Sundays are my rest and relaxation days, but they’re also the days I do my best planning and prep for the week. For the past 6 and a half years, I’ve noticed that this is one thing I find a lot of people don’t do, so I’m going to share with you a few mistakes I’ve seen people make when it comes to having success with their nutrition, fitness, and general lifestyle change.

Let me ask you a question: how many of you say to yourself “Okay, today is going to be the day. I’m on track, I enjoyed my summer, and now here I am feeling blah from too many cocktails and pizza and I swear that this Monday is going to be the day where I don’t fall back into that same routine.” Maybe you’ll even do half of the things that I list out today, but then life gets the best of you and you get busy and before you know it, it’s Wednesday and you’re right back where you started.

I GET IT!! My life is busy too! I have two boys and my house is generally in mass chaos. But I find that when I feel good about myself, fuel myself with good food, take time to plan and prepare – that is when I am the best mom, wife, and person! Taking care of yourself is not a bad thing!!! You are not taking away time from your family, you are making yourself better which makes your family better.

So let’s get into some common mistakes I see people making when it comes to meal planning.

1. When it comes to meal planning, you just don’t do it at all.

How many of you have said “I don’t need to follow my meal plan, I’ll just track in My Fitness Pal and I’ll track my steps on my Fit Bit. I don’t really need to print out those tracking sheets, I’ll just keep track of it in my head.”

What ends up happening is you get frustrated because by the end of the week you are cardioing yourself to death but you’re not seeing the results on the scale. You’re frustrated, so you have a glass of wine, and that glass of wine leads to some cookies, and then before you know it you’re back on that cycle again.

Here’s the bottom line: PLANNING IS IMPORTANT. I’ve been doing this for 6 and a half years and I STILL plan out my meals each week to keep me on track!! If I don’t plan, I fail. I get hangry when there’s not food in the house, and then I reach for something I shouldn’t and I’m much more likely to give in.

Every Beachbody program comes with a nutrition plan! Don’t slide that nutrition guide to the side!! Pull that sucker out and take the time to read it through. Figure out your containers and what bracket you’re in. On Sundays I sit down and say “Okay, this is how many containers I get each day” and then I go through and make a meal plan.

2. You’re trying too many complex recipes at once.

When you sit down to make a meal plan, avoid the urge to search Pinterest for tons of new recipes!! You will be spreading yourself too thin and it will get overwhelming FAST. So my tip for you is KEEP IT BASIC. Do not feel like you need to cook these wild and crazy recipes for dinner.

For breakfast I’ll have eggs, a green container of spinach, half a blue container of cheese, and a purple container of fruit. So easy, and you know EXACTLY how many containers you are eating!! I am a creature of habit, so I’m totally okay eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. Sometimes I vary up my snacks and dinners with the family, but you don’t need to make these complex, complicated recipes!

3. You’re not taking advantage of leftovers.

Guys, what are you doing??? Leftovers are seriously THE BEST!! Any time we are making ANYTHING, we throw on some extra and double it up so that we have leftovers to eat the next day. A lot of times our leftovers from dinner are lunch the next day. It’s so easy and then you don’t have to spend time in the middle of your day mixing up a salad or making something complicated in the kitchen for lunch. Leftovers are quick and easy!!

4. You’re not printing out your meal plan.

HELLO!? You spent all this time making a pretty meal plan on your computer an you just leave it there?? You need to print it out! Stick it on the fridge so you know if you need to take something out of the freezer to defrost.

When we are meal planning, we write down our grocery list on another piece of paper so we know what we need. We hit up Costco and the regular grocery store on Sundays and then wash up our vegetables and bake a bunch of potatoes to warm up for the rest of the week. Take the time to prep and it will make the rest of you life so much easier. You can even portion it out and put it in bags so all you have to do is grab it and go on your way out the door in the morning.

If you take the time to plan it out, you have a better chance of success for the week. Just the very simple act of being prepared is going to help you succeed. I can’t make you do it – you have all the tools you need, but it’s a mindset shift of making the decision that you want to be successful. I promise that after 21 or 30 days of meal planning and using the containers it just starts to become habit.

Bonus Tip

Here is a bonus tip: I don’t always eat exactly what’s on my meal plan! So what I do is I basically say, “Okay, what did I eat for breakfast?” and then I will write down that color on a piece of paper. Then at the end of the day I can go back and look and see if I left anything out or if I stayed on track or if I have anything left. It also helps if I want to switch things around and maybe save a carb for dinner instead of lunch.

Every night this becomes a for too reflection point for me. Did I drink enough water? Was I short on containers? Did I go over today? I have a little folder called “My Fitness Goals” that has my program guide, my meal plan with tracking sheets, my measurements, and my workout guide and this actually sits on my desk. I keep track of my food and my workouts even 6 and a half years later. This helps me keep it real. I am not perfect and sometimes a glass of wine sneaks in there!!

If you want to change, you have to find something that works for you. It might not be my exact system, and that’s okay!! Figure out what works for you and stick with it.

I just added a meal plan template to the homepage of my website, so take advantage of that and get planning!!