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FITNESS

8 Reasons To Meal Prep For Weight Loss

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Losing weight isn’t a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of endeavor. I mean, your health is at stake, and your health is important! 

And, anything of importance is worth careful thought, planning, and intention. 

When seeking to lose weight, having a plan to reach that goal is crucial. But, like any other goal in life, you’ve got to execute the plan in order to achieve the goal. 

Here, meal prepping (planning, preparing, and even packaging your meals in advance) is the part of that plan that can mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to weight loss.  

In fact, I’d say it’s one of the most helpful ways to frontload your week, setting you up for weight loss victory!

And, just why is this practice so critical when it comes to weight loss? 

Let’s take a look…

1- Portion Control 

Intake is part of any effort to lose weight. Some don’t like to speak in terms of tracking calories, but the bottom line is, whether you’re tracking calories, carbs, fat, or simply seeking to be mindful of the types of food you are consuming, portions matter. 

You can eat as healthy and nutritious as you’d like, but if you’re still eating too much (overall) weight loss can still be a struggle. 

When you meal prep, you’re in charge. You can weigh and measure and portion your food to your personal needs. 

You don’t have to view the movie SuperSize Me to know that when you order out, even though some restaurants (even fast food) offer healthier choices now, the portions you receive are often much larger than you need. 

And, when we have to make those portion choices in the moment, let’s face it, sometimes our eyes can deceive us. 

So, know your needs (no matter whether you’re counting calories, macros, or not) and measure/weigh accordingly, planning and preparing meals that are customized to your body, your needs, and your goals! 

2- Nutrition Control 

Whether you’re seeking to lose weight or just want to be the healthiest version of you, what you eat is just as important as how much you eat. 

And, when you meal prep, you and you alone control what you prep. 

You know your body. You know your goals. You know what you need to eat and not eat to achieve those goals. 

Therefore, why should you leave your nutrition up to chance? 

Meal prepping allows you to personally make those healthy choices, from start to finish. 

And, prepping your meals doesn’t just take place in the kitchen. It starts with knowing your needs and taking note (either mentally, online, or on paper) of what nutritious foods you’ll need for the day or week. 

Then, whether you order your groceries, pick them up, or choose them yourself aisle by aisle throughout the store (or farmer’s market), you select exactly what you need to keep yourself on track. 

When you take this step seriously, selecting nutritious foods with intention, you are saying ‘yes’ to your health and ‘no’ to the pitfalls of unpreparedness.  

After the careful, intentional selection of the best foods for your needs, then comes the kitchen, where you actually prepare your meals and snacks, cutting, chopping, cooking, and setting yourself up for success. 

Essentially, when it comes right down to it, controlling your nutrition is the step prior to the kitchen. 

The kitchen is just where you execute your healthy, nutrition-packed plan to meal prep and crush your weight loss goals! 

So, take some time to write or type out your nutritional needs. Plan that grocery order or trip with intention, and success will follow. 

3- Variety

Okay, I have a confession here. I have uttered more times than I can count “I feel like I’m cooking the same things all the time.” 

And, taking a hard look at this step here towards weight loss success, I know that such a sentiment stems from sheer laziness. 

The thing is, mundane mealtimes can happen. You know, where we get stuck in the rut of eating the same things all the time. But, more often than not, this happens with meals out more than it does when you’re cooking meals at home. 

Think about it, drive-thrus and restaurant menus rarely change. But, when you’re cooking at home, carefully planning your meals to promote successful weight loss and healthy living, you’re in charge. 

When you meal prep, you are taking the time to sit down and plan out your meals for the week or at least several days at a time. And, ya know what? That gives you complete and total freedom to create the menu of your choice. 

Get creative! I mean, we live in the age of Google. You can search for any type of recipe under the sun specific to your weight loss needs, and you’ll find a whole list of items right at your fingertips. 

So, spice things up. Meal prepping allows you to try new recipes, new foods, and new cooking techniques. And, with you in charge of your meals, continually on the look out for a variety of foods and recipes, you’ll rarely get bored with what you’re eating! 

