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, exhausted, and tend to eat whatever I can grab from the refrigerator, which is usually a sandwich and maybe a snack.

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

Prepare Early

However, I find that when I do essential food preparation at the beginning of the week, I tend to eat healthier throughout the week. So, to have a healthy lifestyle, I must plan. This way, I can portion out my meals for the rest of the week, pick it 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 of all, plan what you are going to eat for the week in advance. I have started doing meal prep on Sunday. Sometimes I cook a few meals and portion it 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 am going to steam them later in the week, I chop and put 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

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

A large pot of beans can be used one day for chili, another day for burritos, added to rice or Quinoa, 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, beans in sweets?

The quickest and easiest bean to make if you have time constraints is Lentils. 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

For breakfast, I prepare 3 or 4 days worth of smoothies, pour it in cups, and freeze.  In the morning, I take it out, 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.

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 a batch of 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 – This is perfect for brown rice.  I only use brown rice because it has more nutrients than white rice.  I do believe it is a healthier option.  I prefer Basmati or jasmine rice because it is flavorful and has a pleasant aroma.  It may be harder to find in some stores, depending on where you shop.  Rice cookers allow you to put the ingredients in the device and come back when it’s ready.

This a nice cooker 

A Few Secrets

One nutritious grain that I discovered a few years ago is a Quinoa.  This grain is not hard to cook, and it’s loaded with protein.  I will write a full blog post about it in the future.  It is so versatile, and you can cook it in a variety of 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

Keep it simple.  I like the convenience, but I also want my food to be flavorful and healthy.  Many think that to eat healthily, one has to sacrifice taste, 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 you are working a second job when you come home from work.

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 taking better care of your body.  Try it out next week and leave a comment below on how things worked out.

 

Emotional Life Support

 

 

Can we Talk?

When was the last time you went to the doctor to get a physical? Do you remember?  When was the last time you went to 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 let me ask you this when was the last time I went to get your hair done was? 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 telling you when that was.

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 emotional 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 trauma during their childhood or as adults.   They may be suffering as a result of 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 are living in a house that has plenty of curb appeal but is falling apart on the inside.  

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

The feelings are 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 in the joy of knowing they are not like the alcoholic or drug addict.   But these hidden emotions sometimes surface in volcanic eruptions of anger, rage, depression, and mental or emotional health problems.

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

 You cannot be spiritually mature and emotionally unhealthy.  Many spiritual people are merely adult children or teenagers.

When many ignore emotional problems, they think they are not allowing it to interfere with their life.  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 can you go to get help?  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 those who may have limited options for paid counseling:

Learn to Cry — I went through a period in life where so many things were happening emotionally that I learned to hold it all together and keep functioning in life.   I went into survival mode and just dealt with the avalanches of living like a strong woman except, it didn’t make me strong.

I learned to hold things together, but it was unhealthy for me.  I had to learn to get in tune with that emotion in many of the ways I will share, so keep reading.

Journal — I started writing.  If you are not in tune with your feelings, you may have to 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 that someone will find your book, try writing in an online journal such as penzu.com. There are also free 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 who will counsel without charge and some will refer you to another resource. Generally, if they refer you to someone else, you will have to pay a fee.  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.  You will see over time as you start using other resources as well as counsel, 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 Group — I highly recommend this. I also encourage you not only to join but 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.  I cannot speak highly enough of this process of healing.

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

  • Wikipedia has a list that also includes other programs patterned after the 12 steps.

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

  • S-anon is a 12 step program for those who have a family member (many times a spouse) that has a sex addiction.  Unfortunately, this has become an epidemic due to the ease of access to pornography on the internet.  It is sweeping rampantly 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.

Listen to Music – Music is terrific therapy. There are times when I listen to the same song 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 – This may be different things for different people depending on your beliefs, but for me, it’s morning devotion time in prayer and Bible study.

Exercise – This is another resource 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. If you are grieving, you can go to GriefShare and find churches nearby who offer grief classes.

Develop a new Hobby  – This 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, therapeutic, and I feel a sense of accomplishment 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.

It is never too late to start the healing process; the tragedy would never be beginning it.  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 five years ago when he was 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

It was just one year ago that I had my first massage ever at a spa.  During this time, I was dealing with a lot of stress at the time 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.

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 some more often than that.

Some of the 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’tget 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. Well, here are a few options to try at home until you can set aside time to pamper yourself.

1.  This soft pillow massager targets the back, shoulder, and neck.  The areas where many feel the tension.  If you want some quick relief, then try this soft pillow massage designed primarily for these areas.

2.  Massage Seat Cushion

The massage seat cushion is designed to sit in a chair and will relieve the tension on the entire back.  If your stress is in these areas, then this may be what’s 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 useful 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. It can be used for areas of pain and muscle tension.   

 

4.  Massage Chairs –  Another way to relax is with a massage chair.  These chairs are like the ones 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.  There are many other scents to choose from if Lavander is not your thing.
 

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