The key to creating a healthy weight loss meal plan? Organization.
When I talk to clients struggling to lose weight, I discover they are on track for weight loss three, four, five, or even six days of the week. Then, life throws an unexpected curve, and circumstances make the best choices difficult—and the worst choices devilishly tempting.
Being organized means being ready to make the healthy choice the easy choice in life’s craziest moments. Once you are organized, the habits to help you lose weight and maintain your optimal weight will be firmly established.
Here are my top 10 tips for being organized for real life, with all its craziest moments.
1. Wake rested and hungry
It will naturally motivate you to make time to eat a healthy, satisfying breakfast at home. This will kick-start your metabolism for the day.
2. Plan your menu
Invest the time each week to plan a satisfying and realistic menu. Start with what worked well last week and build on it. It takes plenty of planned trial and error to get an easy system that works for you.
3. Eat meals on time
Always be prepared, no matter where you are. Getting over-hungry, even when you are too busy to notice, leads to overeating or powerful cravings later. To avoid these weight-loss killers, keep meal replacement food bars with at least 10 g of protein in your purse, pocket, car, and desk.
4. Review and adjust
Briefly review and adjust your plan before each meal as needed. If you feel deprived right now, plan for something to look forward to later in the week.
5. Buy plenty of veggies and fruit
Buy enough vegetables and fruit to eat one to two cups at all three meals. That is 21 to 42 cups per person per week. Vegetables and fruit are filling while providing few calories.
6. Fill your grill
When the oven or grill is on, fill it. Roast vegetables or precook meats to eat later. They make convenient ingredients for future meals.
7. Plan for protein
Have satisfying protein options available and ready to eat at every meal. Protein is what keeps you feeling satisfied after a meal and prevents over-snacking later. Soy nuts, hard-boiled eggs, cooked meat in the freezer, cooked tofu in the fridge, canned legumes, nuts, yogurt, and milk can all keep you on plan when you are in a hurry.
8. Precook and freeze
When you cook wholesome grains, double the recipe and freeze the rest.
9. Keep indulgent food away
When you are tired, over-hungry, stressed, bored, or emotional, having your favourite indulgences on hand can create overwhelming desire. Make your treats special occasions to enjoy out with friends and family rather than constant temptations in your home.
10. Make quick emergency meals
Inventory several options for ready-in-five-minutes emergency meals at home. Include fresh, frozen, and canned options. Have a combination of homemade and wholesome convenience. It is easy to be creative when you have options available.
Natural health products to support weight control
There is no magic pill to lose large amounts of weight. Combined with a healthy lifestyle, several natural health products can help support health while adding to weight-loss success.
Chromium may support body weight reduction, appetite suppression, and blood sugar control. In type 2 diabetics, chromium may decrease weight gain and fat accumulation.
Green tea may decrease weight in moderately obese patients, body mass index (BMI), body weight, and waist circumference. The caffeine in green tea may increase resting energy expenditure (REE), increase energy burned when resting, and stimulate thermogenesis, the process by which the body generates heat.
Gymnema has shown in lab studies that it may support blood sugar control and may also decrease weight gain and signs of metabolic syndrome.
Fish oil (omega-3)
Along with regular exercise, fish oil supplements may reduce body fat and improve cardiovascular and metabolic health. In addition, fish oil intake via dietary fish sources may improve weight loss and decrease blood glucose and insulin concentrations for those who are overweight and have high blood pressure.
Population studies have shown that people who are overweight are more likely to have low vitamin D levels in their blood. Low vitamin D levels may increase risk for many conditions, including anxiety and depression, which in turn make it harder to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Calcium plus vitamin D
Post-menopausal women are less likely to gain weight when supplementing with 1,000 mg of calcium plus 400 IU of vitamin D daily. They are also more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight.
A herbal preparation combining yerba maté with guarana and damiana showed a delay in gastric emptying, reduction in the time to perceived gastric fullness, significant weight loss, and prevented weight regain in a study of overweight participants.