How To Use Meal Prep Effectively For Weight Loss04.06.20
You’ve decided that enough is enough. You are ready to take the leap and lose weight.
‘What do I need?’ you ask yourself.
Gym membership, check.
New gym clothes, check.
Activity tracking super smartwatch, check.
Meal Prep, check.
But wait. Now that I am prepared, what do I do?
This is an all too common challenge for anyone looking to achieve weight loss. Especially if you are new or unfamiliar with such a journey. Buying the right equipment and food alone may not bring about the best results.
In this case, as is with many journeys in life, maximising the effectiveness of the tools you have is key to success. In this instance, I am going to focus on one of the most important tools for weight-loss – food.
Many of you reading this blog will fall into two categories.
- You’re thinking about using meal prep for weight loss
- You already have a meal prep for weight loss package and want to know how to maximise its benefit.
If you fall into either of these categories, keep reading. I will give you the information you need to get the most out of every meal. The result? A vastly improved chance of you achieving your weight and fat loss goals. Almost all of the tips in this article are extremely easy to implement and can be tweaked for your individual circumstance.
The hard part of eating healthy
One of the hardest parts of weight loss is making sure you’re eating the right healthy meals. The issue with healthy meals is there is usually a higher level of preparation and time commitment needed to create something which tastes half-decent.
That is why you are looking at, or already have started, using a meal prep for weight loss service.
Maybe you don’t have the time or inclination to cook or prep at home. Or, the convenience factor of receiving the right meals to your chosen address is attractive. Deciding to use a meal prep company involves little to no risk and will help you achieve your goal.
How to eat your Meal Prep
It seems like a silly question to ask yourself. But how you eat your meal prep could give you an edge when it comes to weight loss progress.
Have you ever eaten a meal so quickly that you’re still hungry after the event? I know I have!
However, have you ever noticed that eating more slowly helps you feel fuller for longer?
Research suggests that chewing your food more and eating slowly can have a positive effect on your weight loss.
The time it takes for your body to recognise the change between hunger and fullness takes around 20 minutes. If you are a fast eater, the chance of craving more snacks (and therefore more calories) is a realistic scenario.
By slowing down the process of eating your food, it gives your body the chance to make the transition between feeling hungry and feeling full without the extra calories.
Imagine on average you ate 50 calories less per meal because you ate slowly and were not tempted by extra snacks?
Let’s look at the numbers.
50 calories per meal
3 meals per day
7 days per week
= 1050 calories fewer calories per week.
If you are in a calorie deficit, that’s just over a pound of fat loss over a month. All because you ate more slowly.
What you eat = how you look
Some people say you are what you eat. Now, although not strictly true, when it comes to weight gain and loss, what you eat generally leads to how you look. Let me explain.
There are two categories of foods, calorie-dense and nutrient-dense. This is important to understand. Why?
Finding the balance between the two will undoubtedly set the stage for weight loss success. Notice how I said balance here as opposed to cutting out one category over the other.
Nutrient-dense foods have fewer calories per gram of weight compared to their calorie-dense counterparts. Let’s look at a quick example that shows the difference between a calorie-dense and nutrient-dense food.
A standard mars bar weighs 58g and contains 229 calories.
60g of broccoli contains around 90% fewer calories at 20.
Broccoli contains a number of vitamins and minerals that help maintain healthy function while the mars bar stimulates the senses and is what we call hyper-palatable (moreish!).
Is either of these better or worse than the other? Not necessarily. One stimulates the body. The other, our cravings for hyper-palatable foods.
Your meal prep for weight loss is filled with nutrient-dense ingredients. This means you get a bigger meal in volume compared to your lunchtime sandwich.
It seems like a straightforward point. However, make sure you eat your meal prep meals before deciding whether to eat anything else.
And don’t forget to eat your meal sloooowly.
When to eat your meal prep
For those of you who may or may not know, there has been much debate over meal timing and whether there is a ‘perfect time’ to eat your meals.
In my anecdotal experience. When your meals should and shouldn’t be eaten will depend on various factors.
Although I am a fan of a more ‘optimal’ meal timing schedule for my clients, I understand that rigorously following meal timing to the minute is not always possible. Where meal timing ‘perfection’ is just not possible, there are a few questions that I ask before setting out an individual’s meal schedule.
Something to note here. The potential benefits of ‘optimal’ meal timing versus a more ‘imperfect’ schedule are extremely small. Although it’s always good to be as optimal as possible if you find yourself changing your timings because (let’s face it) life gets in the way, then do not worry.
Take a look and write down your answers. From there you can see where your meals will go for best results.
- Do you like eating during your morning routine?
- Are you likely to feel more hunger if you miss breakfast earlier in the day?
- Are you likely to snack on processed foods if you miss a meal?
- Do you feel sluggish mid-afternoon?
- Do you struggle to sleep?
- How long is your lunch break?
- Does your training suffer if you don’t eat before your workout?
When you eat your meals will be entirely dependent on where you eat them. Remember, the key to sustained weight loss is consistency.
Meal timing shouldn’t dictate your daily routine. However, this doesn’t stop you from being flexible and not getting demotivated.
You are much more likely to fall off the meal prep for weight-loss wagon with little motivation.
The how, what and when for weight loss
You see, the smallest tweaks in the how, what, and when of utilising meal prep can have a positive effect on your weight loss.
It may seem like a crazy concept, but how fast or slow you eat will have a bearing on whether you lose, maintain or gain weight.
What you eat. Again, if you have already engaged in the services of a meal prep company, this may seem like sucking eggs. But remember, it’s not until you actually eat your meals that you can reap the health rewards.
Then we have timing. Yes, there is a more optimal daily eating schedule. But, how this implements into your daily routine can often bring challenges that leave you demotivated. Understanding how your day looks and more importantly how you feel will allow you to find the right time to eat. This means a more consistent and successful journey to weight loss success.