You don’t need to look very far for meal plans that promise to help you drop 30 pounds in 30 days. There are hundreds of diets out there all claiming to have the answer to weight loss. Some may promote low carbs, others low fat or high protein. Still others are recommending a dangerously low caloric intake or losing weight through ketosis. Regardless of which diet you have followed in the past, or may be following right now, they more than likely have a meal plan.
Meal plans are one of my pet peeves. I am asked constantly if my program includes a meal plan and have even had clients say, “If you just tell me what to eat, I’ll do it”. I’m sure it would be a lot easier if I just wrote out a meal plan. After all, I know if I told everyone what to eat and they stuck to it, they’d more than likely lose weight. I say more than likely because we are all different and it can take some time to figure out an individualized plan.
Why I don’t write out Meal Plans
So why don’t I write out meal plans? They do make it easy for you. You don’t have to think about what to eat or not to eat, just follow the plan. All the guesswork is taken out of the equation and you can get right down to losing weight.
Until it stops working; and trust me it will stop working.
How many times have you been on a diet that worked great in the beginning but then you hit a plateau and nothing worked anymore? Or maybe you were losing weight just fine, but you couldn’t follow that same old meal plan any longer. It was boring, restrictive, kept you from going out to restaurants, or you had to buy their pre-packaged foods. So you got fed up, went off the diet, gained your weight back, and ultimately blamed yourself for failing; again.
Let me tell you a secret, it’s not your fault.
Diets Are Designed for Short Time Periods
After being on a diet for a certain amount of time, your body adapts to the program, and hence no more weight loss. This is the dreaded plateau. Also, as you lose weight, and hopefully gain muscle if you are working out too, your body’s needs are continually changing.
Meal plans also don’t allow for all the events that pop up in your life: a wedding, a birthday, an anniversary, an office party, and a vacation. How are you supposed to follow the plan now? You probably can’t, so while you’re away you gain weight, or you over eat at the office party, or simple go back to how you were eating before. You see, you have the mentality of either being “on” or “off” the plan.
And each time you go “off” the plan, the weight comes right back on. Why? You didn’t learn anything. You didn’t learn about your body and your unique nutritional needs. You didn’t learn basic nutritional habits that will keep your weight off. In other words, you have nothing to fall back on, no foundation to carry you through the ups and downs and twists and turns of daily life.
I’m sure this is not what you want to do be doing for the rest of your life. You want to be healthy, you want to lose the weight and keep it off and you want to do it in a safe sustainable way. You don’t want to have to weigh and measure your food everyday. I’m sure you don’t want to eat the same thing over and over again and I know you aren’t looking forward to another crazy diets that promises miracles & doesn’t deliver. Hint: if is sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
There is a way out of this vicious cycle, there is a way to eat to avoid all of this and I’m going to spell that out for you now
What You Should do Instead of Meal Plans
What is Habit Based Nutrition Coaching?
Lisa Swanson is an ACE Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified AASDN and PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 35 years experience helping people turn their lives around, she is on a mission to provide relevant and useful knowledge to help women in midlife reach their goals.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.