Lose Weight With Healthy Meal Prep And Other Tips
If you were to ask me, “What is the most important thing for weight loss?” Whether you are a woman or a man, I would respond with the following: The number one most important thing you can do to lose weight is take control of what you are putting in your mouth. It may take some will power, but with the right knowledge and a little bit of planning, you can make the changes necessary to improve your health and life. The idea is to use the tools that allow you to make informed decisions about what you put in your mouth. Here is a look into why this is important, and some of the tools you can use to positively impact your lifestyle.
Unfortunately, most people are at the will of their environment and consume poor quality food whenever it’s available. They feel they have very little control over when, what or how much they eat. And because of the lack of nutritional knowledge and skills, people are unable to make the right dietary choices that will allow them to effectively create an energy deficit and lose weight. This is why we always see rebound weight gain after completion of a diet.
I have had many clients, friends and family underestimate their calorie intake by as much as 500-1000 calories per day. Besides that huge error, their food is of low-quality, high-energy nutrients with added sugar and preservatives. Simply, these food choices create a mess with metabolic function and blood sugar levels. With mistakes like these, weight loss becomes almost impossible and the risk for disease increases.
Despite the popularity of healthy food and nutrition in the media – and more weight loss advice than ever on the internet – diabetes and obesity rates are still growing!! The most recent statistics show that U.S. obesity rates rose to 42.2% in 2017-2018. From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%. And at the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.
Lose Weight, Reset Your Metabolism, And Rejuvenate With The Prolon Fasting-Mimicking Diet
Obesity isn’t just an aesthetic issue.
It significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death. For example: a poor diet that leads to diabetes… Consuming excess calories and living a sedentary lifestyle raises insulin levels and leads to metabolic disturbance so that the body is no longer able to regulate blood sugar levels. However, this can be prevented!
Create An Eating Schedule That Incorporates Periods Of Fasting
Throughout my career I have noticed two particular categories of people:
- Those who eat or snack all day long,
- Those who skip meals due to lack of time and end up eating everything in the evening.
If you find yourself in one of these patterns, you better stop right now! Your body has a circadian rhythm. Skipping meals or eating too often throws that rhythm off causing insulin resistance and fat storage. So create a schedule so you are aware and can prepare for your next meal.
Establish a set eating schedule that incorporates periods of ‘overnight’ fasting so that your body maintains the ability to burn body fat. Cut out your late-night eating and midnight snacking. During the fasting periods (of at least 12 hours), your digestive system will get a break and your body will shift into fat burning mode.
If you are trying to lose weight, having 3 meals over 10-12 hour periods can give the digestive system more time to rest and enhance fat burning between meals.
Healthy Meal Prep = Plan Your Meals In Advance
Have you ever considered the metabolic effects of how a meal is going to make you feel? It doesn’t matter if you order the healthiest looking item on the menu. Chances are that restaurant or take-out food will contain unhealthy ingredients like added sugar, soybean oil, excess dietary fats and refined carbs.
You should also know that food choices and will power deteriorate drastically when you are hungry. Hormones that are associated with feelings of hunger turn off the rationale parts of your brain, stimulating “hedonistic” pleasurable neurons, causing cravings for less healthy foods that tend to be higher in refined carbs and fat compared to whole foods and proteins.
Practicing healthy Meal prep can help save you hundreds (if not thousands) of calories a day.
By planning around whole proteins, healthy fats, and lower carb vegetables you take control of your hunger and stay on point throughout the day.
Beef, turkey, chicken, lamb, salmon, mackerel, cod, shrimp, lentils, hummus, eggs, Greek yogurt
Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, avocado, olives, coconut oil
Spinach, letture, arugula, collards, cucumber, celery, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, eggplant, brussels sprouts, lima beans
Stock Your Cupboard With Healthy Foods From Primal Kitchen
Here is a power bowl of complex carbs that I make for my afternoon snack which I consume an hour or two before my workout. I would accompany it with a portion of protein if it were to replace my lunch meal.
Broccoli – 1 pound
Chick Peas – 1 can, strained
Brown Rice – 1 cup, dry
Water – 1-3/4 cup
Apple Cider Vinegar – 1/4 cup
Dijon Mustard – 1 tbsp
Ground Black Pepper
Parsley – 1 cup, de-stemmed, chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F
- Chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
- Arrange broccoli pieces and chickpeas on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Drizzle with a bit of olive oil – maybe a teaspoon or just a tad more.
- Sprinkle on a pinch each of salt, paprika, tumeric, cumin. Add more or less to your desired taste.
