It's been brought to my attention that in all the blogs about what to eat and when (for more examples see here, here, here, here) I haven't really taught you how to organise yourselves to make sure you have the food to eat. What time management strategies are there that I and others use, to make sure, that when you're ready to start a fat loss program and get the results, that you have the skills to make sure you have the food to eat and the time to train, in your busy schedule? Well, lets look at that very conundrum.
This is obviously the main one, and from whence everything else falls. To start with, it's not unreasonable to purchase some kind of calender, that you can mark out, over a month perhaps, your upcoming late nights at work, deadlines, meetings etc, that will keep you from your meals, food preparation and training. Obviously you won't be able to foresee everything that you have coming, but it will certainly help you to pre plan and get organised. An ancillary benefit to all this planning is you can also set your goals, and check them off when you meet them, and re-adjust if you don't. Make sure you have your training program sorted, personal training sessions booked and have a dialogue with your trainer. Mark off each training session you do (with your trainer and by yourself). From this more macro perspective we take it down to a micro perspective, at the start of every week, make even simple mental notes then mark your calender, what unavoidable obligations do you have over the week (work, social events, errands etc), from this very small basis you can start to look at where you have time to do the 2 most important things in fat loss programs, cook/eat and train. Obviously things like sleep, recovery, relaxation, downtime are important too, and must be factored in to your weekly plan as they affect your results and your motivation, as long as you make sure you're getting to bed at a respectable time (about 8hours a night), you should be relatively fine.
If you can look at the outset where the pitfalls for your week are going to be, you can make sure you've accommodated easily.
What are some specific food strategies?
Plan your food week out
What meals can you take to work, what are you having pre-workout/during workout/post-workout, what for dinner, breakfast etc. Make sure you have emergency meals that you can keep or bring to work (smoothies/protein shakes make great options) for those unexpected late nights. Stick to this plan, make sure there's plenty of variation to keep you interested. Plan a cheat meal, as in something with carbs, not junk food, this will keep you sane.
One important note, never shop when you're hungry, you will make bad choices. As you would already have a pretty good idea what you're meals are going to entail over the week, make sure you have a shopping list. Budget to include all and only what you pre planned to eat (as in leave credit cards at home) and only bring that amount of money, this will limit you from going overboard and buying junk.
This is the fun part (or the most annoying), I like to cook and prepare in bulk. Buying a couple of kgs of chicken (or fish) and cooking with some kind of low fat, low sodium sauce and a mix of vegetables (at least I used to before this whole semi vegetarian thing), requires that you do one cook up per week (that also provides a meal for after the cooking itself) that you can store in your fridge. This has 2 great benefits, all your dinners are prepared for when you get home from a busy day at work, and they also provide meals for weekends or when you're just feeling lazy. If you're feeling adventurous dice and cook up the 2 kgs of chicken with 2 different sauces (a kg in each sauce), so you can keep it varied. Making things like smoothies which are healthy, quick and easily stored in your fridge (at home or work) and buying protein powders can eliminate the need to cook when you can't be bothered (and can be added to meals to increase your protein intake).
People around you
This is a difficult one, but are the people in your life supporting you, and your goals? Are your partners? Being teased for not eating crap, being bullied into drinking, these are not people who are (a) your friends or (b) good for you. I'm not saying cut these people out of your life, but make a note of who these people are, make sure you know the games they play, and do your best to avoid being around them when say eating or drinking. You could also calmly sit them down and explain to them how their berating and intimidation make you feel, you'd be surprised how often people don't know how their words affect you, or how much they're projecting their own insecurities on you. Don't be afraid to tell them, in a friendly tone of course.
This is when people lose it. Work-a-day lives have one advantage, they keep you busy enough to distract you from junk. It's on the weekends I see my clients drink and eat crap, this is a hard one to solve. But it has a lot to do with what's already been mentioned. Planning, preparation, knowing who you're hanging out with and where, things of this nature. Don't go to dinners starving, don't go out clubbing with people who binge (and if you do, pace drinks with water, drink low carb
Dieting is all about breaking bad habits, we have our habitual nature, we get up go to work, follow the same routine day in and day out, this includes the junk we eat. The hardest part about dieting is breaking those habits. Try changing up your diet with healthy meals, try a variety of food sources, keep it interesting and keep interested. Boredom is when we sick into our bad habits.
This is what I expect from you guys, ultimately this is what you need to do, to get the results you want, the results you're paying money for. It may sound harsh for me to say, I may sound harsh when I say it, but it's not said in anger, it's a plain statement of fact. I'm here to help any and all who need it, use me, use my time, especially those who've paid for it. And try to lock down as many of these strategies as you can, they work.
Please give the articles below a read, they also include strategies you can employ to be as Nia Shanks would say: "a beautiful badass".