Meal Planning Helps You Lose Weight

Taking just thirty minutes a week to do one simple thing can help you lose a lot more weight.  You will be surprised at how easy it is! Done right it will eliminate stress, save you time, and even save you money!

Want to lose 12 pounds in two months like Carvel did? He only exercised three or four times a week, plus did this one simple thing.

Imagine if you did the same, but added extra workouts! Interested?

If you have this one habit, it will help you lose weight!

Do you like to eat out? I enjoy going out to eat about once a week.  I encourage you to go out and enjoy yourself as well. However, the average American eats out four to five times a week. Be encouraged if that’s you! What I have to tell you will have a huge impact in your weight loss!

See, every time you go out to eat you will most likely be consuming an unknown amount of calories and portion sizes. That can sabotage your weight loss goals. Want to know how to change that? The tips I’m giving you today are so easy you’ll wonder why no one ever told you!

Look, I totally get why people eat out often. After a long day at work, cooking dinner can sound daunting. It’s tempting to swing by your favorite take out joint or restaurant. Packing a lunch takes planning, so it seems much easier to hit the food court.

Why didn’t anyone tell me I could lose weight AND save money!

Would you believe me if I told you that meal planning can do that? Well, I wouldn’t lie to you. Not only that, but it helps you keep it off, and it eliminates stress!

The truth is meal planning is one of the key ingredients to weight loss without dieting. It’s how my household is able to enjoy eating the foods we like without gaining weight.

Does meal planning mean that you need to go to culinary school and become a chef?  No!

It does mean that you need to spend a little time up front before your week begins. By meal planning you actually save time and money. Eating out less and taking less trips to the store or restaurants cuts calories and grows your bank account.

Ready to get started? Here are 9 tips!

1)  Make a quick plan. Decide what you want to eat. Make a list of what you want to eat for dinner and lunch for the next seven days. Look at your calendar to see if you have any planned dinners, parties, or lunches when you will be eating out.

2) Get inspired! If you like to cook, try using light recipes from the web, cookbooks or magazines to inspire you. Cooking Light is my favorite. EatingWell is another option.  If cooking is new for you, pick the 20 minute recipes to start.

3) Make quick and delicious no cook meals! Rather not cook? Assemble prepared food that is fresh. Try things like a roasted chicken, pre-cooked rice and pre-washed lettuce for a salad. Add some frozen organic vegetables on the side.

4) Go frozen! Try frozen organic pizza with a salad. Be sure to pay attention to serving sizes. A healthy frozen pizza has fewer calories than restaurant pizzas.

5) Use leftovers for lunches, or make sandwiches and bring fruit. If you have freezer space, try cooking enough for four meals and freezing three of them for later in the month. You can literally do all of your cooking in one to three afternoons per week with this method.

6) Write it down! Once you’ve decided what you will eat for the week, make a shopping list and write everything down before you go to the store.

7) Plan party dishes in advance. If you need to bring a food dish to a party, decide ahead of time what you will bring. Choose a “light” version if you are cooking. The guests will love you for it. Add the ingredients to your list to save a trip to the store.

8)  Go ahead! Outsource!  You may discover that cooking every night is a challenge. If so, consider these great ideas:

  • Order meals from a company like The food is made fresh and delivered to your doorstep. Voila! Still saving time, calories, and money.
  • An in-house personal chef! If you think that is too expensive, do a little calculating. You may find it a lot less expensive than eating out. Imagine being able to order exactly what you want and have someone cook it in your home and freeze your meals for two to four weeks in advance? Of course you can search on Google, but the two best places to search are: USPCA and APPCA.

9)  Stay consistent!  Pick a day and time that works best for you to meal plan and do your shopping, ordering, etc. Put it on your calendar and treat it like any other important appointment.

Have you tried any of these tips? Please tell me about that, or share any other meal planning tips. I really love hearing from you!








How Water Helps You Lose Weight

Everyone tells you to drink more water and how you could die in a short time without it! I know what you’re thinking: “blah blah blah!” Boring, right? Hang on. It really does play a key part in weight loss. Let me explain.

Now before you start chugging down a couple gallons of water, hear me out! You don’t need that much.

Water does help you lose weight! Here’s how:

  • Two glasses of water prior to a meal helped middle aged and older adults feel full longer, research studies found.
  • Cuts out a ton of calories when you replace your regular beverage with water!
  • Guess what? A hydrated body looks leaner. Why? Because when you’re dehydrated, you retain water. Yikes!
  • I bet the magazine rack has at least one headline screaming “Rev up your metabolism with this one trick!” Well, here’s a good one. Just drink enough and your body will be able to metabolize properly. When you’re dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. We all know what that means for weight loss!

