Ask an expert, or anyone, and they will agree there’s no secret fast track to long-term weight loss. It requires dedication and having faith in the idea each good decision and habit you create is an investment in a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight. All of this is possible with a smart approach. “If you’re hoping to lose weight, preparation is absolutely crucial,” says Gabrielle Desmarais, nutrition therapy coach at Forevergreen All-Natural Care & Healing. “It takes commitment and consistency and if you don’t have clear guidelines for what to do and how to prepare, weight loss can become confusing and exhausting.”
Try ending your day by setting yourself up for success the next day with these simple, nighttime hacks that take less than 15 minutes:
KEEP A FOOD JOURNAL
By writing down what you plan to eat the following day, you’ve got a road map for what’s to come (or, what’s supposed to come). “This can be extremely helpful for those living with a constant on-the-go lifestyle or for individuals who simply love being able to have a macrobiotic view of their schedule and hectic day,” says Brianna Diorio, RD. This also makes it easier for you to log your food during the day with an app like MyFitnessPal since you will be less likely to forget and already have a reference.
PREP A SIMPLE BREAKFAST
Rather than skipping breakfast and overeating at your next meal, there are tons of healthy options that can easily be made ahead of time — even while you sleep. For example, “overnight oats are a great way to prepare a large batch of breakfasts,” says Sophie Lauver, RD, a clinical dietitian in Baltimore. “Try steel-cut oats to get the least-processed form,” recommends Lauver. Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which helps you feel more satisfied after eating and less hungry by lunchtime, she adds. Over time, “greater satiety can equate to fewer calories consumed overall, helping with weight loss and maintenance.”
HAVE A SNACK PLAN
Snacks can make or break a healthy eating plan. “The night before, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, and then put them in to-go containers or single-serve plastic bags,” suggests Lauver. You can also individualize portions for foods that can be easy to over-do it on like trail mix, nuts or peanut butter (to pair with an apple).
PLAN YOUR OUTFITS
If you hit the snooze button often or always feel rushed in the morning, picking clothes out for the office and a workout can be an extra hurdle. To avoid forgetting something and ensure your morning goes more smoothly, plan your outfits the night before, suggests Lisa Richards, RD. “Choosing clothes that make you feel good about yourself when packing your gym bag and post-workout outfits will keep you motivated.”
SET CALENDAR REMINDERS FOR WORKOUTS
Your workouts are your time. “Schedule them the night before,” suggests Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, advisory board member for Smart Healthy Living. “Many people push off workouts if they run out of time during the day. By treating workouts as important as a scheduled business meeting, you’re more likely to stick with it.”