STEP 3 – Get Prepared, Get Prepped, Go!
This is the Third STEP in our simple 3-step plan to help you eat well, get slim & healthy and be free from dieting.
- STEP 1: PURGE – clean out the house & start fresh.
- STEP 2: SHOP & PLAN – This part is fun!
- STEP 3: COOKING ESSENTIALS – Get prepared, get prepped, Go!
Today, we are preparing for the big launch!
The date is set and the countdown is on.
There are a few things you can do in your home to make this transition easier.
First, I want to reiterate that it is best if you can devote 30 days minimum to the hardcore, eat-real, detox, and conquer.
Whachu Talkin’ ’bout Willis?
- 30 days of ONLY real food
- 30 days of no processed foods
- 30 days of no eating casseroles, meals or potlucks that are not real food based.
- 30 days of no sugar. None. Nada. Zilch.
- AND, if you have it in you, avoid restaurants like the plague.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT EATING OUT
If you can stay out of dining institutions for 30 days that would be fantastic.
I think that we are all carrying extra 5-10 pounds directly contributed to our waistlines by restaurants. Really. I do. If we stop eating out (even if you only eat out once a week) it’s amazing how much weight will just disappear. Most restaurants are not geared toward organic lifestyles or pastured meats. There are some, but not most. The typical restaurant chain serves food loaded with additives and preservatives.
THE CRAZY CIRCLE
Have you heard about the binge/ splurge ‘Crazy Circle?’ Here is how it usually goes:
We decide to get healthy. It begins first thing Monday morning. We eat clean. We eat real. We are rockstars. By Friday we’ve lost 3 pounds and are feeling like we deserve a party. We treat ourselves to a night out – have a couple of drinks and a burrito as big as our heads. The effect of all this wining, dining and salt takes 2-3 days to kick in. We bloat. We swell. We gain 4 pounds and in less than a week we are back where we started (or up a pound) – and we spend the next week trying to get rid of the extra weight again.
Then we lose the weight and we go out for another burrito.
If you must eat out – Here are some tips:
- Drink lots of water. You’ll be less hungry and get fuller faster.
- Try to stick with real foods (steamed veggies, plain baked potatoes, meat).
- Have a salad for your meal and get the dressing on the side (or just use oil & vinegar).
- Don’t eat it all. Split your dinner with someone or just take half of it home.
- Pack your own.
If you have enough renegade in ya’, you’ll be able to avoid restaurant food. I do it all the time. It’s not that hard. I either eat before we go out or take a sack dinner with me. While everyone else at Chi Chi’s eats their burritos, I sip wine and munch on carrot sticks and fresh bread. I may not be eating a burrito, but I won’t be trying to lose 4 pounds next week either.
You’ll love yourself for it in the end.
Once you are past the first 30 days you will be sold out for a changed life. The difference in your body, energy, and pants will be enough motivation to keep you going.
I am no longer tempted at potlucks, restaurants or friend’s homes. I don’t eat buffalo dips, processed chips or most casseroles. They no longer appeal to me and ugh – I’ll probably be sick later if I eat it.
NAVIGATING THE STORM
TIP #1: Parties, Potlucks & Eating Out
When attending social gatherings, look for the real food. Most of the time there is a veggie tray fruit bowl or a meat and cheese tray to snack from at gatherings. I avoid restaurants like crazy, but if I do eat out it is usually a place that uses real ingredients and doesn’t make me sick. Yes, restaurant food usually makes me feel terrible.
TIP #2: Take Something Awesome
Another tip staying true to your real food plan is to always bring a dish you love (that is made with real food) when you go to picnics, potlucks or homes for meals. If I bring a bowl of hot spinach dip (recipe here) and some homemade flatbread (recipe here) – I don’t have any trouble avoiding whatever else happens to be sitting out for grazing.
I should insert a warning here. If you take some of your fresh bread, you may want to hide it or take enough for the entire room. When it is discovered, it will be devoured.
