FORGET THE RIGID MEAL PLANNING!
Wait….WHAT?!? Did I really just say that? I sure did! Now, I’m not saying that meal planning/prep is a bad thing or to do away with it. What I am saying is that it won’t always be perfect, you may slip up, get busy, etc. and that is OK. Realize this, adjust accordingly (mentally and physically), and you can still reach your goals!
Look at almost any transformation, and you’ll consistently see diet listed as the hardest thing for most people to master. It’s not because they don’t know what to eat, or when to eat. It’s because it is often difficult to digest all the information being thrown at them from all kinds of different sources. So, my rule of thumb and general advice is as follows:
Unless you’re an elite or competitive athlete who has to make weight for an event or competition, or is required to perform at a peak physical level at all times, missing a meal here or there WILL NOT BE the end of your long-term changes. Focus on establishing habits you can maintain as a LIFE|STYLE. No one ever got fat by enjoying 1 or 2 meals per week that were outside of their healthy meal plan; they fell out of shape when those 1 or 2 bad meals per week turned into 1 or 2 per day. The lesson here: contain the fire.
As long as you stay active, sticking to your fitness routine as much as possible, and are aware of your daily food choices, you have the mindset it takes to reach your goals. Simply being aware that food is a choice is a huge improvement over most people’s mindset. Don’t mistake feeling guilty all the time for awareness. Given how long it takes to transform a body, I guarantee that unexpected circumstances will throw a wrench in your dietary path here and there.
More often than not, these wrenches will come in the familiar form of friends and family. Should this make them the enemy? Not if you want to enjoy your life, or have actual people (as opposed to online avatars) around to compliment you on your post-transformation body. The key is to reframe the issue. Realize that the act of enjoying food in good company is good for you psychologically. It’s nourishment for your spirit, and your spirit is the motor that will ultimately get you to the end of a transformation.
If you know you’re going to a birthday party Saturday evening, do you best to follow your diet leading up to that day, and then enjoy some goodies in moderation. That’s right: enjoy them. It’s just one meal and one day. Tomorrow is a new day with new choices. Repeat those two sentences as often as necessary.