When I started my weightloss challenge (you can read a little about that here) I learned a lot about meal planning. We started out small, cutting out the bad, adding in the good, first went the soda and tea (which I can only drink with about 1lb of sugar in it) and I started drinking exclusively water. That was difficult for me, I didn't really like water. I craved the sweet stuff. So I used Mio to flavor the water and slowly weaned myself off of that. Drinking 3L of water or more became easy for me.
Next were foods: I cut out my massive amounts of carbs. I'm not a pasta eater but potatoes... I'll eat them just about any way you can make them. Breads were cakes, donuts, muffins, chips etc. I was taking in a massive amount of carbs and not nearly enough proteins. I started tracking my foods using MyFitnessPal and learned where I needed to make my changes. I started prepping my meals. Making most of my foods on Sunday for the week. I had smoothies for breakfast, chicken and veggies for lunch, healthy snacks, fish and veggies for dinner, etc. I lost 30 lbs with no real nutritional coaching. Then I hit a wall. I've been stuck.
So I paid for a nutrition consult with one of the trainers at one of my gyms (yeah, one of them... I have rotating memberships at 4, I'm insane) and we sat down and went through my meals day by day. We took my body fat, my goal size (not weight, I don't have a goal weight) and he put together a carb cycled plan for me. Not a "you eat this, this and this" plan but a "you need this much protein, this many carbs and this many fats each day" plan.
Turns out, I was not eating enough fat!! Funny how that works. I also learned I'm potassium deficient (I used to swell like a tick after ingesting too much sodium, potassium naturally counteracts that) so he gave me a recipe for a drink mixture (coconut water, a couple juices and water) to help me get in more potassium and fixed my swelling without cutting out the sodium my body NEEDED.
I stuck to his plan for 10 days straight, no deviation and lost about a pound A DAY! And then we went to Hawaii and that went right out the window. I gained back what I had lost, BUT I managed to sustain right where I was. So I know how to maintain, and I know what I need to do to lose, I just need to DO IT.
I spent like 4 hours the other night planning my meals for the next week. Then I spent about $120 at the grocery store yesterday getting supplies (for me and hubs, same meals, different proportions) and today I spent about 4 hours cooking meals for today, tomorrow and Tuesday and Wed. I'll make the rest of the weeks food on Wednesday. I'm using real recipes, not just plain baked chicken and steamed veggies. I was getting burnt out on the same stuff after 8 months of it.
So, let's see how this goes!