If you’ve ever tried a bit of body transformation (losing weight, gaining weight, redistributing it), you know what it’s like. It can be a frustrating, disheartening process. Still, it doesn’t have to be that way. As with anything, a bit of preparation makes all the difference. No matter what your body transformation goals are, here are the components of kitchen success.

Clean out the cupboard

You know what it’s like. You’ve been sticking to the plan for a while now, eating healthy meals and steering clear of the bad stuff. One day you notice a lonely packet of potato chips in the back of the cupboard, and it’s game on. Before you know it you’re scouring the room for the simplest, tastiest ready-made snack you can find. Solution : clean out the cupboards before you start, and remove anything which doesn’t fit in with your intended eating plan. No need to go overboard here, just get rid of the obvious ‘shouldn’t have‘ items. NB : if you’re sharing the kitchen with others, just put your food – as much as possible – in a separate place.

Benefit : you’ll be starting with a clean slate (shelf, actually). Much, much easier.

Do your shopping in bulk

Once the cupboards have been pared down a little, it’s time to go shopping. And no, this won’t cost a fortune. The general idea is to work out which foods your new diet is based on, and buy them in bulk. Whilst this certainly doesn’t apply to everything, the larger items can usually be stored or frozen (here’s how).

Benefit : as well as being slightly cheaper than a regular trip to the supermarket, there’s much more reason to eat the right things if you’ve already paid for them.

Plan your meals

This may sound a little unnecessary, but it really does help : plan your meals in advance. This can be as general or as specific as you like; as long as you include the main items. How far in advance? In my case, it’s about a week. This gives me plenty of time to stock up on the major items.

Benefit : a meal plan makes shopping a breeze, and helps to establish an overall idea of your diet.

Keep track of what you eat

As important as meal plans are, it’s also critical to keep track of what you actually eat. It’s one thing to say ‘I’m going to have fish for dinner on Friday‘, but if you end up watching the game with your friends and eating nothing but nuts from the local bar; you’ll want to note that somewhere. That ‘somewhere‘ could be one of the many online food trackers. These not only keep a record of what you eat, they calculate the number of calories you consume; giving you a regular idea of how you’re doing overall. It makes a big difference.

Benefit : online trackers give you a quick ‘calories in vs calories out‘ figure each day. It’s the simplest way to see how you’re doing overall.

Cut back, rather than cutting out

As a former alcoholic, I’ve got an idea of how tough it can be to give up something you love. It’s much easier – and much more effective in the long term – to simply cut back a bit. There’s another component to this : the idea that if you’re only going to have something occasionally, that it might as well be high quality. Rather than living on frozen pizzas, make a reservation with a local Italian restaurant once a month.

Benefit : there’s a big difference between telling yourself ‘never again‘ and saying ‘not for another 30 days‘. Additionally, your social life remains intact. Especially if you like pizza.

Final Thought on Planning for Kitchen Success

There’s a lot of work involved in transforming your body, no matter whether you’re aiming to lose weight, bulk up or just do a little fine-tuning. A bit of planning can make an enormous difference.

Photo by iMorpheus.

Scott Bird

Scott Bird is a writer and fitness enthusiast based in sunny Sydney, Australia. When not wandering around second-hand book stores, he can usually be found over at his strength-training site, Straight to the Bar.
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