So how much water should you be drinking?

It depends.  The suggested guidelines for water consumption used to be sixty-four ounces per day.  While it is still a good amount of water for some, others may need more. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:

Drink more when you are in situations where your body loses water:

  • in warmer climates,
  • during more intense exercise,
  • at high altitudes.

Try to be more aware of your water intake:

  • if you’re the type of person who usually doesn’t notice thirst; or
  • when you are very busy and likely to forget to drink.
  • If you talk for a living.  Water is lost though saliva.
How do you know when you’re drinking enough water?
  • The best way to tell if you are hydrated is the color of your urine.  Clear to pale yellow is ideal. Yellow to dark yellow means you need water, and if it looks like tea or beer you are dehydrated!  Supplements can also cause urine to be dark yellow. So keep that in consideration.
  • Start by drinking a half ounce for each pound of your body weight.  For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink seventy-five ounces of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid allowing yourself to get “thirsty”.  If you are getting a thirst signal then the body is already too low on water!

Five tips to increase your fluid intake:

1) Have a water bottle in your car, at your desk, or in your bag, and sip it throughout the day.

2) Eat lots of fruits and vegetables!

(3) Replace soda with sparking water.  If you like sparkling water, consider getting an in home soda machine. They take up very little counter space. You also save money and there are less bottles to recycle. This helped my husband Matthew go from not liking water to drinking plenty of it!

4) Add fruit or cucumber to your water for flavor.

5) Have water with every meal.

At first it may seem like you have to go to the bathroom a lot. This is normal when you up your water consumption. It is not uncommon to have to use the restroom every hour.

If you sit at a desk, this will encourage you to get up and move every hour. It also allows you to monitor your progress!

Here is a fun recipe for Raspberry water courtesy of Face Magic in Albany, CA.

Raspberry Water

  • 1 Pitcher of Water
  • 1 bag of Frozen Organic Raspberries
  • Place the raspberries in the water and allow it to turn the water a pinkish red color.  Pour in nice glasses and enjoy!

I hope this helps you with your weight loss and management program.  Please feel free to comment below or ask me a question.

I’m going to go get a glass of sparkling water!


Jennifer Ledford



Five Easy Ways to Start Losing Weight Without Dieting

Woman is Hungry Dieting

  1. Avoid one of the biggest weight gain traps in your neighborhood! At least for now, stay clear of take out or restaurants for lunch and dinner on a weekly basis. Don’t stop eating out completely, however, the average American eats out 4-5 times per week. A group of nutritionists were given meals at various restaurants around the country. During the study it was discovered that even the nutritionists grossly underestimated the amount of calories in the meals. Between large portion sizes, and a lack of control of what goes in the food, the calories pack on fast. Simply brown bag it and cook at home six days a week for the next two months and you’ll watch your waistline get smaller and your wallet get fatter!

  2. Watch those temptations! Cut those daily trips to the coffee shop. Coffee shops are full of all kinds of calorie packed goodies. If you really need that pick me up, I understand. Either make it at home or stick to a good old-fashioned cup of coffee or espresso with a small amount of real creamer (not the flavored or processed stuff) or sugar (1 packet). Keep a healthy snack with you to enjoy with the coffee when on the go. Some ideas to have on hand in your office or car: fruit, healthy crackers, nuts (watch portion size), yogurt, etc.

  3. Hydrate! Research shows that when the body is dehydrated your liver has to work extra hard and slows down how you metabolize fat. One way to check is to make sure your urine is pale yellow to clear. General guidelines are to drink eight to twelve 8 oz glasses of water per day. Some of us need a bit more or less due to lifestyle and activity differences, so the color of your urine is key. You do not want it to look like light beer!

  4. Get enough sleep. There is a direct correlation between proper sleep (approximately 8 hours) and people that lose or maintain their weight.

  5. Add five minutes! If you are currently exercising, add an extra 5 minutes: 5 minutes x 6 days equals 30 minutes. That’s an entire workout for most people! What’s an extra five minutes?

There you go. These are five easy tips to start losing weight without dieting. The key is consistency. Most people drop off after two weeks, which is why they never really see much success. Consistent habits of some kind caused weight gain. It’s going to take consistent new habits to lose it and keep it off. If you have read along this far, you are most likely someone that can stick to it!

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me below if you have a trick that works for you, or ask me about a stumbling block that may be
holding you back.

To your health!