Today I want to target the frustration some of you may have experience with, and that is why meal plans don’t work (at least for most of us). If you’ve done one of my online training programs you’ve probably noticed that I give you the healthy basics, and tools to create your own meals, lots of healthy recipes & meal prep ideas, and guidance for building a balanced meal, but its not directly laid out for you as far as: eat this much of this food at this time. I call it a meal guide rather than a meal plan. The reason for this is I want to help you without crippling you. Similar to the concept of “teach a man to fish and he’ll never go hungry” or whatever that saying is. Well the idea is that if you’re given the tools and knowledge to make healthy choices and you know the reasoning behind it and the effects it has on your body, you’re more likely to make those good choices on your own, for the right reasons, resulting in long lasting results. My meal guides focus on realistic goals and healthy habits, relative to your unique starting point and circumstances.
Here’s the deal, meal plans or diet plans aren’t the best solution for a few reasons. Let me break it down for you. First of all, they’re hard to stick to. I mean life happens. There’s always a weekend out with friends, always a holiday, always a party, and if you have kids they’re always going to need food as well. A common statement I hear is, “this week is my childs birthday party, and its a really busy week, so I’ll start my diet on Monday” or “Well it’s halloween, then its thanksgiving, then its christmas, so I’ll start the program after new years.” Well I don’t expect you to give up every party or holiday in your life so that you can stick to a strict meal plan. This may lead us to rebelling and feeling guilty, resulting in quitting all together.
Second of all, meal plans are typically meant for a short term effect, maybe it’s really low carb for example, and when followed for too long can result in issues with metabolism, & hormone levels. Or a quick juice cleanse detox, resulting in water weight loss, but no energy. In other words, the meal plan can be a little too perfect. We need to fuel our body depending on our activity level, and if we aren’t getting enough fats, or carbs, or proteins for a long period of time, certain systems in our bodies will not function properly. We may feel overly tired, overly hungry, and have a bad taste in our mouth for healthy eating. This shifts us into that mindset of resenting “health food” and craving more of our favorite comfort or junk food. Viewing salads & vegetables as “diet food” when in reality this is real food.
Third of all, most meal plans focus on nutrients (Proteins, Carbs, Fats), calories, or measurements (ounces, grams, etc.) instead of actual food. This can be so confusing. When you’re at a restaurant you don’t see the grams of nutrients next to the item, or how many ounces of potatoes are in the dish. With all these numbers and measurements it can be confusing and overwhelming what to focus on and trying to remember all the different recommendations. Was it 50g of Protein, or 60? Am I supposed to have 300 calories for lunch or 400? The point is this can all be nonsense and distraction if you’re missing the whole point of making healthy choices for the right reasons.
When I work with clients working towards fitness goals, I start where they’re at. I have them keep a 2-3 day food journal so I can see what an average day in their stomach looks like. Based on where they’re at, we can set goals, 1 week at a time, to make changes that will stick. We talk about real food, in real life situation, so that we can get real results that will last. I educate on why you’re making the choices and the benefits that will come. If you’re used to hot pockets and dino nuggets, you shouldn’t just immediately jump on the Kale band wagon. Pace yourself and just think, “how can I make this meal just a little bit healthier & better for me?” Maybe its adding a side salad to your hot pocket meal. Then maybe you create a healthier homemade dressing for your salad. Then replacing the hot pocket with a homemade recipe, and it continues until you’re at a level of health where you can feel & perform your best. You will LOVE the process and the positive changes in your body rather than RESENTING your diet or meal plan. Instead of thinking of a list of rules you have to stick to, or what you can and can’t eat, think of food on a spectrum. One end of the spectrum is completely healthy, unprocessed, Organic, grown in your back yard, homemade meal, and the other end is a deep friend twinkie dipped in chocolate. Think of how you can make your meals a little closer to that healthy side of the spectrum. You may find yourself in a situation where the options aren’t perfect, but you can always find the healthier choice. You may also find that the occasional “unhealthy” choice is ok, because its your grandma’s cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, or your favorite flavor of ice cream for your birthday. Its recognizing the difference between splurges that are occasional and totally worth it, and mindlessly eating a box of cookies because they’re in front of you.
Part of my goal with each client is helping them figure out their relationship with food, their strengths, their struggles, and move forward with healthy goals at a healthy pace. Fitting HEALTHY into their lives, not trying to squeeze them into this unrealistic healthy box that we think is the only way to lose weight or get fit.
So if you want help reaching your goals with weight loss & fitness, please send me an email or hit my up on instagram, I would love to get started! But if you’re looking for a calculated, strict, calorie counting meal plan you won’t find it here, sorry! Feel free to send this over to a friend you think would enjoy!
Happy Wednesday Wisdom ya’ll!