The benefits of meal planning for weight loss and health

belly-2473_1280By now you’ll know that I have done lots of ‘experimentation’ over the last four years and that sticking to a raw food diet has not always been easy. Thankfully there have been many more days, weeks and months that I HAVE stuck to my diet, than days where I haven’t, and that’s why I keep coming back to it, day after day, because the results I experience are so profound.

More than any other nutritional program I have ever tried.

And I’ve done lots.

But there’s one thing that I’ve been doing over the last year that has accelerated my results in the most profound way.

And I wanted to share it with you today.

By the way, this will REALLY help you if you struggle with emotional eating, yo-yo dieting, compulsive eating or food addiction.

My Number one tip for success on a raw food diet is…

Planning and committing my food in advance.

I tried many different approaches over the years…

  • Writing my food down as I ate it
  • Eating to ‘hunger’ and satiation (this was frequently problematic for a person with a history of compulsive eating, emotional eating and food addiction)
  • Eating only 2 meals a day
  • Fasting till midday
  • Eating only before 4
  • Eating only before 5
  • Eating only raw foods all day and then cooked at night
  • Etc etc

None of them worked long-term.

I would always come unstuck a week or two down the track. Sometimes after even only a day or two.

It was demoralizing.

Here’s what I do now…

Sweet Dip & Crunchy Greens

Sweet Dip & Crunchy Greens

This year I happened upon an amazing program for food addiction, which I will definitely be sharing about in future emails and it has completely changed my whole mindset and approach with regards to my food.

I no-longer ‘wing it’ when it comes to food.

Every night, after dinner, when I’ve cleaned up the kitchen the very next thing I do is get out my food journal and PLAN my next day’s meals.

I know roughly what I’m going to eat and how many calories. I use cronometer, an online food diary, to plan it and then I WRITE IT DOWN in my dedicated food journal.

For example, this is what I’ve planned for today…

A sample food plan for one day of raw food eating. Every night I write a plan out in my food journal for the next day.

A sample food plan for one day of raw food eating. Every night I write a plan out in my food journal for the next day.

Breakfast – 45 ounces of watermelon (about 3 pounds or 1.5 kilos), 10 ounces of cucumber (I’ll probably add some fresh mint and ginger as I’ve been doing for the last week or so)

Lunch – 10oz of watermelon, 10oz plums, 12oz fresh figs and 12oz salad greens (probably celery)

Dinner – Coconut water (from 1 young coconut), 20oz mango and 25oz salad

Love on a plate!

What I LOVE most about planning my food

  • It eliminates the majority of the mental games I play with myself about whether I’ve had enough or too much food. This has derailed me so many times I cannot tell you.
  • I know that I’m eating just the right amount for the weight I want to maintain. And I maintain a slim figure now 🙂
  • Spicy Coconut Cilantro Soup

    Spicy Coconut Cilantro Soup

    I make sure that I’m eating enough greens. Before planning I always used to overeat on fruit and undereat on greens. As a food addict, greens just weren’t appealing to me. AT ALL. Give me the fruits or starches any old time. Greens? Blech. But what I found time and time again is that I CRAVED sodium like you wouldn’t believe. And then I’d end up bingeing on seriously unhealthy packets of chips, crackers and eventually bread. Eating enough greens (which for me is at least 2 pounds) means that I just don’t crave these salty foods any more. And it’s much easier to stay on track then. And the bonus is that now I CRAVE greens. I can easily eat nearly a whole head of celery now, and I HATED celery in the past. Commit to eating greens and your tastebuds will change.

Research shows…

That people are far more successful in achieving ANY goal when they:

  • Make a plan
  • Write it down
  • Commit it in an accountable way (ie. out there in the world somehow)
  • Follow it to a T, and then bookend about how they did.

When you DON’T make a plan to follow, then you are left to your own devices. Amnesia sets in. You can’t quite remember what your major focus was. Was it to lose weight? Or to just eat raw and nothing else? Or to eat whenever you were hungry? The last one will definitely begin to take precedence over the first two if you don’t have a plan to follow.

