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.
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!