Setting the Stage for Weight Loss

It’s often said that you shouldn’t take on a new project without first organizing your surroundings. Weight loss is a worthy endeavor so let’s make sure that you’re ready to roll:

  1. Prepare your breakfast and lunch in the evening. If you wake up late or encounter another problem in the morning, you will likely deprioritize your healthy efforts to get out of the house on time. That’s why it’s best to pack your lunch and get what you need for a quick and nourishing breakfast ready the night before. There are many kinds of breakfasts that you can make at the beginning of the week and then eat for several days; overnight oatmeal and egg casserole are examples. You might also want to keep healthy breakfast foods in your desk at work – a box of whole grain cereal and stable shelf milk, for example.  A loaf of whole wheat bread and a jar of peanut butter is another example of breakfast foods that don’t require refrigeration or heating. And don’t forget fruit – a highly portable and low maintenance source of nutrients that most people don’t eat enough of these days.
  2. Consider the crock-pot or large batch cooking if you want to exercise after work. Many people tell me that they can’t exercise in the evening because making dinner takes so long. In fact, the shopping, preparing, and clean-up after meals is a very time-consuming endeavor, and although we know that it’s worth the time and effort, it does make evenings a time crunch. This is when the crockpot becomes a lifesaver.
  3. Go to bed on time! You might need to set a timer for half an hour before the time that you need to head for the bedroom to get adequate sleep; that last half an hour before bed is time for you to put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, and organize your thoughts. When we are tired, we tend to eat more and move less – exactly what you want to avoid when you’re trying to lose weight.
  4. Keep everything that you need to exercise in one central location. If your shoes are upstairs, your gym bag is in the basement, and your membership card is…well, you don’t know where exactly, you’re likely to become discouraged and not go to the gym at all. Keeping a packed gym bag in the car also encourages many busy people to swing by the gym on the way home. Don’t forget clean clothes, headphones, sneakers, and a water bottle.
  5. Keep track of your food and exercise. You can do this via an app or with classic paper and pen – it doesn’t matter! It’s easy to play mind tricks on yourself if you don’t do this – “it was just a bite,” “I did exercise more than usual this morning, so it doesn’t matter,” etc.
  6. Keep healthy food front and center; for example, keep your fruit on the middle shelf of your refrigerator or in a bowl on your kitchen table. Some people prefer to devote just one shelf of the refrigerator or cupboard for “their” healthy food while letting the rest of the family keep unhealthy foods in the other areas of the kitchen. This is an unsatisfactory solution for many reasons, including the fact that you’re almost guaranteed to have moments of decreased willpower and because no one in your family should be eating those unhealthy foods.
  7. Prepare to be unprepared. There will come a time when you are faced with seemingly irresistible food or when you are “chained to your desk” with work and struggle to find time to exercise. Think through these possible scenarios, and others that you can think of, and brainstorm ways that you could stay on track reasonably well.
  8. Get ready to do new things. It is essential to make new habits if you are accustomed to eating while watching television or when you first walk in the door. You might want to consider a new hobby or getting back into one that you’ve quit doing but used to enjoy.
  9. Buy some new smaller dishes and glasses. The bigger the plate, the more food you’ll pile onto it. Research has found that people drink more when their beverage is served in a short, wide glass so invest in some tall and narrow glasses.
  10. Clear the table of all distractions. This is where you’re going to sit and eat as many meals as possible. Every bite counts.