This is a guest post from Austin Thomas, MS, RDN, LDN. Austin is the owner of Keystone Nutrition, LLC. She is a fellow athlete, cancer survivor, advocate of healthy living and living life to its fullest. You can follow Austin on Keystone Nutrition, LLC and Instagram.
“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” Dwight D. Eisenhower may not have been speaking to physical performance or weight loss goals when he said this, but nothing could be truer in the world of fitness either. This concept applies to all areas of meeting your goals – whether it is competing in your first competition, losing those extra pounds or hitting PRs and making #gains! All of these goals require not only discipline in your gym, but in the kitchen as well.
PLAN, PLAN, THEN PLAN AGAIN. This is the one key you need to keep on track with your nutrition goals. Many of you may have plans to eat healthier or make healthier food choices this year as part of your resolutions, but how do these compare with your plans at the gym.
Do you have a daily workout routine? Are there classes that you wake up early for or rush to from work in the evening because you know you just CAN’T miss them? I’m guessing that most of you probably do and this is fantastic! Unfortunately, this simply isn’t enough. How many of you have specific days of the week and time to set aside for meal planning, grocery shopping and food prep? If you do, then kudos to you!
If not, here are 3 “P’s” to help you stay ahead of the nutrition game when it comes to meeting your goals.
PRIORITIZING: Before you can even think about planning, you need to prioritize. Planning will only occur when it is convenient for you or you have some free time if it truly isn’t a priority. When assessing your goals, really think about how important they are to you. Ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice in order to reach those goals. Upon realizing that achieving that PR or improving your blood pressure, diabetes or cholesterol really are worth some small sacrifices. Congratulations – you have prioritized your goal! This prioritizing now will allow you to set time aside for your planning – not just squeezing it in when you have a free moment. Whether it is waking up a little earlier one morning to work on your planning one week or sacrificing a night out to dinner in order to get your groceries and prep for the week, it will be a little easier knowing that it is a priority. A priority will eventually become second nature to you, so just keep this in the back of your mind and stick it through knowing that the results will be worth it!
PLANNING: So now that planning is a priority for you, what exactly does this look like? Where do you start? What does your week look like?
Having a super busy week that is filled with deadlines and obligations vs having a slower week at work and just your workouts to focus on will determine how much time you have. If you’re having one of those crazy hectic weeks, it is probably not a good idea to try a bunch of new recipes that require a long list of ingredients. Figure out when you are going to put the 90/10 rule into effect, and remember to make life easier on yourself and have some organic protein (or other clean protein shake) shakes, Rise Bars or Kind Bars (or, again, another clean brand) on hand. Busy weeks are great weeks to make a large pot of soup, a massive salad and picking just 2 protein sources to make. You can mix it up by using Tessemae’s condiments and dressings so at least you have different flavors throughout the week. Crock-pot recipes are also a nice way to fit in healthy meals during a busy week.
PREPARING: When it comes time prepare your meals for the week, make sure you have everything on hand that you need for cooking and storing it. For the latter, glass containers are the healthiest way to go. Also, make the preparation something fun to do rather than it being a chore! Use this time as an excuse to hang out with friends (your good habits can rub off on them) or chat with family members on the phone. If you’re more of an introvert, crank up the music or listen to a book on tape while you cook. Turn this time into a time where you can be productive, yet relaxed all at the same time.
Just as there are some days where you sleep through that alarm clock and you miss a kick ass WOD or run, there are days that life gets in the way of your nutrition planning. When this occurs have a Plan B. Prepare for this every week you are at the grocery store and double up on some items that are shelf stable and that would work for a busy week (like protein shakes). If you find yourself stuck with nothing except eating out, make the best decision possible and if it is not some veggies and clean protein, just count it as part of your 10% in the 90/10 rule. Let the planning begin!
Yours in health,
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