Meal Prep and Weight Loss

Are women who prepare meals in advance healthier?

Are women who prepare meals in advance healthier than those who don’t?  I can speak from experience and say yes.  When I don’t cook at the beginning of the week, I come home tired and exhausted and tend to eat whatever I can grab from the refrigerator, usually a sandwich and maybe a snack.

If something salty is nearby, like chips, I may grab that, along with some water.  Next, I may drink a fruit smoothie I purchased from the store with a considerable amount of sugar before bedtime.  Fresh fruit would be better because there is not as much concentrated sugar.

Prepare Early

However, when I prepare essential food at the beginning of the week, I tend to eat healthier.  So, to have a healthy lifestyle, I must plan.  This way, I can portion out my meals for the rest of the week, pick them up and go.

You know the old saying, “Fail to plan, then plan to fail?” I think that applies in this situation.  If this is an area that you are struggling with, I have some tips that may be helpful to you.

A Few Ideas

First, plan what you will eat for the week in advance.  I started doing meal prep on Sunday.  Sometimes I cook a few meals and portion them out in containers to take to work for the week, or I prepare veggies for soups and stews by cutting them and then bagging and storing them until needed.

If I steam them later in the week, I chop them and put them in bags in the refrigerator.  Then, when I am ready, I add sauce, seasonings, or whatever I need to dress it up and prepare the meal.

 

Meal Prep Containers Meal Prep Containers

I utilize meal prep containers and store my lunch for the week.  Check out these meal prep containers.

You can easily roast potatoes and veggies and save them until needed.  Later, add them to stews or soups, wraps, or veggie bowls.

The Versatility of Beans

Try using a large pot of beans one day for chili, another day for burritos, added to rice or Quinoa, or added to soups and salads.  If you are creative, you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen trying to figure out what to make.  The beans become the base for the week of other meals.  I could go on and on with additional suggestions for this protein.  Did I mention that you can make bean dip, bean spread, and beans in sweets?

Lentils are the quickest and easiest legume to make if you have time constraints.  They are full of protein and fiber and can be used as they are or with rice.  I like them in Mexican soup, lentil and spinach soup, lentil tomato and spinach soup, or whatever combination you wish to use.  Canned beans with low sodium are another option for quick meals.  Curried Lentils are also quite tasty!

Breakfast, the Most Important Meal of the Day

I prepare 3 or 4 days’ worth of smoothies for breakfast, pour them into cups, and freeze them.  I take it out in the morning, let it start thawing, and it is ready to eat before I leave or when I get to work.  My other option for smoothies is to freeze the fruit for individual smoothies in baggies and, in the morning, blend the fruit and go.  This way, I have a variety for the week.

Breakfast Favorites

Another breakfast or dinner favorite is scrambled tofu with onion, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms, if I have them, and spinach or kale.  It’s an excellent way to get extra veggies in my diet.  I sometimes also add spinach or kale to my smoothies.

I make my healthy whole wheat waffle recipe and freeze them.  The preparation is quick, and the waffles cook quickly.  I prefer the brands that make four waffles at a time.  This waffle maker makes waffles on one side and pancakes on the other.  I love it because it reminds me of the one my mother used when I was a child.

Invest in a rice cooker

Rice cookers are perfect for brown rice, with more nutrients than white rice.  Brown rice is a healthier option.  I prefer Basmati or jasmine rice because of its flavorful and pleasant aroma.  Depending on where you shop, it may be harder to find in some stores.  Rice cookers allow you to put the ingredients in the device and return when it’s ready.

A Few Secrets

One nutritious grain that I discovered a few years ago is Quinoa.  This grain is not hard to cook.  It comes packed with protein.  I will write a whole blog post about it in the future.  It is so versatile, and you can cook it in various ways.  It is an excellent grain for meal prep.

I keep a bag of fresh Spinach and Kale at almost all times.  At times, I use spinach in salads.  When I eat sandwiches, I use spinach or kale instead of lettuce.  They are also tasty in smoothies and scrambled tofu.

Don’t Make it Complicated.

Please keep it simple.  I like the convenience, but I also want my food to be flavorful and healthy.  Many think one has to sacrifice taste to eat healthily, but that is not true.

Spending long hours in the kitchen is not an option for me.  On meal prep day, I do what is easy.  You don’t have to make all your weekly meals upfront, but there needs to be enough preparation so you don’t feel like working a second job when you come home.

