It’s not an uncommon goal to work towards weight loss in the new year, but it can often be difficult to determine a good place to start that will allow your body to make the changes you’re hoping to see without sacrificing your health. Sometimes it’s the habits you’ve been following for years that may be to blame for a more difficult time losing weight, so identifying those which may be impeding on your success can make all the difference in achieving results while continuing to nourish your body.
We spoke with Dr. Gretchen San Miguel, MD and Chief Medical Officer for Medi-Weightloss to assess the biggest habit you should work to kick in the new year in order to lose weight with ease, and with her advice, you’ll see healthy changes in your body in no time.
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The Habit: Eating with No Planning
You may be used to grabbing a snack or meal whenever the familiar hunger pangs hit, but San Miguel warns that failing to plan your upcoming meals or consider the nutrients going into your cooking can make it that much harder to lose weight and keep it off. “It is difficult to meet weight loss goals without a plan that will help you stay on track,” she explains, noting that meal prep and planning can help to both add ease into your week surrounding eating, while also increasing the likelihood that you continue to prepare dishes that will ultimately support your goals.
Kicking your habit of throwing together meals on the fly will create an intentionality around eating, making it easier to purposefully work towards weight loss by crafting dishes that are nutrient dense and filling so you can see results without depriving yourself. “By being more structured and setting up a plan, you will learn more about portion control, eat healthier, save time and money, and avoid wasting food,” explains San Miguel.
Not only this, but putting more thought into meal prep will allow you to have healthy meals on hand whenever you become hungry, reducing your risk of reaching for calorie dense snacks to satiate your cravings while you cook. “The key is choosing recipes that can be easily reheated and stay fresh for a few days,” she adds.
If you’re still not sold on meal prepping, San Miguel offers a breakdown of essential steps to take which can make cooking that much easier, reducing your time in the kitchen while increasing the likelihood of healthy weight loss. “Many people opt to make their food on Sunday and use some nifty food storage containers to keep their food fresh for anywhere from 3-7 days,” she suggests.
As for what to prioritize when crafting your meals, fresh fruits and veggies, as well as lean protein are some of the most important to include in your dishes. Purchasing fresh produce the day you plan on cooking it will ensure great taste throughout the week, and prepping your veggies for specific recipes once you get home from the store can cut down on the overall time you spend cooking, making both weight loss and healthy eating as easy as breathing.
While it may initially be an adjustment to ditch your traditional methods of cooking in favor of a more planned out approach, this will ultimately set you up for healthy and sustainable results that don’t require you to cut out entire food groups or dramatically deprive your body of foods you love. Meal prepping, once you get the hang of it, will ensure that each meal you have on hand will be packed with the nutrients needed to see results, while also taking much of the guesswork out of weight loss so you can achieve significant changes over time.