One of the most effective strategies for losing weight and sticking to your diet is to plan ahead. I’m sure some of us have had that disappointing experience of finally sitting down to enter what you’ve eaten that day into myfitnesppal.com only to discover you ate more than your allotted points without realizing it or meaning to.
There are some things you can do to better pre-plan and even pre-enter what you are going to eat.
Establish a routine and record your food BEFORE you eat
1. Most people have success when they reduce the number of food choices they have instead of having too many choices. For example, you may want to have two or three choices that you often eat for breakfast or lunch.
2. Entering your food choices into myfitnesspal BEFORE you eat them seems to enable healthier eating.
3. Have any of you used the Quick tools link when entering what you’ve eaten each day on myfitnesspal.com? To do so go to your food diary page and right next to Add Food you will see Quick Tools. This gives you the option to REMEMBER A MEAL (which means it will show up in the future under the My Meals tab and you can add the entire meal to your daily diary with one click)
4. Note quick tools also allows you to copy meals or what you’ve eaten over an entire past day as an entry for today.
5. Have you used the “My Foods” Tab? This tab displays the foods that you have added to the general food database. Whenever you partake of locally produced, homemade or unusual foods and add them into the data base it save the information you have shared under this tab for your future easy use
6. Have you used the Myrecipe feature (I love this one)? This recipe feature allows you to list multiple ingredients, so that MyFitnessPal can automatically calculate the correct number of calories and nutrients in your recipe. These recipes you enter will be saved under the my recipes tab so that you can easily click on them when filling out your daily food diary.
7. All of these tools can make the daily pre-planning of what you eat each day easier. Why not sit down in a relaxed spot either the evening before or morning of a new day and plan out what you are going to eat all day? This allows you to see the day as a whole and to make sure you are picking a good variety of healthy foods.
Don’t choose your meal off the menu. If you’re planning to go out to dinner go on-line BEFORE you get to the restaurant to choose what you will order. In many cases the caloric information is available on myfitnesspal.com. If not they are often able to be found on the restaurants website or by googling. Worst case scenario you find a similar sounding entre on myfitnesspal.com’s data base to enter as you record what you will eat at the restaurant before you actually go to the restaurant. This kind of planning before you even leave home can enable you to make an informed decision concerning what you are going to eat in a relaxed setting and before you even leave the house.
Satisfying Snacks. Make sure that you have access to healthy snacks at all times. One of the disappointing things that can happen when you’re dieting is that you get extremely hungry and your low blood sugar leads you to eat too much of foods that are not good for you. A sparkling clean refrigerater filled with pre-washed (and sometimes pre-sliced) fruit and vegetables along with some low calorie dips placed front and center invites good food choices. Keeping some healthy nuts, dried fruit, or even a granola bar in your purse so that you’ll always have something to keep you from getting excessively hungry is another good strategy. And be aware of places along your daily route that sell healthy snacks. Not sure if you have WAWA gas stations where you live but I finally checked one out the other day and was SHOCKED by the many healthy low calorie fresh snacks they offer. It’s awesome.
Use the freezer. If you don’t like to spend a lot of time cooking, try cooking large portions of your favorite healthy foods and freezing them to eat later. Then you can just pop a serving out of the freezer and heat it up when you’re too tired or busy to start from scratch.
Premeasure Special Treats I have a few special treats (dried fruit, nuts etc.) That are so yummy that I don’t even want my hand going in and out of the bag—the only safe way to eat these are if I pre-weigh or pre-measure. I often bring the bag home from the grocery store- get out the scale (easier to “count” broken chips or crackers by weighing) and weigh and measure out individual portions. The food item then goes straight into the cupboard prepared for me to grab on the go.
Sunday & Wednesday Method. Set aside some time on Sundays and Wednesdays to chop, grate, mix, cook and pack whatever you can for your meals and snacks. It’s amazing how even doing something simple, like chopping vegetables for your scrambled eggs, can save you time during the week and inspire healthy eating.
A little pre-planning can save you time and energy. More importantly it can help you to reach your weight loss goals quickly!
Your challenge for the week is to make greater efforts to pre-plan what you are going to eat. Please experiment with some of the tools on myfitnesspal.com. And to earn the 5 bonus points each day you must
1. Make a great effort to pre-plan everything you will eat the evening before or in the early morning of each day. Make a plan for the entire day of what you will eat and drink—including snacks and before you eat it enter it into Myfitnesspal.com
2. If you are absolutely too swamped to write down the entire day worth of meals ahead of time at least make sure that you don’t put one bite in your mouth until you have first entered it into myfitnesspal.com