One of my 2012 goals was to plan ahead of time. Eating right and working out takes a lot of time and energy. It doesn't just happen and there will be a lot of times where you don't feel like working out, you're craving foods you shouldn't eat, or you just get too busy. That's where planning comes in. It seems like a lot of work up front, but it is worth it!
When you take the guesswork out of what you are going to eat, it helps your mind to not wander and think about what you're going to have, which can often lead to thinking about wanting foods that aren't healthy. For me, when I start to think about what I want to have and crave foods I shouldn't eat, it become a really slippery slope and often leads to making not so good choices.
If my meals are planned ahead of time, I don't have to think about what I'm going to have. It's already decided. Of course I will still be faced with temptations, but they are easier to avoid when you've already made up your mind about what you are going to eat.
One of the ways that I plan my meals and workouts is using Google calendar. I try to plan all my meals for the week on Sundays. I created a separate calendar on Google that is just for meal planning. It shows up on my calendar in a different color and I can unselect it if I don't want to see all my meals.
In each of the entries you can also add things like recipes (or the link to a recipe) and specific calorie information. For instance, I know that I'm going to try a new recipe later this week so I put the link in my calendar entry so it will be easy to find it.
You can also set things to repeat so if you have the same thing every day or once a week, or even want to have a certain recipe again in 6 weeks. When you open an event, there is also a copy to my calendar function so you can just copy that meal to another day and not have to re-enter everything.
I've also found that scheduling my workouts has helped tremendously. If I add in the workout to my calendar and make it an appointment, I'm more likely to go. Just like making an appointment to go to the dentist. I'm sure most of us don't ever want to go to the dentist, but we make the appointment and go because it's good for our teeth and it's important to take care of ourselves. In the same way, making an appointment for working out often helps keep you on a schedule and I know it helps me to go even when I don't really feel like going.
The other great thing about the Google Calendar is that it wirelessly syncs to all my devices. So once I add something online, it will be synced to my iPhone and iPad as well or I could pull it up from any computer. I'm sure there are other great calendars too, but that is just what I've found works best for me.
On Sundays, I also organize my vitamins for the week. I use an organizer that allows me to put in all my vitamins for the week so I don't have to remember if I've taken them or not and it helps keep me on track. I can take out the vitamins for that day and put them in my purse so I'll have them with me and not have to take the whole week.
I know that it seems like a lot of work up front, but I promise you it will help so much! I can't tell you how much this helps me throughout the week to stay on track. Taking that hour or 2 once a week will make all the difference to help you stay on track.
What other ideas do you guys have or how do you plan your meals and exercise?