There are so many diet plans out there, and it can feel confusing and over whelming at times! I have found the key to eating successfully, is to be organized. I have my own Healthy Eating Diet Plan, it means before the day begins I know exactly when I am going to schedule my meals and that I have the correct ingredients.
What is a healthy eating plan?
This blog isn’t going to look at one specific diet or health plan, this is about getting organized and being successful. Firstly I am not a fan of fad diets, I truly believe that to lose weight and to keep weight off, we need to have an eating plan which we can ENJOY and is SUSTAINABLE forever.
We cannot avoid eating after all, it is an absolute necessity, so it is vital for our health we get it right! I love my food and in order for me to maintain my weight, I know I need to eat well most of the time and exercise daily, but the key for me is making a plan.
When I know what I am going to eat today, it means;
- I’ve already got the food I need at home, or I’ve factored time in my daily schedule to buy it
- my meals are prepped or easy to cook
- I know how I’ll find time to exercise, whether if I am going to drive to yoga (which is 15 minutes away) or am I going to have to a fitness workout class, from my online gym membership
- it will tell me if I have plans. If I need to bring forward a meal time or that I will need to eat out so I can check out the restaurant’s menu before I go.
Being organized means NO EXCUSES, ‘oh I had to eat this because I didn’t have that!’ ‘I had to order takeout because there was no food at home.’ We’ve all done it and yet it makes us feel bad and even worse we may give up trying! Firstly, if you’re determined to have a healthy lifestyle please don’t ever give up, we will all have bad days. Secondly, lets make this as easy, pain free and achievable as possible. Let’s write up a healthy eating plan!
I’ll never find time to write up a plan!
Okay, if you’re serious about eating healthier, you are making a commitment to yourself. Like anytime we want to make changes in our lives, we will have to find ways to adapt. Our priorities will have to change. Your new plan will take maybe an hour out of your week, perhaps a little longer, right at the beginning and after a month of two, you’ll probably be able to do it in half this time!
We can find an hour in our week, to live a healthier life. One where we feel good, look good, improving our emotional and physical health. Even if it means asking for a little help. I find the weekend the best time to organize the up coming week. Each Saturday morning I drop my daughter off to her music lesson, I cross the road to my favourite coffee shop and spend the next 45 minutes getting my life sorted for the following week.
I used to see this time as an opportunity to shop, to get things done, I would rush around for an hour early on a Saturday morning, and feel fraught by the end of it. The shops are always busier, parking is always even more difficult, it was stressful and more importantly not a productive use of my time.
Now, I sit in a lovely cafe, order a coffee, open up the laptop and work out how all that I need to fit in to next week, will work. It is honestly one of my favourite hours of the week. I collect my little girl and I’m relaxed and chilled knowing my week ahead is organized, and ready for the rest of the weekend. It is so much better than what I was doing before.
I know this scenario won’t work for everyone. Mom’s with young children, you might have to ask for help and I implore you to do this more often. I was a martyr, it was exhausting and the most thankless role I’ve ever taken on. Your children’s fathers can help out. I know some dads can be resistant to looking after the kid’s on their own, but we need to let them. As mother’s we won’t be perfect and neither will their dad’s. If we can accept that early on, it makes life a lot easier.
If dad really is not an option, how about grandparents or even a friend? In fact a friend with children. For the first hour of a Saturday you’re at the park with them and for the second hour your friend is. It’s all I’m asking for one hour. If you need to work on Saturdays, then Sundays is a good day too!
What does my weekly planner look like?
For me, I now use my calendar on my phone, but up until recently I had a note book and pen. I would write the days of the week going down the side and the hours that I am awake across the top, in 2 hourly segments.
CLICK ‘FOOD PLANNER’ BELOW to print off your template, but honestly a note pad and pen are fine or make up a spreadsheet. What is important is that you are accountable for your time and ultimately the meals that you eat.
Firstly write down all the certainties, any appointment that you MUST attend. All your work commitments. All your children’s commitments that may impact you.
Then work out when are you going to do your food shopping, food prepping, mealtimes and exercise times. In the first month or so of a new health plan, routine is incredibly helpful. You are going to be creating new habits. Keep things as simple as you can and where possible at the same time each day. If you can, keep social arrangements to a minimum too, these can be the times that are the most tempting to give in!
For me my daily planner does not go past 8pm. I know I’ll be feeling tired by then and I don’t need to have the pressure of having to do anything. I know I won’t go to bed but I’ll fill the next couple of hours doing exactly what I please!!
MY DAILY HEALTH FOOD PLAN
0600-0800 Wake, run, prep lunch
1200-1400 Lunch, walk
1600-1800 School run, family time, prep dinner
1800-2000 Dinner, kid’s homework
This is a typical day for me. I keep my schedule as simple as possible, it’s then much easier to stick to it. You’ll have different priorities and commitment, just make sure you have enough time to prep and cook and EAT your food. Be tough and prioritise, even if its just for the first month. It’s you be kind to yourself, during a time where there will be lots of transition for you.
You may find that after around 8pm is when you’re most tempted, for you it might be a good idea to pencil in a walk then or go to a relaxing yoga or meditation class. Find things that bring you pleasure that aren’t food related, this will really help.
Okay I don’t know which food diet you are working on, so I can’t help you with actual menus. Though @graceandlivewell this will be something that we are going to look at in much more detail. Our blog about the Mediterranean diet is great for those whose paramount concern is to live well. Here we look at the food that is eaten, but also the lifestyle of the Mediterranean people. Life expectancy for Spain, France and Italy are some of the highest in the world, all in the top 10!
Once you have scheduled your week and please don’t miss out this step! We can look at the food you are going to eat, the shopping, food prep and cooking time you need to schedule.
This may seem way too much, but please give it a go! My life is always better when I’m organized, even when things don’t go to plan. It’s a good feeling to know you haven’t got to keep forward thinking, instead you look at your plan and it tells you what you’re going to do next. Please try it out just for a month and let me know how you get on.
Your meal planner needs to have every meal on it for you and your family. Please where at all possible get your family on board, you do not want to me making double the amount of meals every day, if you don’t have to. You know how best your family works, maybe you can make a deal, if they eat all your new healthy meals all week, at the weekend you’ll take them out for a treat! Find their weakness and make it work for you ladies. You’ll get your family to eat well, this is a good thing.
- Write out all the meals for the week (not just dinner)
- write up a shopping list
- schedule in shopping trips – online is great (once or twice a week trip to the shops, you don’t want to be tempted)
- there can be more food preparation with a new diet, be ready for this. If you can prep your meals, have all your veggies chopped etc, in the morning, it will save you time in the evening when you’re hungry and you just want to eat!
- when I food prep I always have some raw veggies on standby to eat as I go along, this keeps me away from crackers and bread instead.
- When you cook, clean up as you go along. Again on a new food plan everything will take a little longer at first, you’ll soon get used to it, but if you load the dishwasher or wash up as you go, you’ll be so pleased after your meal, that you haven’t got a mountain of washing up! In fact get your kid’s in helping!
Being organized, was alien to me too!
I hope this blog will be of value to you. We can get very focused on the food, but for me I always eat best when I am organized. My fruit bowl is full, there are healthy snacks prepped and I have time to cook and enjoy the whole process.
Please let me know how you get on, with your new plans. I really did resist organizing my life for so long, I thought I could keep everything in my head. This for me is so much calmer and I get an hour each week, with a fabulous cup of coffee, knowing I make the next week work all the better. Good luck!
Live well, love Grace x