Diary prep is at the heart of the shapeshifting process. It is the scaffold that will hold up the 4 pillars (if that is not milking the construction metaphor too much!).
NB Only do diary prep once you have been through the menu planning process and are happy to create a week's menu in one sitting.
What Is It?
You need to be able to wake up every Monday morning knowing the following information:
#1 What your menu for the week is
#2 When you are cooking/food prepping (specific days and times)
#3 When your activity sessions are (specific days and times and how long each time)
#4 When you are diary prepping for the following week
Diary prep is having all this information together in one place, like a diary.
Below is my process for diary prep. Follow or adapt it as you see fit.
Step 1: What Sort of Week Is It Going To Be?
Got wall-to-wall meetings on Tuesday and Friday? Then plan around these. If you know Wednesday is your longest day and you won't feel like cooking or exercising after work, then menu plan so that you only have to defrost something and heat it up, and plan to exercise before work - or not at all.
In your diary make any notes to remind yourself of particular events that may mean you have to shift cooking and exercise sessions around.
Step 2: Fill in Your Exercise Sessions
If you have set yourself the goal of 5 x 45 min sessions, put them in your diary - exact times. Now you have reminded yourself of your busiest days, you have a good idea of how to spread exercise out.
Step 3: Decide when your diary prep time will be (for the following week)
I recommend you do diary prep the same time and day every week, if at all possible. This way your resistance will ebb away faster.
Here at 4pm on Wednesday I will do the prep for the week beginning 13 Jan.
Step 4: Menu Planning and Food Prep Planning
I've left this til last, because you can batch cook and maybe have someone else cook for you on super busy days. Meaning that food prep can be more flexible than exercise or work (ever tried to get someone else to go for a run for you?).
For this part, I choose the meals for each day, decide when I will prepare each one and then add the ingredients to my online grocery order meal by meal.