Is preparation the only way to lose weight?

I am starting to believe it is. I’m one of those who used to obsess about my weight when I really didn’t need to, and now I can honestly say “I wish I was as skinny as I was when I thought I was fat!”. Having always been surrounded by negative influences over weight and body image I did grow up insecure about my looks, I still am, but this is the first time in my life I feel I have a reason to be.

A mixture of my new ‘mum bod’ and a lot of emotional eating (of course not the healthy stuff) has ruined my previously athletic and petite physique and created an extra chin, spare tyre, inner leg chafe and unbuttoned jeans hidden beneath a baggy jumper! I’ve not had enough time to ’embrace’ the change to my body and I’m not sure I ever will, at least not in my current state of mind.

Being a new mum and just about to go back to work full time, I get minimal chances to exercise so my diet is the only factor I can change – Abs are made in the kitchen after all!

So here we go, a real mission: losing weight.

Diets and weight loss have been around forever, people lose weight every day and there are millions of how-to’s at arms reach, so why is it so damn hard to do? My answer for now is I’m too unorganised – it’s not possible for me to adjust my diet correctly without the correct preparation.

I live in the UK. Our government appears to promote healthy eating and insists calories contents are clearly printed on menus and on food products in stores, yet if I’m out and about and want a ‘diet friendly’ snack or meal, most of the time I’m not going to find one. Unless you go to the supermarket and buy some fruit for your lunch, or they sell a ready made chicken salad without all the rubbish added in there, you’re probably going to end up with a very calorific meal or high fat/high carb sandwich or wrap. Not only do you get your sandwich, but the ‘meal deal’ will draw you in and you end up with a packet of crisps and a bottle of diet coke to wash it down. OK, you decide not to go into a supermarket to buy your lunch, what other options are there?

Bakery – high fat pasties, pizza slices, cakes? Fish and chip shop – deep fried everything and more? Fast-food restaurants – need I say more?

Where I live it just seems impossible to stick to a diet unless you’ve taken lunch out with you! Breakfast and dinner would have the same outcome too – so for the days where I have a busy morning and don’t get a chance to make breakfast, you bet I’ll end up with something deep fried or full of saturated fat – (unless I do the fruit option, but let be honest – that’s going to curb my hunger for a whole 5 minutes before my tummy is rumbling again!)

But it’s not just the case of making sure you have lunch prepared to take out with you, it’s what happens at home too. If I haven’t got all the ingredients to make my delicious and filling low fat chilli for example, it’s only too easy to choose a quick and usually poor alternative rather than heading out to the shop when you’ve had a long day and your tummy is growling!

So writing a shopping list of ingredients and actually going to the shop to get what you need on a regular basis is the first step. I’d then need to be pre-chopping what I can and storing it in the fridge in their own airtight containers ready to be thrown into a pan when the time comes, so if I’m in a rush there is no excuse. Add airtight containers to the shopping list! My dinner, which usually takes a bit longer to prepare and cook, let’s make a big batch to last the week – maybe I’ll have to freeze some portions, maybe I’ll batch cook some lunches too. What about snacks though? Chop up some cucumber and carrots into sticks and portion into some more airtight containers and store in the fridge. Wow, how long did all of that just take? And I have to do this weekly, maybe more often than that?

My conclusion is: preparation is the only way to lose weight.

Please comment and get in touch to share your views on the matter – maybe by the end of the day I would at least have got as far as the first step!

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