Meal plans can be seen as a necessity by people starting out on their weight loss journey.
It is as if, once they have this plan, they will finally achieve success and they will be able to stick to what’s written on the plan indefinitely.
Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For most, who are trying to lose weight, there can be years of failed dieting behind them.
They could have tried every type of diet that was in vogue at the time, and whenever it didn’t get them the results they had hoped for, the person moves onto the next one.
This cycle can go on for years and the only thing that changes, is the person’s bank balance, as they spend more money on something that won’t fix the issue at hand.
If meal plans worked, there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic.
All we would have to do is to give someone this magical meal plan and send them on their merry way to weight loss success.
We all know that this isn’t how it works.
> The meal plan won’t fix any bad relationships with food.
> The meal plan won’t fix how you feel about yourself
> The meal plan won’t fix the weekly weekend binging
> The meal plan won’t fix the fact that you may hate half of the food written on it
> The meal plan won’t fix the years of negative feelings you have built up towards dieting of any kind, due to years of failing at them.
Meal plans, aren’t designed to deal with any of the issues above. They are designed for one thing. To give you an outline of what to eat at specific times throughout the day.
But, you probably aren’t ready for that, and that is okay.
That’s the thing that you need to understand the most. You don’t need to go to the last resort, to try and get results.
There are many different ways that you could achieve success, before ever having to try and eat specific foods at specific times.
You are currently eating ad lib, so, it is possible that there is little or no real thought going into what or how much you currently eat.
The 1 st thing you need to do, is to find out what you are eating and in what amounts over a week.
Keeping a Food Diary is the simplest way to do this. Over the course of a week, you will write down anything that you eat or drink. Be specific here.
If it’s a drink, don’t write 1 coffee, if it’s actually a mocha latte with cream and 2 sugars added, because that isn’t helping at all.
Be specific with amounts, sauces, butters, oils etc, write everything in and review it at the end of the week. Or better yet, get someone else to do it for you.
Look for things that stand out and you will get an idea of things that may need changed.
Once you have that done, you can start to work on building better habits into your lifestyle. Pick what you think will be the easiest to stick to and start with that.
Make it so easy, that you will think it’s stupid. Like drink water at each meal, every day for 2 weeks. Sounds easy? Go and try it.
If you mess up, you must reset and start again.
Don’t move onto your next habit, until you have successfully completed the first one.
Once you have it mastered, add something else in, like eating protein at every meal.
Follow the same format as above and once you have mastered that, add something else in.
You will notice that everything here is about adding things into your plan, not removing them.
The idea is that the ‘good’ choice you add in will push out any ‘bad’ ones.
Once you have implemented better habits into your plan, you can start to look at the next step up the ladder of success, and that is Portion Control.
I have written and spoken about Portion Control dozens of times over the past few years, so I’m not going to delve into the specifics of it too much, but to plan out your meals and snacks, you would be using;
> 1 palm sized portion of protein
> 1 fist sized portion of vegetables
> 1 fist sized portion of carbs
> 1 thumb length of fat
This is done for 3-4 meals per day and 1 snack.
It ensures that you are getting enough of everything, while not over eating any one macro nutrient and not excluding any either.
Those are the 3 ways that you could start to make changes in your diet, without resorting to a meal plan that will teach you nothing.
You could go even further and track calories, track protein, track all 3 macro nutrients, but they aren’t where you should be starting, they are on the list before meal plans and aren’t a starting point.
Meal plans have a purpose and can be a useful tool, but they are limited and don’t teach you anything that will help you in the long run.
If you have struggled with dieting and your weight for a long time, meal plans aren’t what you need.