Prior preparation…

We have been going back to basics this last couple of weeks, back to basics with tracking calories, and back to basics and setting a goal.

The reason we do this, is that when we speak to people, we are seeing that now the summer is over, some people have lost their motivation to stay on track, and have lost their mojo a bit.

The nights are drawing in, the weather is changing so it all feels a bit harder to keep motivated.


However, there are some significant opportunities that we should grasp! The routine is back in lots of our lives as children are in school again and some form of normality resumes after the summer school holidays. There are also usually less things to get in the way from September to Christmas and the festive period is a good target to aim for if you want to make changes. It also gives us a good 3 month period to work towards achieving our goals.

With the change in seasons its time to refocus, and find that motivation again. Count how many weeks it is until Christmas, or significant birthdays, is there another event coming up that you want to wear a particular outfit for, or is it really just time to get your act together for you, your family and your combined futures.

You have to give yourself permission to do this for you, to give you a better future, to spend more time with your family. It isn’t selfish to want to be a better version of yourself, or to improve your health to live a longer and more healthful life with your family.

The Key to Success…

The key to success with all of this is preparation – as the saying goes, ‘prior preparation prevents poor performance’.

Preparation is having your kit ready, on the days when you have planned to go to a class or do some exercise on your way home from work.

It’s planning what you are going to have as meals throughout the week, doing the big shop for all the ingredients and prepping them for work lunches, and evening meals ready to serve when you get in from work, rather than running to the shops at the last minute when you are starving hungry and ready to eat whatever you first set your eyes on.

Do you think that the people we consider to be successful got there without any sort of planning and preparation?Rachel Wilcock

There may be the small percentage of ‘right place, right time’ people who have hit it big, but do you think Mo Farah got to be one of the best (if not the best!) distance runners in the world, without preparation. Or did Muhammad Ali become one the best fighters in the world without preparation? Did Richard Branson wing his way to the top of business?

Probably not…!

One of Richard Branson’s favourite quotes about success is:

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.Colin Powell, US Politician.

What does preparation give you?

Preparation and planning is perhaps seen as boring, particularly for those people who like to be impulsive and spontaneous.

But, preparation is proactive rather than reactive, allowing you to deal with situations as they arise, that will keep you on track to your goal, rather than it knocking you off kilter and sending you into a tailspin.  Being prepared means you can solve problems quicker because you have the tools in your arsenal to deal with them.

Lets look at this in more detail with an example….

“I have got a really busy week, and I am all over the place in different locations with work and kids activities, so I don’t know if I am going to be able to eat well, or get to my exercise classes on time…”

What could go wrong this?

  • Rushing after work to get stuff for tea, shopping whilst hungry and making poor choices
  • No kit ready so don’t attend exercise classes or complete planned exercise
  • No idea where I will be at lunch time, so eating food on the go, picking up poor choices at drive through fast food outlets

What would this lead to?

No idea of how many calories I have eaten and therefore no idea if I am going to see a successful week on the scales next week. Because of that, its quite likely I will swerve the scales at group, or maybe even not bother coming at all.

To plan and prep for this would mean:

  • Know your calorie allowance for each day and each meal occasion and tracking food and drink before you consume any of them
  • Spending 5 or 10 minutes looking at your work and home commitments for the week, on a Sunday afternoon, then setting your exercise schedule around that.
  • Doing your weekly shop on the weekend, making sure you buy food, that will allow you to make meals and snacks suitable for all the family, within your calorie allowance.
  • Preparing your lunch to take to work, the night before.
  • Preparing an evening meal for the following day, so it’s ready to cook/eat when everyone gets in from work/school.
  • Having a selection of healthy, low calorie snacks to hand to keep you topped up and stop you reaching for the biscuit tin or the chocolate bars
  • Having a go to list of emergency lunch stops, just in case.
    • Have a look at where you can go and what you can eat there, then you aren’t popping in for that ‘emergency big mac meal’ and ruining all your hard work
  • Making sure you have got enough appropriate kit washed and dried for the weeks exercise plan.
  • Getting your kit ready the night before and put it in the car, so that you can go straight to your class on the way home from work, or have it next to the bed, to put on in the morning, if you are going to exercise early morning.
  • Agreeing childcare with partners/parents/babysitters at the beginning of the week so that you can complete your exercise plan

Take Action!

As the seasons change its important to review your plans and take stock of what you were doing over the summer and how you might need to adapt to keep things up into the autumn and the long dark winter months…

Ask yourself, what you were doing in summer that brought you success?

  • With your food, it was probably easy to eat lots of salad, because the warm weather made that easy, now we need to start thinking about what we can eat to warm us up and comfort us but still keep within our calories.
    • Soups are a great way to do this – loads of vegetables, maybe some pulses and some stock or tomatoes all cooked up and served piping hot, is a great low calorie lunch. If you’re in a rush, tinned soup is a cheap and easy lunchtime fix if you have access to a microwave. If you don’t, could you get a flask and have soup in there, to eat on the go?
    • For evening meals, its time to get the slow cookers out and again get loads of veg in there, some lean meat, and get the baking potatoes in the oven, and set the timer, so it’s ready when you come in from work.

With regards to exercise, if you were out walking a couple of times a week on the lovely sunny evenings we had, then you are going to have to get some suitable clothing and footwear, to take you through the darker nights. You might have to revise your routes to make sure you can see where you are going.  It may even be an idea to get some friends to tag along for safety.

This week we want you to think about how you can become more prepared to boost your success to the next level. Take some time out to look for your opportunities to become more prepared and do it!

We will leave you with another quote:

I run on the road long before I dance under the lights.Muhammad Ali

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