Contributor: Luke Corey, BA(H), BScAHN, Registered Dietitian
We’ve arrived at the final step in the Healthy Weight. Healthy You. series. It is now time to take some action!
The work you’ve put in up to this point has prepared you to easily conquer this challenge. You should now know exactly where you are starting from and have a plan in place to get to the finish line without any problems. One thing to remember, however, is that this is a plan to last a lifetime. The changes you will make will not only help you achieve a healthier weight, but will also contribute to a long and healthy life.
Your first step towards implementation begins with some planning. This is your opportunity to create an eating routine that fits your schedule, likes & dislikes, and one that will help you reach your goals. Similar to food journaling, planning includes the following categories:
Meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Snack)
Amount of Water Consumed
There is also the added category of exercise. Just like with your nutrition, you will want to plan out your exercise. Changes to your diet cannot be fully effective without the inclusion of exercise to balance it all out.
Here are the steps you can take to develop an effective meal plan to reach a healthy weight:
Pick the day(s) you want to plan out. Will it be tomorrow, the entire week, or the weekend?
Start by filling in any activities, events, or commitments that you have planned for that day. Start with when you plan to wake up. Then, write the times you leave for and return home from work. Fill in the gaps with any other activities you have planned.
If you are ready to incorporate physical activity and exercise into your routine, pick the time that you want to include this in your day. Some people prefer the morning, while others choose lunchtime or the evening. You can even break it up into chunks and do a little bit throughout the day.
Now it’s time to plan your meals. The first thing you want to do is plan out your breakfast. Remember, you will want to have breakfast within an hour of waking up, so put this into your plan. Add in where you will be eating breakfast (home, work, car, etc.), the foods you will consume, and the amounts (a cup of this, a slice of that, etc.). Always reflect back on your goals. If you are trying to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption, breakfast is a good spot to add a serving or two. You can also ensure you get closer to your protein requirements by adding a serving to the meal. The same goes for water intake. If you are trying to increase it, plan to drink a cup or two of water (black coffee or tea are also acceptable) with your breakfast.
Once you have completed your perfect breakfast, move on to the next meal or snack in your day. Remember, you will want to try to eat every 2-3 hours (no longer than 4 hours). Make each meal and snack the best it can possibly be. As you build your plan, create a grocery list with the foods that you need to follow through with your plan. Then, head to the grocery store and pick up the items that you need.
Once you have completed your plan, review it to make sure it is realistic and achievable. If it isn’t, change some things around. Always keep your goals in mind, and make sure the plan will help you achieve them.
Put your plan into action. Keep a copy of your plan with you everywhere you go. Refer to it throughout the day to make sure you are on track. If something changes, make a change to your plan. Finally, at the end of your day, review your progress and evaluate how you did. Give yourself a big checkmark if you accomplished everything in your plan. End your day by planning out the next day to perfection once again!
Meet your protein requirements by including this lunch in your week: Chicken & Barely Soup
Congratulations! You are now well on your way to a healthier weight and a healthier you! You should be extremely proud of the effort you have put in so far. Remember, any movement in the right direction is progress, even if it is only one small step at a time. Keep your goals in mind as you continue to move forward with your new routine, and always challenge yourself to get better and better…You WILL win this battle!
Note: If you need a helping hand, consult with a Dietitian