4- Reduce Temptation

You’re reading an article about meal prepping, so I’m sure you’ve been patiently waiting to hear the quote of all quotes, Ben Franklin’s “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

And, I don’t know if that qualifies as cliche at this point, but it still rings true. 

One of the biggest ways that meal prepping can help you in your weight loss journey is by reducing temptations. 

When you’ve planned for success, this time with your nutrition on point through portioned and prepped meals, you can more easily achieve your weight loss goals!

So then, when you’re faced with temptation at work, perhaps in the form of fried, sugary donuts, you can face that temptation head on since you’ve already got a healthy breakfast on hand that you’ve carefully planned and prepared prior to being confronted with that donut. 

Or, maybe you’ve already eaten your healthy, nutritious lunch that you prepared from home, so you’ll be less likely to then be tempted with greasy, fatty restaurant foods that would derail your weight loss success. 

And, when you’re tired after a long day at work, the temptation to order pizza running through your head like a bullet train, you can overcome that temptation far more easily when you already have a nutritious meal prepared and waiting to either be eaten (slow cooker, anyone?) or simply/quickly cooked due to your time spent preparing meals earlier in the day or week. 

Personally, I like to make a day of it, taking a Sunday afternoon (for instance) to prep my meals and snacks for the week. 

I make a mess of things in the kitchen all at once, chopping, washing, cooking, and then cleaning up all in a day. 

In one fell swoop, my fridge is stocked, and I’m ready to take on the week. And, I may or may not channel my inner 80’s child and chime in now and then with a little Bangles…“just another meal prep Sunday, all in one day, so I’m ready for Monday.”

5- Fight Hunger

When hunger strikes, it’s hard to remain focused on your weight loss goals if you aren’t prepared. 

Because the fact of the matter is, you can plan all you want, but if you don’t have a nutritious meal on hand when you are several minutes past hungry, your decision making skills are often the first things to go out the window. 

So, this lines up pretty closely with temptation here, as we all know that it’s definitely harder to resist food temptations when you’re hungry. 

But, if you’ve put in the work, intentionally preparing healthy meals ahead of time, when hunger strikes…well…you’re prepared! 

And, you can even cut hunger off at the pass, prepping snacks ahead of time, ready to greet your afternoon or morning (whenever you’re prone to hunger) with a well-portioned, planned, nutritious snack. 

6- Reduces Stress

Stressful times are some of the hardest times to stay on track with your health and fitness goals.

When you’re stressed, you often get hungry…it’s just plain science!

Stress prompts the release of a hormone called cortisol from your adrenal glands. And, this hormone is a havoc wreaker when it comes to weight loss. 

The release of cortisol bumps up your appetite, and most often it causes cravings for all the things you’re trying to avoid when losing weight: sugary, fatty, sodium-rich foods. 

When you meal prep, you can reduce stress because even if everything else is going haywire, you’ve got one less thing to think about or stress over. Your meals are prepared or already portioned and ready to cook, so you can grab that healthy meal, fuel your body properly, and tackle any other stress. 

Or, if food is the stressful thing in your day, meal prepping takes away that stress completely. 

Take mornings for instance, sometimes this portion of the day can be rushed and busy, not leaving much time (if any) to prepare a healthy breakfast. 

You’re stressed, trying to get out the door on time, and if nothing else, the ease of a prepped meal can reduce that morning stress and help you start your day off on the right foot. 

7- Save Time And Money

Weight loss efforts can take time and money, but you can actually save time and money when you meal prep. 

Uh-oh, I think we just busted a few excuses all to pieces here. 

No time to workout? 

If you meal prep, you’ll cut out time spent deciding what to eat, and you’ll also save time on cooking as prepping your meals all at once combines many actions, cutting down on the overall time you’d normally spend cooking throughout the week. 

Now…you’ve got time to workout! See, problem solved and you’ve got some meals prepared in the process! 

