Mental and Physical Preparation

Okay, the title of the blog post is about preparation.  If preparation is the key to weight loss success it took me 10 years to prepare for success!  The entire time I was overweight I thought about losing weight and tried a lot of different things, but I never lost weight.  When I joined Weight Watchers, I went in with the best of intentions, but quickly lost hope and interest.  When different situations arose where food was readily available, I fell right back into my old habits.  If I was driving in the car, and I felt hungry, I would just feel compelled to pull into the drive thru and eat something.  Without a list at the grocery store, I’d purchase my favorite foods, sometimes without thinking about it.  Back then, I never thought about weight loss in terms of preparation.

Once I started my Fit to the Finish plan, I realized that being prepared for different situations that arise is vital to successful weight loss and maintenance.  We prepare for so many different things in our lives, from school tests to office projects and everything in between.  We are currently preparing for some home projects, so while I should be prepping for painting, instead I’m writing this blog!  Preparing for success in weight loss isn’t that hard, and can have lots of benefits.

I recommend thinking about weight loss preparation because there are so many different times that unusual circumstances arise.  Life isn’t static.  As I was losing 150 pounds, our family celebrated many holidays and experienced many different stressful situations.  I prepared for those holidays, situations and life events by having a plan in place to deal with unusual happenings.  Whereas I previously went to Weight Watchers, or tried other diets, just hoping things would be different – that last time – I had a plan.

I always carried healthy snacks in the car with me, so if I was hungry, I had an alternative to fast food.  When I went grocery shopping, I took the time to plan and make a detailed list that helped me avoid impulse purchases.  Holidays and special occasions required dedicated planning and preparation both physically and emotionally.  I knew that cake would be around, and with the cake was often ice cream.  I took time to think about my choices before the event happened, so that when the party was in full swing, I had full control over my choices.  The mental preparation worked almost all the time!

If you take the time to prepare your responses to food choices before the situation arises, you will be surprised how much more success you will have in handling those events that come up.  The few minutes you spend in grabbing some snacks for the car trip may save you hundreds, if not thousands of calories!  And each calorie you save is one less you have to burn off later. 

Mental and physical preparation – what do you think about it?  Diane

34 thoughts on “Mental and Physical Preparation

  1. Susan says:

    I think you are right losing weight does take mental and physical preparation. Mental preparation would be deciding how your going to lose the weight, wether your going to count calories, if your going to use a low fat or low carb diet, or go to weight watchers etc lots of options. Also, getting support from family and friends is part of prep.
    Physical prep could be deciding what kind of exercise your going to do and having the right foods on hand, plus clothes and shoes to exercise in that you are comfortable in. Also helps to have a easy to follow and cook from cookbook.
    Also, remember change takes time and there is no substitue for it!

  2. Miz says:

    YES YES YES!!
    Id use this all the time with clients mainly because Id come to rely upon it so much for myself.

    With food.
    with relationships
    with tests
    with EVERYTHING IN LIFE.

  3. Roxie says:

    Planning and making the decision when it’s EASY is the key to long term success. As “dull” as it sounds, meal planning and preparation goes a long way to shore up “willpower”. Looking ahead at a restaurant menu and writing down choices before one is faced with the buffet line makes staying the healthy course much easier. Make decisions when they are easy to make and not when they are hard! Plan! Plan! Plan!

  4. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    It’s impossible to succeed at almost anything without it. It’s definitely how I’ve ever been able to be healthy. That, and consistency. LOVE this, as I’ve just had to overcome a slip up regarding this very thing!

  5. marsial2010 says:

    Excellent post. I have nothing to add except that I have very recently (as I’ve posted) been stuck at a weight-loss plateau. For at least a couple of weeks I was commenting on others’ posts that I needed to spend some time just thinking (or meditating) about how to recommit to my routines. What I was saying is that I had to mentally prepare myself for the next 10 or 20 pounds, and review what I needed to do to for success. I can see many obstacles popping up throughout the rest of the year, but I am planning for them. In fact, I think I’m going to actually draw up a written list of those anticipated difficult moments and list how I plan to circumvent them. Thanks for reminding me, Diane.

  6. kwithme says:

    Planning is key. People ask how I have lost the weight and one of the reasons for my success was that first I changed what I ate, THEN I changed how much. I spent 6 months cleaning up my eating habits. I ate as much as I needed to not feel hungry as long as it no HFCS, no Transfat, or other chemicals. When I was used to those tastes and I finally said, “you’d think all these changes would add up to some weight loss”, I cut my portions. It took a couple of weeks but after tweaking meals and snacks, I had a very workable plan to lose and maintained a 2 lb a week loss for about 6 months. So, instead of instantly switching from burgers and pasta to salads, I just had a half sandwich or serving of all the same things I had been eating all along. The change was less jarring and therefore easier to maintain.

