28 Jun Why Using A Meal Plan Isn’t Sustainable
When you want to improve your eating, most likely you default to following a diet or meal plan until you achieve your goal. But with a new fad diet coming out every week and the rigid structure of meal plans, how can we achieve sustainable results for the rest of our lives?
So, Should I Get A Meal Plan?
No. Meal plans have been integrated into the health field that meal plans seem to be found in every work out program. Sadly, these meal plans don’t work for the long term. Traditionally, Meal Plans follow this structure:
Breakfast – 8AM
2 eggs, scrambled
1 slice of whole grain bread
1 cup water
1 cup fruit
1 cup coffee
Lunch – 12PM
6 oz Chicken Salad
1 glass water
Dinner – 6PM
4 oz chicken breast
1 cup vegetables
1 glass water
1 cup fruit
This prescription may look appealing to clients who want to be told exactly what to eat, but many things could go wrong.
Scenario 1: You don’t stick to the plan
There may be that adrenaline and dopamine rush to start something new in the beginning. But these plans are near impossible to follow sustainably. Life happens. We get asked to join our friends and family at a new restaurant in town. We are called to work early or later and need some quick food. Sometimes we don’t feel hungry at a certain time of day that we designate as our meal time. This can also compromise the initial reason for you starting the meal plan, leaving you to question why you began it in the first place.
Scenario 2: Follow the Plan Perfectly
Though people may follow the plan perfectly, these meal plans are aimed to attain short-term goals. What happens when you attain that goal? Will you go back to the way you were? Conversely if you follow these plans for so long, these can lead to disordered eating habits.
Scenario 3: You follow the plan but it sucks
THESE PLANS ARE NOT SUSTAINABLE. You may see some results but you are unhappy eating chicken and salad everyday. You conclude that”healthy eating sucks” and miss out on how to live and eat more healthily and enjoyable.
Ultimately, People don’t eat nutrients weighed on a scale. We eat food. Food that allows us to connect with others, our own cultural background. Sometimes meal plans are necessary for athletes to prepare for training and competition. But for the average Joe, it’s a No Go.
INSTEAD, think about what you currently eat and enjoy and how you can make it a little bit better.
THINK OF THIS LIKE A GAME.
There are no cheat codes to this game of nutrition and you. Only progression by getting a little better every time to sustainably achieve your goals. Here are some small steps to create progress:
For Breakfast, level up from a chocolate croissant to a whole grain muffin or add in a few bites of fruit.
For Lunch. level up from a fast food burger to a burger joint that uses high quality meat or splitting that bag of chips with a buddy so you don’t eat the whole bag.
For Dinner, level up from mac and cheese to whole grain pasta. Level up from that by adding some chicken or a small salad.
The idea is, take what you enjoy right now and take small steps to where you want to go. How far you decide to progress depends on what YOU want, and what YOU can reasonably do. Also, Enjoy your meals! Give yourself some time to appreciate the food that you put together. Over time, work towards helping yourself intuitively make better choices rather than following a rulebook. Play Your Game. Own Your Game.
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