You know you should be eating right and exercising all week to reach your weight-loss goals, but when you're so rushed between work and family responsibilities, it's tough to have the time to make it happen. A little planning ahead goes a long way, so here are some things you can do on Sunday to ensure you stay on the healthy path all week long.
Plan Your Workouts
Don't just think to yourself that you'll squeeze in a run here and a trip to the gym there — plan it out. Sit down with your weekly calendar and jot down every workout just as you would doctor's appointments and meetings. Use this time to call your fitness buddy or trainer to make dates, check out studio schedules to find classes you want to take, and check the week's weather to figure out which days will be best for that run or snowshoe outside.
Hit the Hamper
Nothing puts a damper on a workout more than not being able to find a clean sports bra, so do a couple loads before Monday, making sure you have everything you need from your warm running tights to yoga tops to the towel you use to wipe sweat from your brow. Lay out your outfits for each day's workout so you're not running around the house Tuesday morning trying to find your missing sock.
Gather Your Gear
Collect whatever you need to work out — a yoga mat, sneakers, or earbuds — and make sure everything is set so you can easily grab the items throughout the week. Pack your gym bag and put it by the door or in your car so you won't leave for work without it. If you exercise at home, put your favorite fitness video in the DVD player and lay out your dumbbells and resistance band. Sunday is also a great time to make a couple new playlists to inspire your kick-ass workouts (if you don't have time, subscribe to our workout playlists on Spotify).
Plan Your Nibbles
Sit down and write out a weekly eating plan including all meals and snacks for the entire seven days. If you need a little inspiration, check out these healthy recipes. After making out a grocery list to include everything you'll need to whip them up, hit the health food store and stock up for the week. Since produce is best enjoyed within a few days of purchasing, note what fruits and veggies you'll want to pick up halfway through the week.
Spend Some Time in the Kitchen
Wash, cut, and store veggies to be used in dinner recipes, cut up fruit for smoothies or snacks, and cook up some whole grains and store them in the fridge. Make some of these make-ahead breakfasts, or turn on the Crock Pot to cook up something you can eat a few nights that week, like these under 400-calorie meals.
Pack It Up
If you'll be away from home during the day, cut down on the temptation to go out to lunch or grab a cookie by packing lunches and snacks from home. Making five salads for the week is easy and healthy, or you can whip up a big pot of soup and freeze small portions in glass containers to grab for lunch. Also set aside 10 snacks for the week (two per day) such as Greek yogurt, cheese sticks, containers of carrots and hummus, or measure out 100-calorie portions of trail mix, whole grain crackers, or cereal. It'll probably take about an hour to get it all ready, but it'll end up saving you time during the rest of the week.
Hit the Hay
Once everything is all set, take a nice hot bath, slip on your PJ's, and hop into bed early. Unwind with some bed stretches or a calming book, and you're more likely to have a good night's sleep and wake up refreshed for the week ahead.