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5 Reasons Why I Think Meal Plans Are Overrated

Why I don't give meal plans to my clients. Oh and they still lose weight without them!

One of the first things you may want to know when you make the decision to take ownership of your eating habits is what should I eat. For a lot of people, they opt to go with a meal plan to help them with their goals. Now, I can definitely understand why you may want to just buy a meal plan. They take the guess work away, and you just follow what is on the menu. Easy enough.

With all of the decisions that you make on a daily basis, it is no surprise why you would like to just stick to a done for you plan that you just plug into your life. However, this approach can only get you so far. If your goal is to have a better relationship with food, not feel guilty about foods you eat, and feel what is like to have complete control of you nutrition without a meal plan, and still meet your body goals, you may need a different approach.

Reason number 1: Dependence and accountability

Meal plans are helpful for some, however many people experience success for a short period of time. What happens when you are stripped away of the dependability of the meal plan. I could be wrong, but I hope you don't want to be on a meal plan for the rest of your life.

I love the story that I first heard from Alex Hormozi, who I believe heard it from someone else, but I can't remember who so I apologize. But the story goes, when you were a kid your parents kept you accountable each night to brush your teeth. But as you got older you no longer needed them.

My approach for nutrition is the same concept. I want to work with you so that your success with nutrition comes second nature to you. And when this happens, you can keep yourself accountable and can be totally self sufficient.

Reason number 2: Flexibility, and I don't mean touching your toes.

Meal plans don't (at least to my knowledge), have enough flexibility to account for the fluctuations of daily life. If you are a mother, father, or parent of a family and are driving them back forth, it may hard for you to heat up your pre made chicken and broccoli in a to-go tub on the road. However, if you are taught how to create healthy snacks while on the go, or trouble shoot how we can still hit our nutrition targets on a busy day, or how to adjust your meals for a high intensity training day, you have a way better chance of success.

Reason number 3: Lack of mindful eating

Meal plans by themselves don't help you become in tune with your hunger cues. Most people are either shoveling food down their mouths at fast rates, eat while they are working, or don't know when they should stop eating (I am guilty of this too by the way). What a good nutrition program can do is teach you how to deceiver what your body is telling you. The body's hunger system is complex and it is trying to tell us something. It is extremely hard to listen to it when we are constantly distracted when we eat.

Mindful eating may sound a little hokey to some, but there is a lot of truth behind it. For example, eating slower helps digestion and let's us digest and absorb our nutrition better. In addition, many of my nutrition clients say that just being more aware of what they are eating creates a big change for them.

Think about it, when was the last time you thought to yourself, "is my body going to be getting the nutrition it needs to be healthy with this meal?" Ask yourself these three questions if you want to start being more aware of your food choices

  1. Is this food highly processed, minimally processed, or a whole food?

  2. Do I know what nutrition I am getting from this food?

  3. Am I eating because I am hungry, or just because I am bored or need a quick burst of energy

Reason number 4: They don't know what YOU like

Lastly, meal plans may not know your preferences of what foods you like! Imagine if a meal plan told you to you to have steak, green beans, and potatoes. All good things to have. But what if you didn't like green beans. You may be more tempted to add something else to fill your plate. Something that may not be as nutritious. Or even double you portions of the other foods to balance it out which could end up with you unknowingly eating way more calories than you should.

On the flip side, imagine if you and had your perfect menu of foods of all kinds that you did enjoy and looked forward to eating. I am going to bet you are going to be more likely to stick to the diet and foods choices when you look forward to what is on your plate.

Not only that, there is a huge cultural component to nutrition as well. For example, pasta is a main dish in Italy. A good meal plan should give you that personal touch that allows you you to have pasta every Sunday at Nonna's house.

Reason number 5: Boredom

Lastly, they can get boring. The same thing over and over again can get stale. When I was really trying to stay on top of my foods, it was the same 4 meals cycled over and over again. Which can get boring after awhile. Eggs and veggies for breakfast, chicken, rice and broccoli for lunch, and steak and veggies for dinner. On repeat week after week.

Which is I would much rather show you the elements of what goes into a healthy meal so you can be in abundance of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! This way you can whip up something that is delicious and nutritious with what ever you have in your fridge.

This is not a post to trash meal plans. They have helped so many people. However, my point is that nutrition is more than just following orders. It is about being in tune with what nutrition you are providing your body with, listening to what it is telling you, and learning skills that eventually become second nature. This is how to have a sustainable success with your nutrition!

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