Set yourself up for success is a phrase you will hear me say a lot. It means that you are focused on your goals and you will not let anything stand in the way of achieving them.
We all know what our downfalls are, especially when it comes to health. And we can either spend our time dealing with the inevitable result of falling into those pitfalls, or we can plan for them and side step them. Planning for them is an example of setting yourself up for success.
Here are a couple of examples of setting yourself up for success –
I can’t lose weight because I eat out a lot. Eating out can definitely pack on the pounds. The food we get out is often double the portion size and contains copious amounts of fat, salt and sugar. But you can lose weight and eat out and here’s how –
• Don’t look at the menu. Looking at the menu, reading the descriptions, looking at the pictures is just going to throw you off your path. Decide what you are going to eat before you go in – hint: it should include lots of vegetables and a healthy protein, maybe a complex carbohydrate like a grain or bean. Even unhealthy restaurants can steam some vegetables and grill some chicken.
• Pack up some of the food before you start eating. Portions are generally so large these days that you can bet you are getting almost double what you should eat in one meal. So before you start eating, divide your food in half and ask the waiter to bag up half of it. Take it home and you have lunch or dinner for the next day!
• Put your fork down between bites. It is easy to rush through a meal and overeat when you are out. So every time you take a bite, put your fork down and take your time chewing. When you finish with you bite, pick up your fork and take another bite. Breathe and enjoy the company!
I can’t cook because I don’t have time. The weekdays/workdays can be busy and stressful. No one feels like cooking a big meal when they get home. But this doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of cooking. You can plan ahead so that dinner is done each night with minimal prep and on the table in 5 minutes. Here’s how –
• Plan your meals in advance. Pick an evening and plan what you will be eating each night for dinner.
• Have a prep day. Find one day in your week where you can spend an hour at the store and an hour at home prepping. Clean and cut all the veggies you will use for dinners. Make some grains for the week, like brown rice or quinoa. Grill up a bunch of chicken or veggie burgers that you can use throughout the week. Etc. The idea is to do as much of the prep as you can on this day so that all you have to do is the finishing touches when you get home from work.
• Consider casseroles and slow cookers. These can be amazing! Casseroles can be made in advance and heated up throughout the week for dinners and lunches. Slow cookers are super easy because you can throw all the ingredients in before you leave for work, come home and dinner is ready.
What are your biggest pitfalls when it comes to health? How can you set yourself up for success?