This is where having a coach to guide you and help you, especially in those early fragile stages of creating new habits can be so helpful.

But you can also find a buddy or mastermind group to help you form new, powerful habits.

Either way you need support of some kind. You can’t just do it on your own. The most successful people in any field of endeavor learnt from and leant on mentors and allies.

But isn’t it boring to plan in advance?

When I first started planning in advance I feared that I would get bored easily. But the truth is that I eat the most amazing variety of fruits and veggies, by

Watermelon, cucumber, mint & ginger salad

Watermelon, cucumber, mint & ginger salad

the season, and it never ceases to amaze me just how satisfied I am when I eat water and fibre rich, fresh, ripe, raw fruits and veggies. The colours, fragrances, taste explosions – there just is no comparison.

Because I’m genuinely hungry when I get to eat each of my three meals whatever I’ve planned looks great to me, and I don’t have to think about what I’m going to have. I just grab my plan, my scale and just start serving it up.

And I am constantly grateful about how I get to eat the most delicious, nutritious, un-boring food on the planet.

But how do you commit when life stuff happens?

The truth is most days are the same. I eat at home, or work. I can either prepare my meals in advance if I’m going out or just before if I’m at home. That part is easy.

Sometimes I eat out. And I plan accordingly. If I know I’m eating at a restaurant then calling ahead really helps to get a sense of how I need to plan. Do I need to bring food? Or can I order something off the menu.

It’s just a new habit that needs to be established and worked at over time. Pretty soon it becomes second nature.

But doesn’t that limit your choices?

The truth is YES. It DOES limit my food choices (I get to choose once what I’m going to have for the rest of the day). But actually, we’re creatures who thrive in environments of minimal choice. That’s why stores like Aldi are so popular – because they limit choice.

Additionally I find that when I limit my choices on my plate that a whole world of choices opens up to me. Fabulous life choices like these…

  • I get to choose what weight I want to be, and maintain it over months and years (instead of yo-yoing around like crazy) – the gift of a slim, lithe, athletic body 🙂
  • I get to choose to be focused and energetic, rather than lethargic and brain fogged out.
  • I get to choose to eat fresh ripe raw fruits and veggies and not just eat whatever crap is right in front of me.
  • I get to choose which amazing life projects I want to engage in without being bogged down with food obsession, weight obsession or shame. (This one is HUGE for me)
  • I get to be fully present to the people and activities I love in my life, and this gives me endless joy.

Honestly I wouldn’t trade all these for the choice of whether to eat burgers, fries, or fruit in the moment any day. When I plan in advance I can trust that my higher self is always making the best choices on my behalf.

Then the next part is surrendering.

This probably won’t appeal to some of you.

Some of you sincerely DON’T struggle with overeating, undereating or food addiction issues, and so this probably isn’t going to resonate with you.

This article is for those of you that DO struggle with food. And struggle to maintain a healthy diet over the long-term.

I wrote it because I want to let everyone know what has really worked for me after years of struggle.

Getting support is key

When you’re establishing ANY new habit you need support. It’s not hard to find. Sometimes it’s free (in a buddy, a FB forum or a mastermind group). Sometime’s it’s not (people pay good money to coaches every day because they can see what you can’t, and they can help you stick to your plan and achieve the results you want to achieve).

Hardcover-Book-MockUp-book-onlyMy new ebook The Raw Warrior’s Ultimate Kickstart Guide has a section of resources at the back. One of those is a link to our private Facebook support group, where you can find ongoing support with a beautiful community of striving and succeeding raw foodies. I really look forward to meeting you over there.

I also still have a couple of places to fill in my 3-month Real Raw Transformation coaching program, which is a one on one coaching program, which you can find out about here. I’m offering 20% off until I reach my limit of 10 people. You can find out about it HERE.

Do YOU plan for your food for success on any healthy diet?  There’s a famous saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, which I really like.   Please comment below and let me know your experience of planning…