But, what about money? 

I often hear people say that it’s expensive to eat healthy. Hmmm, the thing is, it’s expensive to eat out. 

Preparing your meals ahead of time, planning them carefully and intentionally with your weight loss goals in mind, can actually save you money. And…another weight loss excuse shatters! 

When you plan and buy in bulk, you can definitely save money while eating healthy and nutritious meals. 

And hey, with the money you’ll save through meal prepping, perhaps you can splurge on a new outfit as you’re crushing your weight loss goals and your pants are inevitably getting too big now! 

8- Better Relationship With Food

Healthy weight loss involves a transformation of thinking, learning to view foods appropriately as sources of energy and nutrition that your body needs, as opposed to sources of comfort (an area many reveal as a struggle in regards to their relationship with food). 

Meal prepping causes you to view foods more carefully and with intention. 


Through the process of preparing healthy meals for yourself or even your family, you’ll learn more about foods and their purpose, creating a better relationship with food over time. 

You’ll also learn to listen to your body and its needs as you enjoy the meals you’ve carefully prepared. And, in doing so, you’ll better understand your body’s cues for hunger and other nutritional needs, contributing to success as you seek to lose weight. 

Is this forgotten vitamin the answer to low energy?

What do you do when your energy drops in the afternoon?

Do you reach for coffee?

Do you try to take a nap?

Or maybe you’re more of an “I’m going to power through this slump…” type of person… 

So you opt for an energy drink instead.

But too much coffee can cause the jitters…

You can’t always find the time to take a nap…

And you don’t need me to warn you about what’s lurking in your favorite energy drinks.

But what if there was a long forgotten “vitamin” that you could take in the morning…

And support the energy boosting benefits, all-day long?*

You’d want to know what to know all about it right?

Especially if it could help restore your natural, harmonious flow of energy, right?

If so, you can read more about this mystery “vitamin” here.

When you feel good, you do good!

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FITNESS

Take Your Fitness to the Next Level with This Customized Plan

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Are you looking to take your fitness to the next level, but aren’t sure where to start? One of the best ways to achieve your fitness goals is by following a personalized plan tailored to your specific needs and abilities. By working with a fitness professional to create a customized plan, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your workouts and seeing real results.

A customized fitness plan takes into account your current fitness level, goals, and any limitations you may have. Whether you are a beginner looking to build strength, an athlete training for a specific event, or someone looking to lose weight, a personalized plan can help you reach your goals more effectively and efficiently.

One of the key benefits of following a customized fitness plan is that it is tailored specifically to your needs. This means that every aspect of the plan, from the exercises you do to the number of sets and reps you perform, is chosen with your goals in mind. This level of specificity can help you avoid wasting time on exercises that may not be effective for you and ensure that you are making progress towards your goals.

Additionally, a customized fitness plan can help you stay motivated and accountable. By working with a fitness professional to create a plan, you have someone to check in with regularly and provide feedback and support. This can help you stay on track and push through any challenges or plateaus that may arise.

To create a customized fitness plan, it is important to work with a qualified fitness professional who can assess your current fitness level and help you set realistic goals. They can also provide guidance on the best exercises to include in your plan, as well as advice on nutrition and recovery strategies to support your progress.

Overall, following a customized fitness plan can help you take your fitness to the next level and achieve the results you desire. Whether you are looking to build muscle, improve your endurance, or lose weight, a personalized plan can provide you with the guidance and support you need to reach your goals. So why wait? Take the first step towards reaching your fitness goals by creating a customized plan today.

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Maximize Your Results with the Perfect Fitness Plan for You

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Everyone wants to see results when they commit to a fitness plan, but finding the perfect one for you can be a challenge. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to figure out what will work best for your body and your goals. However, achieving maximum results doesn’t have to be a guessing game. By following a few key steps, you can tailor a fitness plan to perfectly suit your needs and optimize your results.

