One thing you will learn about me and my blog is I will always be real. I will share my ugly and my pretty. Meaning, I will not hide when even I find myself in a bit of a struggle. Why? It’s because, like you, I am a real person with real issues and real daily struggles. The fact that I am now a Personal Trainer and coach, does not turn me into a super human, free of mistakes or failures.
Maintaining my healthy lifestyle is just as much of a struggle for me as it is for my clients and my readers/followers. I know firsthand how you can think you’re doing this and that all under the banner of being healthy only to be faced with the reality that I’ve become comfortable.
Yesterday I had to get real with myself. Every time I looked in the mirror my butt seemed a little more round. My clothes were not tight, or even snug, but they were not what they were before. My last doctor’s visit told me my weight was 157lbs. That’s my par. I’m good with that number. But something told me things were not right.
So since my personal home scale was broken, I made the trip to the store and purchased a new one. When I got on it, I was shocked to see that by that scale, I had bounced out of my good weight margin of 152-157lbs to 165. WHAT!!! I have not weighed 165lbs in two years.
So I sat there stunned and collected my thoughts. I did not beat myself up mentally about it. Why? What would be the point? That way of thinking I learned a long time ago is counterproductive and only produces opposite healthy lifestyle results. Instead, I took stock of my last two years and worked to hone in on that reason and looked about changing things.
This reflective moment took me back to the timeline before my August 2017, 9 month deployment. As you may have read in my original journey, weight loss on a deployment is not real. So before my deployment I weighed 155-157lbs. I returned to that same weight once my system settled back into being home. Yet, then, I somehow got comfortable. And depressed. I will discuss depression in another post, but for now, know that I am sharing with you a major symptom that contributed to my comfortable weight gain.
In my reflection I realized the HUGE mistake I made. This may be a tool that you all too may benefit from, and it may be a key helper in your own healthy lifestyle journeys. That mistake was failing to return to the basics – weekly meal prepping.
Meal prepping before my deployment was my thing. Every Sunday I would cook and prep my meals for the week. It’s because I cannot trust myself to know when to quite eating and to know correct portions every time. The “eyeballing it” method is a total bullshit and a lazy measurement tactic. I had been “eyeballing it” for six months. And the repercussions was an 8lb weight gain. Ugh!
Again, you will notice I am not beating myself up. It happened. It sucks. As the old saying goes, it’s not how badly you fall that’s important, it’s how you get up, dust yourself off, recover and move forward.
My moving forward was to get back to the basics and get back to meal prepping. I know some of you may be thinking, ‘but I hate to cook,” or ‘who has the time for that’ or ‘but that doesn’t sound easy’ or whatever it is you think about when someone mentions meal prep. Toss that all out. If you are making a major healthy lifestyle change, and weight loss is one of your goals along the way, you need to seriously look at and participate in meal prepping.
Here are the benefits of meal prepping and why it’s important, especially for those of you like me who HAVE to work hard and monitor their weight as part of your healthy lifestyle change.
Portion control. Believe it or not, meal prepping causes you to unconsciously measure your food intake. You have a small container that you put your meal in. It is not a 10-12 inch plate. Most times than not, you grab a measuring cup to scoop out your assigned amount. And by the time you are done, you see what you are now going to eat. You may think, that is not a lot of food. Trust me it is and it is the right portion.
Healthier choices. When you meal prep, you are thinking about what you will eat. When you follow a healthy lifestyle you automatically think about healthier food options. What foods will you pare with your chicken? I personally stay far away from starchy foods. I love potatoes, but I use mashed cauliflower instead. I learned to love veggies. Well, you can’t learn to love veggies you hate. You just starting eating or eating more of the veggies you do like. My hell no veggie is the brussels sprout. I don’t care who the chef is cooking them. They are nasty. Yuck! My point here is, meal prepping causes you to be smarter with your food choices and therefore your food consumption.
Time back. While you may think meal prepping is a time suck, it’s really not. If you spend one hour, one day of the week – I always do it on Sunday – you will not have to think about it at all during the week. Monday morning on your way out the door for work, you open the fridge, grab your lunch and go. That takes, what, 15 seconds? As apposed to getting up earlier, getting ready and then spending 30 mins figuring out what you will eat and then putting it together. I am all for getting time back because I can apply it to my sleep, morning coffee/me time and/or put it toward playing with my hair and makeup when I get into the glam mood. You choose; it’s your time.
Plus it up. Add a salad to your meal. Salads are free bees if you don’t add a bunch of junk to them. Go for your dark, greens leafy lettuces. Add fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and/or sliced almonds. Refrain from using dressings unless you made a vinaigrette yourself. Dressings just mask the taste of real, healthy foods. Learn to eat your salads without dressing and enjoy the taste of all the ingredients.
Discipline. When you meal prep it helps you with your discipline to keep working toward your healthy lifestyle goals. When you meal prep it puts you in a certain mindset that 1) encourages you to push forward and 2) motivates you to get to your workouts. It’s the best, non-human, visual cheerleader. By seeing the efforts you put in your journey, it drives you to be better, do better, hit the gym more, and want to keep going. Meal prepping is a silent, odd ball counselor if you will. You will feel better after you meal prep.
Weight loss. This is the last benefit you will get from meal prepping. When you make this part of your life, the changes of 1) choosing healthier foods, 2) eating smaller, more controlled portions 3) attending all your workouts 4) being more disciplined, they will cause your weight to go down.
My very last point about meal prepping is this. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Look at the first photo at the top of the blog post. That is my meal prep station. It’s far from pretty. You don’t have to use new fancy Tupperware or containers. Well unless you just don’t own any. Just use what you have and go. I have a mish-mosh of containers. My thoughts are, is it functional? Thinking you need a fancy set up to meal prep because you saw on Facebook or Pinterest someone’s meal prep station that looked the bomb, is silly. Meal prep and fancy don’t go together. Unless you’re OCD. In that case, rock on. Make all your Tupperware match. I on the other hand will be rocking whatever I can use to put food in. Again, I’m all about functionality.
I hope this post about meal prepping helps. I will check in later and give you an update on my goal to losing my 8lbs. It will happen. I know this because I was real with myself and I returned to the basics.
Peace and love your journey.