In the nutrition and fitness industry meal plans seem to be the staple for anyone looking to improve their eating habits and possibly lose some weight.
The most common question I get when a prospective client comes to find out more about my nutrition program is, ȁCDo I get a meal plan?ȁD
My answer: No, I don’t do meal plans.
Now, I am not saying that there aren’t scenarios when a meal plan is necessary, because there are. However, unless you are getting paid to look a certain way or competing in a bodybuilding competition, they just aren’t needed.
1. The client does not follow the plan
Most clients start off very excited, committed and ready to shed those pounds! However, life happens, and they just don’t do it.
2. The client sticks the plan 100%
The second issue I’ve experienced with meal plans is that some clients are great at following a meal plan; However, they continue it on for too long, increasing their chances of eating disorders, hormonal imbalances, metabolic dysfunctions and a negative body image outlook.
Most meal plans are designed to help a client reach a short-term goal, such as losing some inches around their waist for a vacation or wedding. They are meant to be temporary, but some clients see progress and become overly obsessed.
3. The client follows the plan a few weeks but hates it
Out of the 3 issues I am mentioning today, this is probably what I experienced most when I used to create meal plans for clients.
I would have someone come to me with their goals and aspirations, be fully committed to the cause and then eventually become disgusted by their meal plan and quit.
The food they were eating didn’t make them happy. They food they were eating had no flavor. The food they were eating didn’t even seem like food to them, rather macronutrients to fit in for the day.
Eventually, the client would get to the point they never wanted to see another piece of broccoli and chicken again. The thought of ȁCeating healthyȁD repulsed them.
Why does the nutrition and fitness industry push this? Yes, they get clients who show short-term success, but then they rebound back to their old ways.
So, what’s the answer? Making a meal ‘just a little better’
Precision Nutrition likes to use the idea of a ȁCTransformation GameȁD. The idea is to look at the meals that you normally would have for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and focus on how you can make them ‘just a little better’.
There are 4 stages to improving a meal. Below is one example of how to transform your breakfast based on a Precision Nutrition example from their article ȁCMeal plans usually suckȁD:
Let’s say your go-to breakfast is a caramel macchiato with a raspberry and white chocolate scone.
You pick it up in the drive-thru and eat it on your way to work.
This is your starting point. It’s not ‘bad’. It’s just no longer good for you.
You’re getting indigestion from rushing, the scone doesn’t hold you very long, and you’re getting a sugar rush from the coffee drink.
Now, your next step is to improve this breakfast meal just a little bit
Naturally, you’re still rushed and busy, so you eat your breakfast with a little distraction at work.
However, this is still a great start.
The next level:
Now you are serious
Way to go!
Now, I encourage you to try this on your own with your lunches, dinners and snacks. See how you can make your meals ‘just a little better’.