First and foremost, it’s important to identify your specific fitness goals. Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, increase endurance, or improve flexibility, having a clear objective in mind will help you choose the right exercises and intensity level to achieve those goals. It’s also important to set realistic and achievable expectations for yourself to prevent burnout and frustration.

Once you have established your goals, it’s time to build a comprehensive fitness plan that incorporates a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Cardio workouts like running, cycling, or swimming can help improve heart health and burn calories, while strength training exercises like weight lifting and bodyweight exercises help build muscle and increase metabolism. Flexibility exercises like yoga or Pilates can improve mobility and prevent injuries.

It’s also important to consider your schedule and lifestyle when creating your fitness plan. If you have a busy schedule, look for shorter, high-intensity workouts that deliver maximum results in a shorter amount of time. If you prefer working out in the morning, find a routine that fits into your morning routine. Consistency is key to seeing results, so choose a plan that you can stick to long-term.

In addition to finding the right mix of exercises, it’s essential to pay attention to your nutrition and recovery. Fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods and staying hydrated will support your workouts and help your body recover faster. Make sure to incorporate rest days into your schedule to allow your muscles to recover and prevent burnout.

Lastly, listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. If a certain exercise or routine isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to try something new. Your fitness plan should be dynamic and adaptable to your changing needs and goals.

By taking the time to create a personalized fitness plan that aligns with your goals, schedule, and lifestyle, you can maximize your results and achieve the body and health you desire. Remember, consistency and dedication are key, so stay committed to your plan and watch as the results start rolling in.

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Muscle Strengthening Found To Lower Risk Of Death From All Causes

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Do you incorporate practices into your daily or weekly routine for the benefit those things bring to your health and well-being? 

Take coffee, for instance. Many folks enjoy their daily cup of joe knowing it can improve cognitive functioning and decrease the risk of certain diseases, even lowering the risk of mortality from all causes. 

Or, what about your sleep habits? Do you aim to get a specific number of hours of restful sleep each night for the purpose of improving cardiovascular health, even adding length to your life? 

Those are only a few examples of both foods and practices that, when incorporated into our lives, can improve our health and may even allow us to live longer. 

And, according to the experts, upon analyzing research spanning more than three decades, muscle strengthening can be added to the list of things we can easily incorporate into our lives to add length to our days!

Spoiler alert: adding just 30 minutes of muscle-strengthening activity per week can help you reap this reward!

So, let’s take a look at the benefits of muscle training (strengthening), and then we’ll look at the science and discover some simple, practical ways you can boost your health and lower your overall risk of death.

Benefits Of Muscle Training

Muscle training, or strengthening, exercises offer a wide variety of benefits to your health, so before we dive into the research, let’s quickly explore just a few of those benefits…

1- Improves Bone Density

Studies show strength training to be capable of significantly increasing bone mineral density. 

This is explained by a few things that occur as you increase the strength of your muscles:

  • Weight-bearing exercises done while standing cause gravity to pull downward on the body, slightly stressing bones and muscles, thereby causing them to strengthen. 
  • Each time a muscle contracts throughout exercise, it pulls on the bone where it is attached. This pulling essentially mimics a trauma, causing the cells in the bone to stimulate the production of structural proteins which work to build up and strengthen the bone. 

2- Improves Mental Health

Strength training has been shown to improve symptoms of both depression and anxiety. 

Some believe, as in the case of high-intensity aerobic exercise, that these improvements are linked to a release of endorphins or increased endocannabinoid levels. 

And, according to research findings from the Harvard School of Medicine, “strength training provides an opportunity to overcome obstacles in a controlled predictable environment, increasing mental resilience.” 

3- Raises Basal Metabolic Rate

When you do strength or resistance training, your body requires specific amounts of energy based on how hard you are working. 

Then, your body continues to burn calories at that rate as it returns to a state of rest even after you’ve finished exercising, known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. 

In the case of strength training, after you’ve put in a particularly intense amount of work, this amount is essentially amplified as you then continue to burn calories at this high metabolic rate through recovery. 