  7. vickie says:

    I carried NO cash for a long time (years) and to this day, still leave my purse in the trunk of my car. I remember WHY it is there, and that helps. My go-to emergency food (when I am out) is a single serve of low fat, plain greek yogurt. I keep walnuts in the trunk of my car to add to it (and spoons).

    when you
    fail to have a plan
    you plan to fail

  8. Desert Agave says:

    Oh, I agree, both kinds of preparation are so important. I have a party coming up this weekend that I’m hosting, and I’ve realized that in order to make sure I’m successful, I need to mentally prepare for it, take some time to plan in advance what and how much I’ll have to eat and how I’ll deal with the leftovers.

  9. Diane says:

    Absolutely agree with you on preparation ! It saves many a disaster , for everyone ! With weight loss it takes a little re-training and staying focused on the goal as well as the reality that your body is going to just plain need fuel , hydration and activity. Know what your options are, and if necessary make your own options ( carry a healthy snack, make a healthy dish to pass) And if you go overboard, compensate through the next few meals with a little less and moving a little more.

  10. Leah says:

    I was just thinking about this topic just last night. These past two days I was faced with situations where I didn’t plan properly and neither day went well at all.

    I have learned/am learning preparation is vital.

  11. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    I agree! I do this when I’m going out to eat. I’ll review the menu ahead of time and decide on a healthy option. I’m much more likely to eat something healthy if it’s already in my mind than if I just show up and go with what I feel at the time.

  12. Jane says:

    Preparation is key for me, because when it comes to food I am often impulsive. Planning for restaurant eating is also a must, and many of them now have their menus online.

    I have also joined many weight loss programs over the years, and after initial succes in some (or no success in others), I always went back to my old habits. I think that I expected the program itself to take care of me and somehow magically produce a weight loss. I have learned that no matter how many programs we join, we still have to do the work and the planning. Great post, Diane!

  13. Shanilie says:

    Oh that is so true. You need the mental preparation I find to even start the physical sometimes. It is a choice moment by moment each day.

    I hope to be more organized with preparing healthy snacks ahead of time and preparing and washing all of my produce before it goes to waste.

  14. Shawnee says:

    I think it is good. I also think its good to be somewhat hypersensative about our emotions and how they might contribute to how we eat. I am still learning to do some of these things myself.

  15. julie says:

    My important prep work is bringing food for lunch, because that’s the only meal I’m really tempted to eat out, and restaurant food is to be avoided, in general, except for special occasions. It also seems to be important for me to have things at home that I can have ready quickly, such as pre-made beans and salsa that can make a quick tortilla, of soup liquid with barley that just needs some heat and veggies, other things that don’t take much time/thought but are there to prevent the alternative.

  16. Lisa Eirene says:

    I learned the hard way to always have healthy snacks in the car too. It makes a huge difference knowing I have healthy snacks. I usually don’t eat them but they prevent me from stopping for bad food.

  17. Tiff says:

    Great suggestions! I need to learn how to prepare more mentally because I know that would save me a lot more times of being upset with myself about poor choices I make- thanks!

  18. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    I think it is also important to plan to be flexible. I know some people who get put in a surprise situation and refuse to eat anything at all because it wasn’t their planned food and go for hours without eating. Rather than trying to find something to fuel their bodies with, they just shut down the thought process completely.

  19. fittingbackin says:

    I think it’s necessary for me – I have to know my triggers and plan ahead. It’s just like when i quit smoking – you don’t want to be caught off guard without a backup plan!

  20. Little Bee says:

    I agree. Preparation is key. I am the poster child for that – if I do not prepare, then I fail. As I have the last weeks, many days. Starting now, I will make a mental plan what to do when x (food, urgent stuff in the way of exercise) happens. And I’ll follow Vickie’s advice of not carrying more money than absolutely needed and instead bringing healthy food with me.

  21. LovesCatsinCA says:

    “I always carried healthy snacks in the car with me, so if I was hungry, I had an alternative to fast food.” VERY WISE…

    My friends at work joke that if there were a disaster, they’d come to my desk first because I have my “stash” of energy bars, jerky, small bags of pretzels… I too carry what “Hungry Girl” Lisa Lillien calls “emergency snacks” so I neither get overly ravenous nor eat a snack that’s over around 200 calories.

    Although I probably will always deal with a tendency to eat under stress, albeit on a smaller scale than before, one thing I have changed is that I now use exercise to blow off adrenaline/stress instead–at least most of the time. Taking a walk not only burns rather than adding calories, but the fresh air and taking deep breaths helps with stress a lot better.

  22. 'Drea says:

    I do the same thing with the healthier snacks. If I’m running errands and I know that I’m going to be out for a while, I take snacks with me so I’m not tempted to buy something out of hunger.

    I also make sure that I have water with me.

  23. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Yes, preparation is so important to lose weight and to maintain your weight. I use my day planner and a big “planning calendar” to plan exercise, meals, etc. It also gives me a chance to see how many “social events” we have going on so that I can plan accordingly. This week we already had two birthdays and a big birthday party on Saturday. Just seeing it on the calendar was a good reminder that I shouldn’t have a huge piece of cake at each… 🙂

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