On Mother's Day, I noticed that my dad had lost quite a bit of weight. Due to needing a surgical procedure, he was on a limited diet.

Finding out that he weighed less than I did (and he's taller than I), and knowing that I turn 30 in just a few months, I became determined to eat healthier, lose weight, and become active.

I think the most important part of my diet lifestyle change has been getting into a routine. A routine that not only works for my schedule, but also doesn't stress me out.

Not only do I now run three to four times per week (usually Tuesday-Friday mornings before work) but picking a day to prep my lunches for work (with plenty for dinner as well) is important so that I can stick to my goal of eating healthy during the week. My main protein is chicken, and I have a lot of vegetables (carrots, broccoli, onions, peppers, sometimes mushrooms- still haven't gotten used to those).

Here are a few steps that I find useful, and I hope you do as well!

1) Pick a day on the weekend, and a time when you know you don't usually have any plans. I plan on an hour and a half to two hours to get everything done. Granted, I am shopping for one.

2) Do your weekly grocery shopping then.

3) Get home from the grocery store (Wegmans for the win!) and immediately get into cooking mode.

4) Cook enough food for your lunches, and dinners if you know you'll have busy evenings.

5) Separate what you have into five portions, into whatever dishes that you use to take your lunch to work. Portion control, as well as an actual healthy meal is important; you don't want to be hungry an hour later, but you also don't want to overeat.

6) If you pack fruit or veggies to snack on, separate those as well for the five days.

7) Done!

Tip: don't forget to actually bring/eat those meals.

In my experience, meal prep has been a step in practicing mindfulness. Taking control of what I eat and how much by taking the time to prepare, instead of running out to grab something on lunch, has been beneficial to my health, and I hope it is something you can experience as well.