TIP #3: Meal Planning
If you fail to plan you plan to fail.
This is remarkably true when it comes to eating.
Have a plan for breakfast lunch and dinner each day. Be sure the meat is thawed, the bread is rising on the counter and the veggies are in the fridge (or garden).
Having a garden helps last minute people (like me) survive. I often don’t know what I am going to make for dinner until that day. As long as the meat is thawed – I can fudge the rest. 3 seasons of the year I have a garden which provides some sort of side dish. Last night we had steaks for dinner. I needed a couple of side dishes. I went out to the garden to ‘shop.’
The asparagus spears are coming up like mad and we have plenty of spinach. For dinner, we had grilled steaks, roasted fresh asparagus, and a spinach salad with hot bacon dressing. I also baked a loaf of refrigerator bread.
TIP #4: Meal Prepping!
I am not a meal prepper, but I do like to plan ahead.
There are a couple of things you can do to make dinner easier to get on the table.
Think through what you will be eating for the next 3 days.
If you plan to eat ham, bacon, and sausage for breakfast, go get them out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge. It is miserable trying to cook a frozen ham at 7:00 in the morning when you are in a hurry. If you are having pork roast or steaks this week – move them to the fridge.
I usually take one afternoon and spend a couple of hours prepping food to eat that week. In my house, this would be a day when I am home. As I prepare dinner for that night I will make a few other things to eat throughout the week.
- Bake scones & biscuits.
- Make a batch of flatbread.
- Make some refrigerator dough.
- Hard boil some eggs.
- Make some croutons.
- Fry some ham.
- Wash the leafy greens.
- Make a couple different salad dressings. (Here are some good ones: Lemon Vinaigrette, Hot Bacon Dressing, Homemade Ranch, Cilantro Lime Dressing)
- Slice some veggies & bag them.
This will set you up for success.
With a nice stock of premade food, you will not end up eating a granola bar or bowl of cereal on busy mornings (by the way – you should have thrown those out). On busy mornings you can have a boiled egg and a slice of fried ham for breakfast. If you have no time to make a lunch you can grab a bag of lettuce, some sliced veggies, protein, and a jar of salad dressing.
Cook once & Eat for a Week
It is always easier to make one giant dish and eat on that for several days. If you have a pork butt or a roast or a leg of venison you can simply whip up a couple of sides each night to go with it and dinner is done for a week.
Be sure to check out my “Cook Once Eat For a Week” series (links above) for more on this & all my favorite recipes.
TIP #5: Food to Go
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the house to run a couple errands WITHOUT FOOD. I think to myself, “I’m not hungry. I’ll be fine. I’ll eat when I get home.”
Fast forward 4 hours – I’m still not home and I’m starving and I end up standing in a gas station reading food labels trying to figure out which one won’t kill me.
Travel with food – keep a cooler and a box of quick grab snacks in your car all the time: berries, dried fruit, nuts, seeds dehydrated fruits, etc.
TIP #6: Freezer Meals
If I am making a batch of soup, lasagna, biscuits, scones, pizza crusts, flatbread or other freezer-friendly food I double it. Shove the extra in the freezer & you will always have something to eat.
On those miserable, hairy weeks when you haven’t even had time to wash your hair – keep meals simple.
Here are my quick Go-To Meals when I can’t cook:
- Get lasagna out of the freezer (I always cook double and freeze extra for times like this).
- Get soup out of the freezer (Yup, I double these too: beef stew, Chili, and soups).
- Make breakfast for dinner. Eggs are fast.
- Have a Parisian Picnic (sliced salami, cheese, grapes, olives, apple slices, pineapple, carrot sticks, hard boiled eggs, hummus, fresh bread, etc).
For 23 more fast-easy meals go here.
It’s Go Time!
You are going to get healthy. You are going to lose weight. Your jeans are going to fit better. You are going to feel better.
AND you get to eat all that you want – as long as it’s real food!
This isn’t hard.
You Got This!