Dieting for most people can be very stressful and overwhelming. One measure I have personally discovered that alleviates much of my stress takes place during the food preparation process.
Many people end up “cheating” on their diets because they aren’t prepared. They try to take it meal by meal, but that often becomes time consuming and unpractical. Personally, I try to think in increments of about five to seven days when planning my meals. I have found this method to reduce much of the stress that I used to encounter on a daily basis.
To begin, before I go to the grocery store, I make a detailed list of what I need for the week. I calculate how many pounds of meat I need down to how many eggs I will consume down to how many apples I need. Basically, I go to the grocery with a detailed, calculated plan. By shopping this way, you will not run out of food unexpectedly; you know exactly when you will need to go shopping again.
Once the food is home, I try to cook for about five days at a time. It takes a few hours in the kitchen to accomplish this, but it’s worth it. To make the time pass more quickly, you can listen to music or watch some of your favorite television shows. You should also try to get your significant other involved in the process; it’s a great way to work together toward a shared goal and to spend some quality time together.
After the food is prepared and cooked, I take the time to measure out all of my meals for the next five days. I put meals in either ziplock bags or Tupperware containers; this makes it easy to grab your meals as you are walking out the door. I know this may sound like a simple concept, but it truly can make things much easier when it comes to dieting. Plan your grocery list (calculate quantities), prepare and cook for several days at a time, and measure your food once you cook it. I have discovered that organizing and preparing my food this way helps me stay on track with my diet and reduces the possibility of “cheating” and becoming stressed.
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