Then, as you build lean muscle mass through your efforts, the physical activity that you engage in will require your muscles to burn even more calories as each kilogram of lean muscle mass increases your metabolic rate by upwards to 100 calories per day. 

Mathematically stated: 

  • great efforts put into strength training equal great caloric burn post workout session
  • lean muscle mass built through strength training equals greater calorie burn in your workouts 

4- Helps Maintain A Healthy Weight

Now this may seem obvious after the last point, but those gains in muscle and potential extra calorie burn kick in to aid you as you seek to maintain a healthy body weight.

Not only can you shed pounds with those calorie burn gains, but studies have shown resistance training (one type of muscle strengthening exercise) works to help dieters keep those pounds off, with a weekly commitment to muscle training activity preventing weight gain as well as keeping visceral belly fat at bay. 

5- Controls Blood Sugar

Studies have shown that as you build muscle this also improves the uptake and use of glucose within the muscle. 

Transporters within the cells of the muscle travel to the bloodstream to get glucose and then bring it back to the muscle. When you strengthen the muscle, this makes that process more efficient, bringing more glucose into the muscle thereby lowering blood sugar levels. 

For this reason, people with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to incorporate muscle strengthening exercises into their weekly routine. 

Research, Muscle Strengthening, And A Lowered Risk Of Death

As we just saw above, and as we’ve known for some time, the benefits of exercise are great, but did you know (aside from the title and intro of this article) that this benefit list includes the ability to reduce the risk of death from all causes? 

However, those benefits can seem vague. After all, how much exercise brings these benefits? 

What type of exercise benefits you the most? And, how much benefit are we talking about here? 

Well, a group of scientists at Tohoku University in Japan have recently analyzed multiple international studies, spanning over three decades, to bring us those answers. 

The studies reviewed included research conducted over the course of 2-25 years on adults who were healthy (lacking any major health concerns), with a centralized focus on 16 particular studies from the United States, England, Scotland, Australia, and Japan. 

These studies involved a large number of participants, both men and women, from samples with as few as 4,000 to as many as nearly 480,000 people, including ages ranging from 18-97.

Participants in each study did a variety of physical activities, including aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises. 

And, as the team analyzed the data, one thing stood out: you don’t have to exercise for hours and hours each week to improve your health and reduce your risk of death!

Incorporating just 30-60 minutes per week of muscle strengthening exercises proved to lower the risk of death from all causes, including heart disease and cancer, by 10-20%. 

Even better, when strength training activities were combined each week with aerobic exercise, the risk of death decreased by 40%, the threat of cardiovascular disease dropped by 46%, and the risk of death by cancer reduced by 28%. 

Another bonus? The types of muscle strengthening exercises that will allow you to reap these rewards aren’t only those typically done in a gym setting. 

Muscle strengthening activities are beneficial due to their (positive) impact on your musculoskeletal health. 

And, while those types of activities certainly include lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats, and lunges, they also include practical work such as heavy gardening and shoveling.

Furthermore, according to the physical health guidelines in the UK, even yoga, pilates, and tai chi, as well as wheeling a wheelchair, lifting and carrying children, and carrying heavy shopping bags are considered to be worthy muscle strengthening exercises as they work to benefit the musculoskeletal system. 

While there were limitations to the analysis done here, such as limited data, a lack of diversity in the population of participants, and data collected through observation as opposed to clinical trials, there is still much to be gleaned from the information reviewed. 

But, this new analysis of data can serve to add to what we’ve already known concerning a reduced risk of death with muscle strengthening exercise, now giving us precise “doses” or prescriptions for how much time we should spend engaging in such activities to reap optimal rewards. 

And, as we mentioned above, that prescription reads: 30-60 minutes spent weekly doing muscle strengthening exercises to lower the risk of all causes of death (by 10-20%), with added benefits to be reaped when including aerobic exercise alongside your muscle strengthening routine. 

References: 

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