Sticking to a daily meal plan can be a major adjustment since many people are used to eating whatever they want, whenever they want. Having the specifics of breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned out forces us to pay close attention to what we are eating. This means no eating out or excessive snacking throughout the day. A healthy meal plan or even a 17 day diet meal plan can definitely be hard to follow at first. However, there are a few things we can do to help stay with it.
Daily Meal Plan Strategies
- Make a meal plan that is specifically designed and tailored to your weight loss goals. Consult a nutritionist or your trainer to make sure that you’re not taking in too much or too few calories. Then, write down everything you eat in your meal plan to make sure that you’re counting calories honestly and accurately. Don’t to forget to include drinks that are not zero calories when you’re adding up your calorie count for the day. Then, analyze the times when you go over your limit and ask yourself how you can change your behavior to prevent it from happening again.
- Prepare breakfast and lunch the night before. Healthy meal plans are sometimes hard to follow because of time constraints. If you have a busy schedule, cooking in the morning and in the middle of the day can be a huge hassle. That’s why so many of us end up grabbing a pastry at a coffee shop on the way to work and eating out for lunch. It’s better to prepare these meals when you have a little extra time in the evening. You can just put them in a Tupperware container and reheat the next day. This can be done every weeknight to help you stay on track with your weekly meal plan.
- Find a meal planning buddy. It’s easier to succeed if you aren’t doing it alone. Find a friend who will follow weekly meal plans with you. If you’re married, a spouse can be the perfect person to fill this role, since you probably always eat dinner together anyway. Spouses and friends can start diet meal plans together if they have a shared goal of losing weight. Researchers that study group diet meal plans, like Weight Watchers, have found that people who have moral support from peers with weight loss goals lose three times the amount that the loners lose in the first year and they keep it off, too. Get your friends and family involved and you’ll have more motivation to get and stay fit.
- Reward yourself if you’ve consistently followed your meal plan for a couple of weeks. You should give yourself incentives to successfully give up some of your favorite foods and stick to the plan. For instance, you could go to the movies, get a massage, or go shopping at your favorite retail store. Healthy meal planning generally saves you money in the long run because you are not buying unnecessary items at the grocery store. So, you’ll probably have a little bit of money saved up to treat yourself. Don’t, however, reward yourself by eating more! “People generally overestimate the calories they are burning with exercise, and they may reward themselves by eating more,” says lead researcher Tim Church, director of preventive-medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. Instead, stick to your meal plan, save up some money, and do something special for yourself.
Following a meal plan isn’t always a breeze. If you prepare your breakfast and lunch the night before you eat them, you won’t become stressed about making them when you are pressed for time. Rewarding yourself for not straying from your healthy meal plan can help keep you motivated and convincing a friend or spouse to follow meal plans with you can be a huge help. Next time you’re embarking on a new diet meal plan, keep these tips in mind for ultimate success.