How to Stick to Your Meal Plan
Getting started isn’t necessarily the hardest part of eating healthy……it’s sticking to your new meal plan that really takes some practice. Over time, you’ll adjust to your new eating habits and making healthier decisions will become easier; however, in the beginning, it will be tempting to stick to your old ways and not follow your new meal plan. That’s why we’re sharing some simple tips to help you stick to your new meal plan, so you can build a solid nutritional foundation to help you work toward your fitness goals.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals for your eating habits is the key to being able to stick to a new meal plan. Often, people try to limit their food intake too much by heavily restricting calories or removing entire food groups altogether, which is not something you can easily maintain. Instead, you should focus on setting realistic goals that help you achieve a well-balanced meal plan with plenty of nutrient-dense foods to nourish your body in addition to your workouts.
If you’re a member, head to your 9Round Member Portal now and visit the Nutrition tab to read the 9Round Nutrition Guidelines to learn more about balancing macronutrients and using food as fuel. Additionally, if you fill out your entire profile with your personal information, you can get a customized calorie goal and use the Meal Planner tool to find delicious recipes to help you stay on track.
Having some form of accountability will not only improve your chances of sticking to your meal plan, but also your self-confidence and satisfaction along the way. There are multiple ways to hold yourself accountable for a new meal plan, including tracking your eating habits with a food journal or mobile app.
Logging what you eat in a day is the only way to truly know how well you’re sticking to your meal plan and if you’re getting the right combination of macronutrients in each meal. Plus, if you sit down to track your meals before you eat them, it can help you become more aware of your portion sizes and help prevent you from overeating.
Additionally, one of the best ways to improve accountability is to find an accountability partner who can encourage you to stick to your meal plan. This person is there for you to provide motivation and, when you start to waver, they can encourage you to get back on track.
Plan Ahead for Special Outings
When you’re trying to stick to a new meal plan, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is going out to eat with friends and family, or attending social events where food is being catered. This is when it will be most tempting for you to cheat on your meal plan, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy dining out while sticking to your nutritional goals.
If you’re going out to a restaurant, try checking the menu ahead of time to pick what you’ll order. When you get there, don’t be afraid to ask your waiter to customize your meal to make it healthier—for example, asking them to swap out a loaded baked potato for roasted veggies or to cook your meal without butter.
Additionally, it’s common for restaurants to give you oversized portions, so keep this in mind. If you don’t have enough self-control to stop mid-meal, ask for a box to store extra food before you start eating, so you aren’t tempted to overindulge.
If you’re attending a potluck-style event where people are bringing a dish to share, then you can bring something that you know is healthy for you to enjoy. Additionally, when sifting through others’ dishes or navigating food at a catered event, you can plan out your plate to include more of the lean protein and veggie options while avoiding the heavier, calorie-loaded casseroles and dishes.
Sticking to a healthy meal plan on the go can be difficult, especially when the most convenient option for grabbing a meal is a fast-food restaurant. Instead of trying to find something while you’re out, you can meal prep ahead of time to ensure you have a healthy, well-balanced meal waiting for you.
When planning your meals for the week, think about the times when it’s most difficult for you to stick to your healthy eating plan. These are the meals you want to focus on when prepping for the week. If going out for lunch every day is what knocks you off track, then prep your lunches ahead of time to stop this unhealthy habit; or maybe you’re always tempted to grab fast food for dinner on your way home. In this case, you would want to prep your dinners ahead of time.
Pro Tip: You can prepare oven dishes ahead of time and store them in the fridge until you get home; then, just pop the prepared dish into the oven and your dinner will be ready in no time! Additionally, take advantage of crockpot meals that you can throw together in the morning and serve later that day.
There will inevitably be times when you fall off track, and that’s okay. Don’t be so consumed by the need to control your eating habits that you deprive yourself of everything you enjoy, which often leads to binge eating later. You can enjoy a night out with friends or celebrate a big accomplishment with a small treat here and there. And remember, there’s no need to beat yourself up over a small cheat meal or treat. Simply get back on track with your usual healthy routine, and all will be okay!