional junk food. But a lot of times it’s because we’re ignoring the hidden gems in our markets. Foods like green vegetables bought in season, beans, vegetable oil, and yam are not as expensive as quinoa and kale and they have the makings of a healthy meal that supports weight loss when put together the right way.
- Not being able to stick to the plan in social situations. This one is particularly tricky if you’re a social butterfly and have a wedding to attend almost every weekend. You shouldn’t have to shutter yourself in your house just because you’re trying to lose weight. And taking ownership of your meal plan will help you know the healthier food choices you can make at these events so that you don’t have to avoid them altogether or sabotage your weekly hard work.
So How Do You Take Ownership of Your Meal Plan
I recently wrote about how to make the most out of your meal plan on the Team Blog, and in that blog post I talk you through three steps of taking ownership of your meal plan:
- Learn the principles behind your plan
- Understand what the plan will mean for you and your family meals
- Plan out how much food you need to have planned for yourself and your family
Step 1 will help you vet your meals to your plan so that you know that every meal you eat is on track with what you need to do to achieve your goals. If you have a coach that plans your meals for you, it still pays to learn the principles behind how she plans. This will help you make adjustments on the fly if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to the meal on the plan and you have to make a healthy meal choice to replace it.
I teach my principles (Step 1) in my eCourse Skip the Diet & Lose 10 lbs that launches at the end of this week. And I created a Meal Planning & Prep Worksheet for my Skip the Diet ladies to help them go through Steps 2 and 3.
But because I get asked about meal plans all the time. I’ve decided to make the Meal Planning Worksheet a free gift to you as a Bella Naija reader. The Worksheet walks you through planning your meals all the way from gathering meal ideas to determining what foods you need to prep each week to make your meal plan happen. So if you’re ready to take ownership of your meal plans, you’ll want to take action.
Today, I want you to download the free Planning and Prep Worksheet that I created to help you take meal planning in your own hands. This worksheet is a central part of my Skip the Diet eCourse and as a Bella Naija reader, you’re getting it for free.
If you have a coach that does it for you, you can still check it out anyway to give you an idea of what a meal planning process can look like so you can give her constructive feedback to help her make your meal plans work better for you.
Next week I’m going to be talking about how you can lose weight without spending too much money. Let’s be honest a weight loss endeavor can be an expensive one if you don’t have the right tools, and I’ll be sharing some tools that you can use in the next column.
For now, Happy Planning!
Photo Credit: Dreamstime