Why Meal Plans Aren't Working For You
We’ve all been bombarded with social media posts and news articles touting the importance of buying and following a meal plan. Scroll through your social media feed and I’m sure you will find coaches or larger companies selling meal plans that “guarantee weight loss”.
This sounds like such a good deal and look at those people’s results! This will definitely work for me!
On the outside it may appear that this magic meal plan is the answer to all your diet and weight problems. The meal plan is filled with “detoxifying” drinks and supplements to help boost energy and immunity! This all sounds great right?
Sorry to break it to you but these things are bull$#!%!
Let’s first dive into the psychology behind meal plans and why they look so appealing!
The quick fix problem
Everyone is looking for that quick, easy fix that requires little to no thinking. It’s no wonder why supplements that claim to “speed up your metabolism” are so popular and so profitable!
Everyone wants to get to their desired goal by yesterday. The art of patience is lost during a time where kids sports, appointments, career and life stress control your day. You simply don’t have the time to figure out the best course of action to lose weight and get in control of your life.
We only have so much mental and emotional energy each day to put towards all the tasks you must get done. For most people planning for food goes by the wayside and people will fall into the trap of eating out more often, eating less nutrient dense foods, and eating bigger portions!
It then becomes an act of finding what is a quick fix to this weight problem. “Oh look at this - a meal plan that claims I will lose 10 lbs in a week! This sounds amazing - I want that for myself!”
So you’ve convinced yourself that because others have found success with this plan - you can also! It’s just a matter of starting it and following it perfectly just as they did. You can expect those same results...right?
Not so fast!
Meal plans are often sold with pre-designated food choices with specific times and portions. A sample meal plan for a day may look like this:
Breakfast – 7:30am
3 eggs, scrambled
1 cup vegetables
1 piece whole grain toast
1 cup coffee
1 glass water
Morning snack – 10:00am
1 protein bar
1 handful mixed nuts
Lunch – 12:30pm
4 oz chicken
2 cups salad
1 handful seeds
1 glass water
After exercise – 4:30pm
1 scoop whey protein
1/2 cup frozen fruit
1 tsp omega 3 oil
12 oz water
Dinner – 7:00pm
4 oz steak
1 cup cooked veggies
1 baked potato
1 glass water
“Perfect! I can just follow this plan and eat everything that this meal plan states will help with fat loss. I’ll have that weight off in no time if I follow this for the 4 weeks that are planned out!”
This all seems great - a plan where you don’t need to think!
So why do meal plans not work for everyone?
Reason 1: You just don’t stick with the plan!
There are many reasons why sticking to a plan fights against the chaos and demands in life! Here are some examples of what can get in the way of sticking to your plan:
Birthday dinner that doesn't include your steak and veggies!
You really don’t want to eat nuts and a protein bar at 10AM
Kids are sick and require you to miss a meal
You forgot to prepare your lunch and now don’t have your salad ready to eat
When you set your mind to doing something and find that you have roadblocks that get in the way - motivation to continue will lessen and potentially cause you to doubt your ability to live a healthy life.
“If I can’t follow this simple plan, I’m no good and don’t deserve to hit my body goals!”
Reason 2: You do the meal plan perfectly
How can I fail with weight loss if I do it perfectly? What is this nonsense!?
Yes it’s true that meal plans are often used as a temporary change in diet to stimulate some type of weight loss or balance of nutrients. These plans aren’t meant to be kept for months and years on end.
Sometimes we will see that people develop poor eating habits while following a plan perfectly. Think of the person who NEEDS to eat chicken with broccoli everyday for lunch and begins to have a skewed view with their relationship with food. It becomes a process in which no variability is allowed which can impact their emotional and mental well-being.
We’ve said it before - but this All or nothing mindset is not sustainable!
Reason 3: The experience of this meal plan sucks!
This one is simply put - if you are following a meal plan in which you don’t enjoy the foods on there, you are not going to have a good time.
If you are a person who hates eggs but is forced to eat eggs everyday for breakfast - you will regret following the plan.
More often than not this will lead to you overeating on things that boost you up and make you feel good - maybe it’s your go-to snacks of Doritos and chocolate at night!
You need to recognize that food is meant to be enjoyed!
So.. What's the best meal plan?
The best thing you can do for yourself is to find something that is sustainable for the long term. Diet and nutrition changes take a lot of hard work and patience.
“Okay so what can I do?”
Read these 3 tips over and figure out just 1 of them to implement into your life. These tips are sure to set you on the path to weight loss and body transformation that feels right for YOU.
Track all your food for 1 week straight - awareness is a powerful tool that can help aid you into some of the habits you might have formed around food. For example - you might find that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when you get home from work late , you reach for a bag of chips. This has become an automatic process that you don’t even recognize! Switching over to a handful of nuts and an apple can be a game changer!
Choose foods that you enjoy - this almost sounds like a no-brainer! The best way to stay on any plan is to eat foods that you enjoy. Now I’m not suggesting that you should eat Wendy’s chicken sandwich’s everyday because you like them. It is important however to consider that you are a unique human being who has your own tastes and textures that are easier to eat. We like to have our clients focus on choosing 3 go-to meals that they can use in a pinch. Meals that are well rounded (include a protein, vegetable, carb, and a fat) will develop the consistency needed to work towards your body weight goals.
Try doing just a little bit better - We at Forever Fit love this idea - choosing a meal that is just a little bit better than what you normally would have. For example: if you normally eat get a burger with fries for lunch - try to add a side salad with your burger to up that veggie intake! This puts you in a little bit better position and is a small enough change for you to feel confident about it. Think slow, long term change!
It’s all in your hands!
I’m here to tell you that you have complete power and control over your weight. There are no magic pills, or magic plans that work for everyone. Just because your neighbor or spouse has found success with meal plan X - doesn’t mean that it’s supposed to work for you as well.
Think of everyday as an opportunity to become just a little bit better, a little bit closer to your goal.
Everyone knows by now that “they should eat their greens” and limit or avoid fried food. No meal plans are going to tell you to eat a cheeseburger for lunch.
The most important thing is to find what works for you at the pace that you feel comfortable with. This isn’t a sprint - but a journey!
If you are looking to start your Forever Fit Journey - reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook and schedule your free assessment!