The Rewards of Preparation

If you take a little time each week for meal prep, you will find that some of your bad eating habits will change.  You will be more conscious of what you are putting into your body and feel better about yourself for better care of your body.  Try it out next week and comment below on how things worked out.

 

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Emotional Life Support

Can we talk about emotional baggage?

When was the last time you visited the doctor to get a physical?  Do you remember?  When was the last time you went to see the dentist?  Is it in your records?  When was the last time you went to get your eyes checked?  Was it within the previous 12 months?

Now, when was the last time I got your hair done?  When was the last time you got a manicure or pedicure?  When was the last time you got your oil changed?  You probably have a sticker in the window of your car with that date.

Emotional Life Support

Alright, let’s move on.  When was the last time you got an emotional check-up?  Yes, that’s right.  When was the last time you read an inspirational self-help book, joined a support group, or went to see a counselor or therapist?  I know this post doesn’t apply to you.  It only applies to others because you’re perfectly fine.

Only people who have significant problems in life seek emotional help, but you’re okay, right?  Just pause for a second, and let’s talk.  Some women eat healthily, exercise, get plenty of rest, and are physically fit and attractive on the outside, but they’re on emotional life support.

Childhood and Adult Trauma

Many women have experienced years of emotional trauma during their childhood or adulthood.   They may suffer due to un-forgiveness, broken relationships, abuse, and grief that they have carried for years.

They spend considerable time fixing up the outside while neglecting the inside.  Many live in a house with plenty of curb appeal, but they’re falling apart on the inside.  

Women go year after year, blocking the deep emotional pains of the past.  They bury the emotions deep, blocking the memories further and further out of their minds thinking that they are gone forever, but they’re not.

The negative emotional feelings get suppressed, carefully hidden away while slipping out here and there through physical symptoms such as depression, lack of sleep, bad habits, and addictions.

These are not the habits like alcoholism but the good ones (so they think) of working hard (workaholism), extreme exercise, computer, phone, and Christian work addiction.

They pride themselves on the joy of knowing they are not like alcoholics or drug addicts.   But these hidden emotions sometimes surface in volcanic eruptions of anger, rage, depression, and mental or emotional health problems.

It has reached the point where many adults who function in day-to-day life have matured chronologically and physically but not emotionally or spiritually.

 Spiritual Maturity

You cannot be spiritually mature and emotionally unhealthy.  Many spiritual people are merely adult children or teenagers.  When many ignore emotional problems, thinking they cannot interfere with their lives.  But when you grow up with or experience any form of trauma or abuse, you adapt to it, and it becomes routine.

You get used to it, and it feels like home.  If you are a child, when it happens, you begin to look for what was familiar in childhood in your adult relationships.  Your responsibility now is to get help.  The past is not your responsibility, but you are entirely responsible for the present.

Where to Find Help

Where can you go to get help?  What do you do with all the emotional baggage you are carrying?   For many women who don’t have insurance or an excellent behavioral health plan, there seem to be limited options left of where to get help.  Here are some resources for coping with emotional baggage.   Here is support for those who may have limited options for paid counseling:

Journal

I started writing.  If you are not in tune with your feelings, you may get some journal prompts.  I bought workbooks and worked through them.  Writing is a free therapy session.  Instead of holding in your feelings, jot them down.

Buy a journal or spiral-bound notebook and start writing in it.  Don’t hold back; express all of your hurts, pain, and feelings.  Do this often.  Some make this a daily routine.

If you are afraid someone will find your book, try writing in an online journal such as penzu.com.  There are also accessible online journals you can try.  Penzu is a program I used.  There is a free version, and there are two upgraded versions you have to pay to use.   I used the free option.

Pastoral Counseling 

Some pastors will counsel without charge, and some will refer you to another resource.  Generally, you will have to pay a fee if they refer you to someone else.  If your Pastor has partnered with a counseling group, they may offer discount sessions.  Sometimes you need to get things out, and as you start processing stuff with your Pastor, you may begin figuring things out for yourself.  Finding a safe place to unload is helpful.  As you start using other resources and counsel, you will see that you will begin healing faster because you are not dependent on just one source.

Therapy

Some counselors offer sliding scale payments based on how much money you make.  Whatever the case may be, if you need it, get it.   It may be a licensed counselor, family therapist, Psychologist, or Psychiatrist, but get help.  Just know that not everyone offers a sliding scale.

Join a 12 Step Groups

I highly recommend 12 Step groups.  I also encourage you to join and participate in a “Step Study.” In these groups, you will have an intense study of the 12 steps and accountability as you go through them.

