Are you spending hours in the gym, but you don’t see the fruits of your labor? Were you hype about signing up for your 21 Day Challenge, marathon, or 6wk bootcamp, purchased the perfect workout outfit, went hard in the paint, but are still stuck with those same 10 to 15lbs? How many times have you heard, “abs are made in the kitchen”? This is a true statement. If your goal is weight loss, following the 80/20 rule is key. What is this 80/20 rule? It means 80% diet and 20% exercise. You may not realize this, but in order to lose ONE pound you need to achieve a 3,500 calorie deficit. If you are following the 80/20 rule, on average you will burn 3,750 calories per week by burning 750 calories through exercise and eliminating an additional 3,000 calories through dieting. I bet you are saying, “Hold on! I thought you said this was not Rocket Science! Ain’t nobody got time to count calories, and prep the food!” No worries. Hold your horses. I got you.
First, let’s put some things into perspective. Being attentive to what you put in your belly is much more effective than exercise because it takes more physical activity than you probably have time for to create a 500 to 700 calorie deficit. Can you imagine having to run 7 to 10 miles per day just lose one pound? Umm… NO THANK YOU! Running 7 to 10 miles per day is not a workout regimen for the average person, not to mention the negative impact it will have on your knees. The goal is to lose weight by being realistic and consistent. . Now let’s look at a few ways to approach meal prepping. Again, the idea to is to make meal prepping convenient for your individual lifestyle so that you can minimize the mental road blocks.
Get your mind right: You have to COMMIT to your weight loss goals and the process
Start the “Sunday Night Ritual”: Integrate 1-2 hours on Sundays to plan and prepare meals. Get your family involved in helping you to prepare the meals for the week by giving everyone an appropriate job, like chopping food items or storing food in containers.
Boil a dozen eggs at a time and refrigerate: Hard-boiled eggs will last at least 5 days in the fridge and are a great compact snack to grab on the go.
Cook extra chicken breasts: Grill or bake with your favorite seasonings. Great for slicing over salad or even eating half of a breast as a snack. Keep 3-4 in the fridge or individually freeze.
Chop up vegetables and store in individual containers: Chop up your favorite vegetables to eat raw. You can use them for snacks or a quick stir-fry for a mid-week meal.
Wash entire heads of lettuce and chop for salads: If it is already chopped up it is much easier to make a salad in the morning for lunch. Just grab your ingredients and place in a container.
Make a vegetable soup: Use your favorite soup recipes to make enough soup for 1 week. Store 2-3 servings in the fridge and the rest in individual containers to keep in the freezer. It can be a meal or a snack.
Cook a huge amount of vegetable stir-fry: Throw a bunch of vegetables into a wok and stir-fry with herbs and spices. Refrigerate in individual containers so meals are ready to serve. Add a chicken breast or piece of fish. This way dinner is almost ready without having to cook when you get home.
Pick 1-3 recipes and cook ahead of time: Take out the meal the night before, or in the morning, and refrigerate so it will be defrosted by dinner time. Add a side of stir-fry or salad.
Portion out nuts/seeds: Buy your favorite nuts/seeds in bulk and store in containers in the fridge. Portion out your weekly serving amounts into snack bags. This makes it handy to grab and go.
Create a standard grocery list: Create a standard list of the foods you need on a weekly basis. This will save time at the shops as well as keep you from buying those sneaky extra items that always seem to end up in our trollies.
Try a meal prep service: Depending on your budget there may be a meal prep company in your area. In most cases these companies will cook and deliver freshly made breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a certain number of days per week. The meals are prepped based on your weight lose goals and dietary needs.
Chill with the calorie counting: For the average person counting calories is overwhelming, time consuming, and confusing. Do not get bogged down with calorie counting. Focus on consuming ‘real food”. Add vegetables and/or fruits with all meals and snacks. Choose “very lean” to “lean” protein options, and include healthy fats in your diet.