Whether your meals involve ordering takeout, choosing from a restaurant menu or cooking at home, waiting to answer the question “What’s for dinner tonight?” until the late afternoon is a recipe for overwhelm.
By day’s end it’s probably safe to say your decision making muscle is all tuckered out. And you probably want a quick and easy solution that doesn’t require complicated or time-consuming preparation.
That’s where your Food Protocol and your 24-hour in advance Food Plan come to your rescue. I’m all in on helping you keep your sanity and quit the overwhelm.
Your Food Protocol is your master list of what foods you will eat and beverages you will drink.
Your 24-hour in advance Food Plan is a simple description of each meal and snack, if you’re planning one, for the next day.
The foods listed on your Food Plan should be selected from your Food Protocol.
Your daily plan should only include foods you are willing to buy and/or prep in advance or order. Last minute shopping is fine as long as you’re not tempted to eat foods not already listed on your day’s plan.
Your Food Plan is your unique, personalized road map to weight loss success. It provides guide rails to help you stick to your weight loss intentions and do what you say you’re going to do.
Deciding in advance short circuits decision-making fatigue and quiets the indecision brain chatter that pops up when your brain debates all the possibilities.
How often do you plan in advance for any of your meals?
If the answer is never or hardly ever, I encourage you to implement the strategy I’m sharing in this post.
I recommend consistently planning what you will eat at least 24 hours in advance. And if that’s too challenging in the beginning, plan what you will eat for the day that very morning.
The magic of a 24-hour in advance Food Plan is that it ratchets down all the stress about what to eat. It allows your mind to glimpse what peace and freedom around food can feel like.
Some clients respond with frustration and resistance to the Food Plan tool.
They ask, “How do I know what I’ll want to eat later today, much less tomorrow?”
They might say, “That’s way too confining and rigid. I want to see what looks good, what I feel like eating, what I’m in the mood for.”
When I hear those reactions, my coaching ears perk up.
Resistance to trying something new to help achieve your goals is often a red flag signaling fear of feeling difficult or uncomfortable emotions that might arise just from the act of deciding in advance. From creating expectations.
In the It’s Never Too Late Weight Loss Coaching Program, we go to work dealing with all the uncomfortable emotions that arise when you learn to make decisions in advance and stick to them.
How do I know what I’ll want to eat tomorrow or, for that matter, throughout the week?
I plan in advance, often several days in advance. I also know, in advance of course, that I don’t want to be side-tracked by overwhelm or frustration or undermined by giving in to momentary whims.
AND I stick to my plan. I’ve got my own back.
I plan what I’m going to cook, when I’m going to shop and prep food and what I’m going to order when I eat out. I eliminate the possibility that a last minute mood or hankering will be the determining factor in what I eat.
My Food Plan keeps me focused on what’s next.
Activate the genius of your prefrontal cortex.
That’s the part of your brain that takes its executive responsibilities and management functions seriously.
It’s your super power that can predict outcomes and recognize cause and effect. It can imagine the future.
It knows how to plan in advance and get stuff done!
Find peace and freedom around food through advanced planning.
Yes, life happens!
Travel, celebrations, plans changing at the last minute, unanticipated circumstances crop up. But having a Food Plan decided in advance ups the chances that you’ll make reasonable choices despite the circumstances.
I also advise creating back-up Food Plans for travel, special events and various schedule demands made by different responsibilities and activities on your calendar.
While these alternate plans are not etched in stone, they are reliable, dependable guides to make what to eat that much easier.
Keep in mind that you are designing an approach to eating that is intended to teach you the habits of a healthier lifestyle to last a lifetime.
You are not creating a diet plan to ditch once you lose the weight.
Get started: Create your Food Protocol.
Make your list of the foods and beverages you will eat.
While it goes without saying that you should only put foods on this list you are willing to eat, as opposed to foods you think you ought to eat because you’re “dieting”, you can also include and note planned exceptions.
Your planned exception list should include all the treats, snacks, desserts and splurges you know you’ll want to eat, on occasion, in an intentional yet more limited way.
Don’t be afraid to include any food you love on your planned exceptions list.
While my first food principle is food for nourishment, food for the sheer pleasure of it is more intentionally consumed. It’s controlled and planned for in advance.
I’ve included onion rings, potato chips and ice cream on my exceptions list. And I look forward to enjoying them when planned for.
And I savor every bite when I do eat them.
Write down what you will REALISTICALLY eat in the next 24 hours.
Meet yourself where you are. Be HONEST with yourself. If you don’t like broccoli, don’t put it on your list.
Here’s the biggest problem I see when working with my clients: They don’t follow their plan. They say it’s too hard.
If it’s TOO HARD, you probably aren’t meeting yourself where you are.
You are creating your plan from an old diet mentality.
Your primary goal is to create a plan and stick to it.
Before you can successfully lose weight you have to learn how to do what you say you will do.
Make it easier to create your Food Protocol and and your Food Plan with coaching support.
You can make thoughtful food choices that enhance weight loss when you plan in advance. And you can strengthen those daily habits of thought and action which support your Food Protocol and Food Plan choices with coaching.
Take me up on my offer for a FREE Strategy Call so we discuss how you can create a Food Protocol and a 24 hour in advance Food Plan.
Schedule that FREE Strategy Call right here.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. A year from now, you will thank yourself. Big time!
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