- Give these ingredients a few gentle flips to evenly coat everything with oil and spices.
- Pop those in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove when you see some nice toasty brown bits around the edges of the broccoli florets.
Cook Brown Rice
- While the veggies are roasting, cook your rice.
- (Hint: If you want the rice to to be done at the same time as the veggies, start this first! Brown rice takes about 35 minutes to cook thoroughly.)
- Rinse the rice, and then let it soak in clean water for at least 5 minutes.
- Drain off the water, and dump the rice into a medium saucepan.
- Add a splash of oil oil and the 1-3/4 cup of water. A pinch of salt doesn’t hurt, either.
- Place this on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once the rice starts boiling, give it a quick stir and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Leave lid on and let it simmer for 25 minutes.
- Remove rice from heat, then let it rest covered off heat for 5 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and enjoy.
- Mix up your dressing while the veggies are roasting, too.
- In a jar or other sealable mixing container combine: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp black pepper.
- Seal it and give it a vigorous shake.
- Get ready to serve by spooning 1 cup of cooked brown rice into a bowl.
- Add 1-1/2 tbsp of flavorful dressing to the rice, and give this a stir.
- Spoon in at least a cup of the roasted broccoli and chickpeas.
- Garnish with a bit of parsley… and dig in!
You’ll notice that I cooked (way) more food than is necessary for one meal. I highly suggest you do the same so that, like me, you can engage in healthy meal prep. I choose one day of the week to cook all my snacks/lunches for the next 4-6 days. Just pack the whole-food meals in separate small containers. This is a vegan/vegetarian meal prep recipe; however, you can easily add a clean protein such as ground turkey or cooked salmon if you like. Then grab and go as you need. You will save time, won’t have to think about what to eat each day, and will be nourished with healthy foods. Plus you will save money by not eating out! Win, win, win!
See Another Healthy Meal Prep Recipe with Salmon
You will be amazed at how much more energy you have when not eating processed foods and refined carbs.
These new, healthier foods will naturally raise your metabolism, making it easier to achieve a calorie deficit to support your weight loss goals. You will also feel empowered that you are finally taking control over your health and what you are putting in your mouth.
Test Your Blood Sugar Levels
Testing your glucose levels gives you insight as to how your body is using energy. Elevated blood sugar can be a sign that you are eating too much or too often. It also helps you determine what to eat. High blood sugar indicates you need to focus on foods that support insulin sensitivity and slow digestion to regulate glucose in the blood stream after eating. This can be done by planning meals around protein, vegetables, healthy fats and complex carbs similar to my broccoli and chickpea dish above.
Buy a glucose meter online and follow these guidelines: Fasting blood glucose should be between 70-90 mg/dl. Your post-meal glucose should be below 135mg/dl. Large post-meal spikes in glucose indicates poor insulin health, which can be solved through exercise, lifestyle factors, and diet.
Get Comfortable With Hunger
Hunger can be very educational. It can help you develop a calmer and healthier relationship with food. In today’s day and age, for most of us, hunger is not an emergency. So relax… the food is not going anywhere.
Have you ever tried to distinguish between biological hunger and emotional hunger?
Physical hunger occurs when blood sugar levels dip and you experience sensations such as rumbling or emptiness in your stomach. Emotional hunger occurs when you are stressed, bored, lonely or feeling unpleasant. Let’s be honest: eating feels good. So it’s only natural for the brain to form a strong craving for food. Unfortunately, this is usually in the form of chips, chocolate, pizza or junk foods.
Homework: Try to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger.
When asked, I always tend to repeat this to those around me “eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. Come back and finish the dish when you get hungry again.” When you feel physical hunger, don’t eat immediately. Try drinking water or distracting yourself. Read a book or engage in another hobby, and see if that hungry feeling disappears. Also, when you are hungry and you do have a meal, practice eating slowly and focus on chewing completely. Enjoy the flavors and textures of the food instead of just cramming it into your mouth. This has two huge benefits. It will enhance your relationship with your food by helping your brain associate these feelings with the pleasure of eating rather than just feeling full. Additionally, this will give your body time to send your brain the signals that you’ve eaten enough before you over-stuff yourself.
Now it is time to start hunger training!
It is never too late to start eating right. Just remember these essential tips:
- Establish an eating schedule.
- Plan your meals in advance and meal prep.
- Test your blood glucose.
- And listen to your physical and mental stimulations.
Becoming empowered by food is the first step to overcoming food-guilt and starting your journey to achieve your ideal body composition.
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