Meal prep can minimize the daily “aw hell, what’s for lunch today” in your everyday life. And you can save money, too!!! But please, for the love of sanity, stop making it a diet plan.
If you’re dutifully packing rows of Tupperware so you can stay “on track,” “control your portions,” and “resist temptation” throughout the week: careful, sailor. Dangerous waters ahead.
“On track” is an illusion of diet culture — it implies that there is a single path of rightness when it comes to food. There isn’t. Moralizing foods as “good” and “bad” is a slippery slope to disordered eating. The pool of “bad” foods grows while the “good” foods shrink and shrink, until suddenly you’re living in a private hell of iceberg lettuce, mustard, and fat-free cheese.
“Resisting temptation” is what inevitably happens next. You know all those “bad” foods you’ve sworn off to help you stay “on track”? As soon as you tell yourself something is off limits, you’ll want it like you’ve never wanted anything before. The world is suddenly a big haunted house where cookies and loaves of bread lurk around every corner to TEMPT you. These inanimate objects have nothing better to do than follow you around and show up at your office and call to you seductively. Suddenly, any food that tastes halfway decent sends you into a binge-y haze. Your hunger has no off-switch. “Holy crap,” you think. “I have no self-control around food. I better control my portions.”
“Controlling your portions” is not a solution that diets offer; it is a problem that diets cause. When you restrict your eating, you are directly causing your physiological and psychological hunger to surge. You lose touch with your body’s natural fullness cues — the original portion control. You convince yourself your hunger is imagined. You outsource your primal needs to a man-made diet. You pack meals based not on how much fuel your body needs to power through the day, but on how much you think you DESERVE. Your meals get smaller and smaller. Your hunger gets bigger and bigger.
Your Tupperware is not a psychic object with supernatural weight loss powers. It just helps you plan ahead a little. Everything else is just diet culture and savvy marketing.
Here are some things that meal prep can help you do:
Bring your lunch each day and save yourself the $12 you would’ve spent on takeout.
Save time by packing several lunches at once.
Buy in larger quantities and take advantage of bulk prices.
Strategize the ingredients you buy to help prevent food waste.
Minimize stress in the morning on the way out the door.
And some things it can’t:
Heal your relationship with food. Only you can do that. It takes time and effort.
Make your body lose weight. Maybe your body doesn’t want to lose weight. That’s not a fun reality to consider, I know.
Add purpose to your life. Y’all, that’s a whole lot of pressure on a Tupperware.