The journey to successful and sustained weight loss is not an easy one.  Why?  Certain things must happen if you are to maintain the initial motivation that pushed you towards weight loss.  One of them is planning.  If you are really set on breaking your old unhealthy habits, adopting new ones, enjoying a new lifestyle, and shedding your excess weight, you must plan for it!  Experts have cited repeatedly that meal planning is a necessary component for success.  By making a mental (or physical) note of what it is that you will eat at every meal, you are preparing yourself for what has to be done and making it more likely to occur.  You are, in essence, setting expectations for yourself.  So what exactly does this planning entail?

For starters, the most important and most simple aspect of planning is a food journal.  Keeping track of your meals helps you discover good and bad patterns in your eating habits.  It also helps you understand what meal and snack times work best for you, and may be helpful in determining what foods are working for your weight loss.  If you notice that you’re hungry at 10 a.m. every day for a week and snacking on something unhealthy, you may decide that it will be best to modify your breakfast to make it more nutritious and filling.

After you’ve established your food journal, you’ll want to start planning out your meals for the week.  With guidance from your weight loss coach, you can determine the best meals that will work with your personal taste preferences and with your schedule.  Your coach will also give you suggestions for good foods to try and may have great ideas for how to incorporate healthier items in your meals, and how to exchange items you do not like with other healthy options that you enjoy in a given recipe for instance.  By doing this, you will learn how to plan for the healthiest, most nutritious, filling meals for you and your family!

Why is meal planning important? Simple!

It helps keep you away from the temptations of quick, unhealthy meals and snacks when hunger hits.  With a game plan, you’ve always got your next meal ready/planned.  Lunchtime at the office is not a problem because you’ve packed something from home.  Dinner on a weeknight will not resolve itself with takeout because you’ve planned ahead and have an easy, yet healthy meal ready to be cooked.  Meal planning is a preventive and helpful method for weight loss, weight maintenance, and overall healthy living.

Getting the hang of it may take some time.  Thats why its important to maintain frequent contact with your weight loss coach.  Come in for regular visits to talk over your eating habits with your coach and to discuss strengths, weaknesses, and areas of change.  While doing so, you can also weigh yourself to see how well the meal plan is working out for you.  And don’t forget that exercise is part of the package!  Scheduling it is important, and your weight loss coach will provide you with regular motivation and guidance to make sure that you are making your physical and mental health a priority.