I love juicing. It’s seriously the easiest thing ever. Provided you have a good juicer, you don’t even have to cut anything up — you just shove it all right on in.
The only thing you have to do is wash your produce. But what’s funny is that I used to skip juicing because I didn’t feel like doing that. It was somehow too much effort to throw some fruits and vegetables in a colander and put them under the faucet. So instead, I would grab a granola bar or some cheese.
There’s nothing wrong with granola bars and cheese, of course, but I would have felt a lot more healthy had I juiced instead. I finally figured out that if I just washed everything ahead of time and put it in the fridge, ready to go, I would follow through and make my juice.
Prep work is one of the simplest things you can do to ensure your success. But in the chaotic and stressful lives we live we often overlook it.
Setting up your environment beforehand prevents you from falling into the habit of saying, “I don’t feel like it.” And you definitely won’t feel like it, especially if you’re going 90-to-nothing. So you have to be prepared when you don’t.
Not only that, if you’re an emotional eater, you’ll reach for foods that satisfy the binge beast, rather than something healthy. And when it’s time for lunch or dinner, you won’t want to make the effort to make a healthy meal — you’ll reheat something or eat what’s left of your kids’ mac and cheese.
So here are a few prep-work strategies you can use to set yourself up for success:
- Wash your produce ahead of time, cut it up, and put it in the fridge for a healthy snack.
- Make a healthy soup or casserole big enough to last for a few days.
- Get a menu magnet for your refrigerator, and plan healthy meals for the week in advance.
- Lay out your workout clothes the night before.
- Sign up for a workout class or session with a trainer, and put it in your calendar.
- Look at the restaurant menu before you go, and pick the healthy entree you’ll order.
Planning ahead makes it a certainty that you’ll make better choices, and the more often you choose something healthy — rather than grabbing something crappy off the counter — the more small wins you will get. Small wins are really important, because they build on each other and give you exponential results.
Getting prepped also makes you feel organized, giving you a feeling of control that makes it far less likely that you’ll binge eat. And these kinds of simple actions are also very effective visual reminders of your commitment to being healthy.
Most importantly, taking control like this builds your confidence that you can actually make your own changes, instead of having to rely on a diet to tell you what to do. Taking control pulls you out of the dieting-failure downward spiral that erodes your confidence and keeps you stuck.
I know sometimes it feels like you’re never going to make any progress. It feels like you’re at the mercy of your day, being pulled back and forth between tasks, none of which have anything to do with you. And making these kinds of small changes seems futile, since they are so small.
But, trust me, even the tiniest steps count — all of them do. Envision them being a part of a huge mosaic you’re patterning over the course of your life; some won’t work out so well, but others will be a perfect fit. I like this visual better than the one that goes with dieting: constantly trying to sprint to the finish line, only to be tripped up midway and having to start all over again.
And speaking of doing everything for everyone else, do something for yourself for a change. Make the small effort it takes to prepare yourself for the week. In addition to all the other people you have to care for, care for yourself.
Because when you care for yourself and start loving yourself just the way you are, you’ll stop obsessing about having the perfect body. And that’s when it automatically shows up.