By Nicole Wilson 

So many families have taught me different things through the years about planning. Even Pastor Sean says all the time, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is so true for me when it comes to fighting for a healthier lifestyle and meal planning!

Most of you know I’ve been on a journey to a more “healthy me.” Since May of last year, I’ve had the tremendous blessing of friends gathering around me to work hard toward the disciplines of eating better and working out. Several of us joined the same gym downtown, and it has been so great to always have a partner to go with, be accountable to, etc. while I’m there. It’s just not as much fun when you’re by yourself trying to work out, and the excuses start to bubble up almost instantaneously!

Often, just by looking at someone, you don’t really “see” what they struggle with. Sins are often hidden in the heart. This doesn’t happen to be the case when it comes to overeating. The physical repercussions of gluttony and laziness are revealed right away – it’s sometimes literally all over your face. It’s a different struggle in many ways because of this. Fortunately, with confession, comes forgiveness. God is so faithful. Many women in the church, namely my community group and roommates, have surrounded me with support and given me so much encouragement. Women are praying for me, going to the gym with me, offering ideas for food, and offering general excitement with me every time I get to record another pound lost. It is taking a long time to grow in this area, but God is faithful and He is sustaining me week by week. It is a lot of work, and there are plenty of days that the work doesn’t seem worth it… but when there is a plan for making it work, things are so much easier!

One major thing that has really helped me press on toward my goals is meal planning. There are plenty of weeks that I fail at this, and I can usually tell right away what a mistake it was!

It is extremely helpful when counting calories to make a meal plan for the week, then do the shopping, then pre-prepare as much as I can for the week. I’m able to portion out snacks and can see the balance of the food pyramid much better. It’s always better that way then when I’m standing in front of the refrigerator or pantry at 7:45 a.m., knowing I only have 5 minutes to make a decision for the day in my food choices before heading off to work. On weeks where I’ve failed to plan, I end up blowing it off and settling for another greasy fast food meal… which leaves me dissatisfied in more ways than one, generally. So, whether you’re counting calories or not, help your family, your budget and your time by planning meals, shopping for specifics and preparing ahead of time. It works for me!

Link Love: Here are some helpful online tools that may help to plan your groceries and also save money while keeping track of your intake!

Health: 

Fit Day 

Weight Watchers General Food Point List

Weight Watchers Out to Eat Point Guide

Wholesome Baby Food 

Groceries: 

Eat Better America Coupons 

Eating Well Coupons

I heart CVS

Savvy Dollar

Southern Savers 

Grocery Game

Recipes: 

All Recipes 

Kraft Foods

Food Network

Smitten Kitchen

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Artisan Bread Book