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How meal planning helps you lose weight!

The most successful diets all use menu planning as part of their weight loss programme.

Planning your meals makes life easier
Planning your meals makes life easier

Here’s why.

When you decide to go on diet, the first thing that happens is you start wanting the stuff you are no longer supposed to eat.

You have had a long day, or you need to be at work early, and now have to decide what to make for breakfast, lunch or supper.  So you stand in front of your fridge or grocery/pantry cupboard trying to decide what to make.  Usually you take the easiest; this is almost always pasta or something out of a box. Pasta itself isn’t the problem but the bottle of pasta sauce may be.  If you have a tomato based pasta sauce, it is definitely a better choice than the cheese based one, but both of these have sugar and are often highly processed.  These are not what you should be eating if you want to lose weight, or even just live a healthier lifestyle.

This is what should be in a balanced meal
This is what should be in a balanced meal

What happens if you have kids and you need to make lunch for them?  Kids lunches are meant to help them grow, not lose weight.

By planning ahead and, in some cases, cooking ahead, you halve your struggle.

The first few days of a new diet are often the hardest as your body and your mind are struggling to make the changes necessary.  Once you get started it does ease up, but then you hit that plateau and it becomes difficult again. Not having to make decisions on a tough diet day will definitely help you stick to your diet.

There are meal plans all over the internet for just about any kind of diet you want to follow.

A lot of people would like to either eat healthier or lose weight but either don’t want to go to a dietician or join a weight loss program or don’t have the time to go weekly for weigh ins or just don’t have the money.

I am not an expert on dietetics but some things have not changed since I studied nutrition when I first started nursing.

Calorie Count

  1. Between the ages of 25 -50, women should consume approximately 2000 calories per day and men approximately 2400 per day. These figures are if you mostly have a desk job with a bit of running around. However, if you are an active person you should be having more than that. These figures are not weight loss amounts, these are for normal daily intake. If you want to lose weight, women should consume approximately 1200 and men approximately 1500 calories per day but not less.
  2. A balanced meal should be made up of ½ fruit or vegetables, ¼ grains or fibre, and ¼ proteins. This applies to almost every dietary plan available including paleo and banting.
  3. Eating three meals a day is important. Some diets do not allow between meal snacking but, if you are just plain calorie counting, then those snacks are going to help you between meals.  They keep you blood sugar levels more stable and you are, therefore, less likely to be hungry.
  4. Complex carbohydrates are better for you than simple carbohydrates (e.g. brown rice or couscous vs white rice, Durham wheat pasta vs plain pasta).

Meal Planning

When I first started menu planning, it was just to make my life simpler; weight loss was something for the future once I had mastered menu planning.  Then I noticed that I had lost 5 kg within 2 weeks, without even trying.

Now when I plan my menu’s I calorie estimate and use low GI foods and my scale continues to slowly show lower numbers each week. I am now starting to introduce banting into the menu plan and while I am definitely not going to give up my tea with sugar or my chocolate on a Saturday, I am going to do 2 days each week using a banting menu.

losing weight with meal planning
losing weight with meal planning

I am not going to cover the different food groups or diets that are available; there are plenty of websites available for that.

When going on any diet, it is important to look at your health conditions as some of the more intense diets (especially detox diets) can adversely affect your health. Following basic good nutrition is the safest and getting good professional advice is vital, especially when you have extreme amounts of weight to lose.

The quicker you lose weight the quicker it finds you again and it usually brings friends. Changing your eating habits and lifestyle is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off.

One of my go to sites for weight loss and low calorie meals is Audrey John’s website www.loseweightbyeating.com

Sign up and get a meal plan for 7 nights worth of dinner.http://eepurl.com/cczMc1

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