Meal Planning – Part One: Start with your WHY
Meal planning is one of the most important things you can do to set yourself up for success. It would be hard to find a coach, trainer, or nutritionist who would tell you that proper nutrition not important. Whether you are focused on athletic performance, losing weight, competing at the highest level, or improving a chronic health condition, there is no escaping the importance of meal planning.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Preparation is the key to ensuring success in achieving your health and fitness goals. Planning and preparing your meals is equally, if not more, important than your training. No arguments, right? Then why is it such a challenge for many people?
This series on meal planning will offer you many tips and tricks used in the fitness arena to help you be successful.
The key to staying motivated to plan and prepare ALL your meals is in finding your “why” – and then digging a little deeper. Connecting emotionally with our true desire will instill a greater motivation, especially when outside circumstances challenge our resolve.
Let me give you an example. Losing weight is a common goal for many people who begin a training regimen. But the thought of losing weight does not bring up much emotion for me. In fact, it drags me down. However, when I think about what it was like to shop for clothes as plus-size gal, emotions come flooding in. What I really wanted in those moments was to experience excitement and joy when shopping for clothes, to know that I could wear anything off the rack I chose, to feel beautiful and confident.
Now that I have lost the weight, my “why” is more than keeping it off. There is nothing more freeing than walking into my closest knowing that I can wear anything I want and feel good in it. I am finally confident in myself and how I feel about my body and that drives me and keeps me motivated.
Those are my why’s…and they are far more motivating than simply losing weight.
Maybe your WHY is to out-lift your best on a particular move. Or take off your shirt with confidence at the beach this summer. Hang around Physiques Gym long enough and your why just might be to compete!
Get detailed in your why’s…search your soul for what you really want. Be brave in asking yourself that question. In addition to the generic “losing weight/building muscle” and “getting fit” goals, consider more specific goals such as these. What could you add to the list?
- Improve athletic performance
- Feel STRONG
- Increase energy
- Improve mood and concentration
- Decrease inflammatory conditions (joints/tendons, intestinal health)
- Clear up skin conditions
- Sleep more soundly
- Combat depression and anxiety
- Improve any digestive disorders
- Boost confidence and enjoy life more
Once you have identified your most powerful “whys”, it’s time to know your GPA – GOALS/PLAN/ACCOUNTABILITY.
G – Goals
In my experience, it is helpful to have long-term and short-term goals. Our goals should reflect our whys. Goals are especially useful when they are specific – achieving a new PR on our favorite lift, wearing a “goal” dress, feeling amazing at a big event. Goals that are tied to a deadline coupled with your why are POWERFUL.
The best laid plans are rendered useless when not put into action. Next week, we’ll examine some specific how-to’s for meal planning and preparation that are key to your success.
A – Accountability
The third component to your training GPA is accountability. Working with a coach is the first tier of accountability. I know firsthand that without my coach I would not have achieved my goals. Accountability does not have to stop there. Building in support from those closest to you – and with people outside of the gym environment – will catapult your discipline and ultimately your success. Ask your friends and family to help you once you’ve laid out your plan. Partner up with someone who is equally committed to their health and fitness goals. Lastly, keeping a journal to log your meals, water, supplements, and workouts is a tried-and-true method for ensuring success.
The hard truth is, there is not quick fix to sustainable weight maintenance. Meal planning is a lifestyle choice but once you are committed to your “why”, and you follow your GPA, the rest will fall into place.
Don’t’ miss Part Two where we talk about the nuts and bolts of meal planning and preparation. PLAN TO SUCCEED!
Meal Planning 101: Part 1
Meal Planning 101: Part 2
Meal Planning 101: Part 3
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