Sober Nation This site has a list of 12-step programs.  This website is an excellent resource.

WikipediaWikipedia has a list that includes other programs patterned after the 12 steps.

Celebrate RecoveryCR is a Christian-based 12-step program.  Check their website for a location near you.

S-anonS-anon is a 12-step program for those with a family member (often a spouse) who has a sex addiction.  Unfortunately, this has become an epidemic due to the ease of accessing pornography online.  It sweeps across all social and economic groups, cultures, and religions.  If you have a spouse or loved one suffering from an addiction, find help here.  Go to the “Newcomers” tab and find available groups.  There are also online groups.

Listening to Music

Music is terrific therapy.  I listen to some songs over and over for weeks or months at a time.  Why?  Music gets me through challenging times in my life.  It ministers to me.

Morning Quiet Time

Quiet time may mean different things for different people depending on your beliefs, but it’s morning devotion time in prayer and Bible study for me.

Exercise

Exercise is a good treatment for pent-up emotions.  It’s free, and you don’t need a membership fee.   Physical activity helps you take a load off, literally.

Community Support Groups

You can find these groups by researching “support groups” in your city on the internet.  You can go to GriefShare and find churches nearby that offer grief classes if you are grieving.

Develop a new Hobby

Quiet time can be great therapy.  I learned to paint.  I never believed I could paint but thought the idea of painting was fascinating.  I started watching painting tutorials on YouTube and now have some beautiful pictures.  It is very relaxing and therapeutic, and I feel accomplished when I finish a piece.

I also sometimes like to tinker around with fixing things around the house.  Some things you must leave the experts, but I have completed some small projects myself after looking at a tutorial on YouTube.

Make Yourself A Promise

It is never too late to start the healing process; the tragedy is never beginning.  Emotional baggage takes a toll on the body and mental states.  Make yourself a promise that the cycle of dysfunction, addiction, anger, depression, and un-forgiveness will end with you.  From this day forward, you can begin again.

I want to share a song my son wrote in high school.  I think it would be fitting to end this post with it.

 “It’s OK to Hurt

7 Ways to Relieve Stress

Professional Massage

Just one year ago, I had my first massage at a spa. I dealt with stress in all areas of life and decided to treat myself for my birthday. My muscles were tense around my shoulder and neck. I decided to do a full hour of deep tissue massage. It was an excellent way to relieve stress.

There was one particular benefit that I noticed right away. It relaxed the muscles that were firm, rigid, and painful. Once again, this year, I treated myself on my birthday. Some people get a massage every three months, and others more often.

Benefits of Massage

Some other significant benefits include improvement in circulation, blood pressure control, and stress management. It is also relaxing because the pressure on the muscles feels excellent.

The human touch always comes with a benefit, and nothing can entirely replace that. However, if you’re like me,  you often can’t get a massage due to time constraints or scheduling. Many people now try to find things to do at home that will be calming after a stressful day and help them unwind.

There are even massage chairs in the middle of many malls where people put money in and then sit and massage. Some companies now also offer chairs or other equipment for employees. Here are a few options to try at home until you can set aside time to pamper yourself.

7 Ways to Relieve Stress

1. This soft pillow massager targets the back, shoulder, and neck—the areas where many feel the tension. Try this soothing pillow massage designed primarily for these areas if you want some quick relief.

2. Massage Seat Cushion

The massage seat cushion relieves the tension in the entire back. If your stress is in these areas, this may be best for you. The other major plus about this cushion is that it is also heated.

3. Electronic Pulse Massager Tens Unit – The tens unit is helpful if you have pain or weak muscles. A couple of years ago, I injured my knee at work and later fell on it, and I was in constant pain daily for almost a year. I used a unit similar to this in the muscle areas around the knee. Use it for pain and muscle tension.   

 

4. Massage Chairs – A massage chair is another way to relax. These chairs are like those you may see in a mall, but many people are starting to purchase them for their homes.

7. Dr. Teal’s Lavender Foaming Bath –  is a product I use to relax.- One of my all-time favorite de-stressors is a warm bath. Bathing is good therapy for achy bones, muscles, feet, and just relaxation. There is nothing quite like a hot relaxing bubble bath. I can rest easy and have a good night’s sleep afterward.   The Epson Salts in Lavender scent is an item I regularly use. It has a soothing fragrance. If Lavander is not your thing, you can choose many other scents.

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