For many of us, the desire to eat healthier always seems to end in some sort of ambivalent tug of war. When we first set out on a new health kick, we start with a big burst of motivation and it all seems so easy. We tell our friends that we're going to be eating healthy foods from now on! We then confidently head to the grocery store and come back with bags full of fresh vegetables and lean protein. Finally, we banish fast food from our lives once and for all. But then, somewhere along the way our self-motivation begins to deflate. Our willpower starts to wane and we slump back into our old, unhealthy habits.
Why you can't rely on willpower alone.
So why is it that no matter how hard we try, we seem to always fall back into the same old patterns? One reason is that we seem to overestimate how much willpower and self-motivation we can maintain in the long run. Our ability to remain disciplined and motivated tends to only work in the beginning. When we rely solely on willpower, we inevitably fail. We also underestimate the power of junk food and the fact that we are biologically designed to seek out sweet foods. We crave them when we're stressed and they're literally everywhere we go.
The sad reality is that the junk foods being made today are more easily accessible than ever. This means that if we don't have a solid strategy for healthy eating, these junk foods will slowly slither their way back into our shopping carts and homes. Then, before we know it, we've yet again fallen back into our unhealthy eating habits. One strategy that I've found to be a life saver is a weekly meal planner. With a weekly meal planner you can ensure that healthy whole foods get into you cart and junk foods stay out. Here are four reasons you need a weekly meal planner:
1. Encourage healthy eating
With a weekly meal planner you give yourself the opportunity to put intention and thought into what you put in your body. Your body is your vehicle for life and it's literally made from the foods you put in it. So, take a moment once a week and think, "what do I want my body and brain to be made of?" Do you want to nourish them and make them resilient against disease? Or do you want to burden them with toxins and sugary foods that cause unhealthy levels of body fat to accumulate?
2. Reduce waste
Since every food item on your weekly meal planner will have a purpose, you'll start to notice that the amount of food you waste and that goes bad will drop drastically. The more you use your meal planner, the more you'll discover how much food you actually need in a week. Eventually, you'll get to the point where the day you completely run out of food is the day that you make your new weekly meal plan.
3. Make your life easier
It's the end of a long day, you're tired and your stomach is growling. If you're in this scenario and you have to think, "what should I eat?" you've just set yourself up for unhealthy eating. The more tired and stressed out you are, the more likely you are to stop in at a fast food restaurant or add a tub of ice cream into your cart while shopping. By knowing exactly what you are going to eat during the week and when, you no longer have the stress of choosing what to eat. You already have the ingredients and meal plan made ahead of time. This will dramatically increase your odds for healthful eating—even during stressful times.
4. Save money
A weekly meal planner can help you save money by reducing the amount of food you waste. Also, since you're laying out all the ingredients you will need, you'll be able to more accurately set and stick to your food budget.
Don't let your overzealous ego trick you into thinking that willpower is all that you need to eat healthier. If you're tired of constantly disappointing yourself with unhealthy food choices—or if you want to lose that extra weight once and for all—you need to plan ahead. It's unfortunate that our sugar-craving biology will turn against us. But with the use of a weekly meal planner, you can save yourself from yourself. By having a plan and setting intentions around what you are going to eat, you give yourself support for when you you fall off the wagon. Just remember that healthful eating isn't something you achieve but rather a constant practice. The more you do it, the better you get, and the easier it becomes.
If you would like to start using this transformative wellness tip, be sure to download my free weekly meal planner.