Meal Plans Are Not Sustainable

Hear me out on this one. Many of us want a meal plan that tells us what to eat and when. We think this is what we need to lose weight or get in shape. We hire a nutrition coach who promises weight loss (impossible, the promise I'm referring to), who will give you a shopping list, recipes, and a calorie or macro breakdown. Will this help, maybe. Will this change the way you look at food or create a sustainable habit, highly unlikely.

For the handful that it does work, great. For the most of us, it's going to be another 6 or 8-week fad. We'll be motivated and excited at first and soon realize it's not for us. But why?

Most of us eat the same 10-20 meals every month. Some are the same ingredients but different recipes. Making a change from our current meals to a list of new ones is a lot of work. As you scroll through your meals over the next 6 weeks with your "new" meal plan there are a few you aren't excited for at all. Then, there's the issue of finding "healthy" ingredients in local supermarkets too. Not only are you changing your food but the drive to grab ingredients at another location is eating up time in your busy schedule too.

Meal plans work. There is no denying that. Eat chicken, broccoli, and rice for 12 weeks and see the results. You will definitely feel like crap and looking amazing. Even when I do have a meal plan I don't always want to eat the food the plan is providing me. If you have a bad relationship with food, this will only complicate your diet. Going off your meal plan to eat something of your liking can give you a sense of failure, only pushing you further away from the plan. This is another reason doing a 180 on your diet isn't a good idea.

My Thoughts

Most days I don't know what I want to eat for dinner, let alone what I want to eat in a week. Don't take the drastic change. Start with your current meals and ingredients. First off you know what your grocery bill will cost and it will save you money on an expensive meal plan. More importantly, you know you will enjoy the food you are putting into your system.

Swap out one ingredient to a nutritious one. Try greek yogurt instead of mayo on sandwiches. Choose a fat free cottage cheese. Swap generic pasta with a protein or wheat based one. Use egg whites instead of the whole egg (feed the yoke to your pups, I'm sure they will appreciate it). Choose an aged cheese instead of processed American cheese. It's all about small and consistent changes over time.

Another helpful tip is plate and utensil size. Our culture promotes eating everything on your plate. Bigger plates equal bigger servings. Grab a small plate to help with portion control. You can always go back for seconds. Grab a small utensil to eat food slower. Slower eating lets your body chew more often, increasing saliva that helps break down food for digestion. You'll know when you are feeling full too.

Don't eat and scroll. Sit at a table and allow your food to be the entertainment. Yes this sounds silly but most times we shovel food into our system while distracted with work, news, or overstimulating our brains with social media. Use your meal time as a recess from all the thoughts running through your head. We don't want to be stimulated when we eat. Rest and digest is key to building a great relationship with food. Focusing on your mouthfuls gives a head start to digestion and a happy tummy.

Finally, if you want something, go ahead and have it. You aren't falling off your diet by having ice cream. Enjoy every bite of your food weakness and get back to being consistent. As with everything in life, it's all about balance.

The holiday season is fast approaching. Start creating the small changes now to help ease your way through the fall and winter months. You'll be eating for the rest of your life. It's up to you to choose whether you want to spend it chasing the latest diet and fads or creating the small sustainable habits to your current diet.

If you need help getting started schedule an appointment with us. We can help identify the small changes in your current lifestyle. Don't wait until you "have time" to change your eating habits. That time will never come. Get started today.

"There are no bad movements, just more efficient ones."