Are you ready for next 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge or are you excited about what’s to come but don’t know where to start?
Well follow these 5 easy steps and you’ll be on your way to starting your healthy eating diet plan and becoming a healthier version of you in no time!
1) Write Down Your Goals
Deciding your goals (and making them realistic) will be a real help to you over the 28 Day Challenge – and for 2015. We have a whole guide on how to set your goals here
2) Get Familiar With The Challenge Hub
If this is your first 28 Day Challenge or you’ve done one or a few before, it’s a good idea to ensure you’re familiar with the Challenge Hub section of the website. Log in and have a look around and see what there is available for you to use. Fill out your personal details to create your profile and set goals for what you want to achieve throughout the Challenge.
Look through the Challenge Blog for helpful articles and tips on getting the most out of the next four weeks, download the free eBooks and check out the links that are there to help and support you.
3) Plan Your Weekly Meals
If you are a subscriber, have a look at the previous Meal Plans from earlier Challenges and get a feel for how the customising works so that once the recipes from each week are publish (week 1 is relaxed on December 31), you can easily create a meal plan to suit your needs. We also have a few new user friendly features to make customising even better on the January Challenge
Remember to think about what types of meals you want to prepare:
- Do you just want to follow the suggestions made in each plan and prepare exactly what’s outlined or do you want to increase serving sizes to suit your whole family?
- Do you want to have vegetarian options only – you can search for words like “vegetarian” or “gluten free” in the customisable section if you have specific dietary requirements and if you need more recipes than what is provided you can always make substitutes e.g. use tofu instead of meat in meals, add eggs or legumes to increase your protein if you’re vegetarian. If you’re gluten or dairy free then you can easily make swaps with breads, grains and dairy products – there are so many options at the supermarkets these days that even if something is listed in a recipe that’s not suitable for your requirements, you can easily replace it with something that is.
- Do you want to choose meals that are good for increasing in quantities and saving for leftovers for another day or another week? Then look for pastas, stews, soups, curries, stir fries, tortillas, lasagnes etc. You can even make extras of meals like salads that aren’t as good to freeze but ideal to have the next day for lunch.
- Choose meals that suit your lifestyle needs, tastes and calorie requirements and remember to use the “Leftover/Eating Out” thumbnail for those time slots when you know you will be eating out or using up leftovers or meals that you’ve made extra of as then your Shopping List won’t add unnecessary ingredients.
4) Do Your Shopping
Once you’ve customised your Meal Plan for the week and you feel happy with it, then save it and you can easily print out all the recipe PDFs for the week that you’ll need as well as your Shopping List that will be customised also to suit the meals you’ve selected.
Set aside one day for shopping (you won’t need the whole day!) but might need to spend a bit of extra time choosing ingredients you may not normally add to the trolley or online checkout list.
Remember to read our many posts about saving money with the Challenges and if you’ve planned your meals according to your budget then you shouldn’t have to spend much extra on a weekly shop and will know all the money saving tips to consider e.g.:
- make food swaps where necessary if there are cheaper cuts of meat on special when you shop or if you already have a certain type of oil or condiment at home, use that rather than buying new ones.
- choose recipes that have less ingredients than others or ingredients you already have a good supply of in the pantry.
- shop locally or at places that allow you to choose exact quantities that you need of items like fruits, vegetables, cheese, small goods, meats etc, so you’re not wasting food and don’t need to spend more than you have to.
- swap fresh herbs for dried or jarred and fresh fruits and veggies for frozen if they’re cheaper.
- use common sense and if something’s on special or better priced if bought in bulk then think about ways you can incorporate that ingredient into the recipes rather than something else.
5) Get Going!
Once you’ve done a bit of pre-planning and organisation you’ll be ready to get going from Day 1 and won’t have excuses like not having planned your meals or done your shopping.
Use that initial motivation and run with it and keep it going, don’t make excuses like you’re too tired, you don’t have enough time, you’re sick, your partner’s not helping you much with sticking to the Challenge etc. it’s all up to you, not anyone or anything else and making these healthy changes to your lifestyle will benefit you and your family in so many ways.
If you do come across bumps on your path and can’t stick to your well intentioned plan, that’s ok. If you miss a day or two of exercise or don’t eat what you originally planned for the day and blow out your calories, that’s fine – just get back onto your healthy path as soon as you can.
We’re all human and life is about enjoying it, so don’t be so strict on yourself that you set yourself up for failure before you even get started. Set small, achievable goals as well as the big ones and you’re much more likely to reach them.
When you have an especially bad day, get onto the Facebook support group and let everyone know how you’re feeling and there’s sure to be someone to pep you up in no time. Or read some of the great stories from our Motivating Mums or mums who’ve done the Challenges before – they are all just like you and going through the same thing and so ready to help you.
Enjoy the Challenge – you will get out of it what you put in.
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