Why You Should Just Say “No” to Meal Plans

“The first wealth is health.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why You Should Just Say No to Meal Plans

As a Certified Sleep Science & Nutrition Coach, one of the first questions I’m asked by potential clients and strangers is “can I get a meal plan?”

My answer: “No, I don’t write meal plans anymore.”

Years ago, I would write each person a meal plan with the specific amounts of what was expected to be eaten. After all, it was a staple in the fitness industry. With that said, I realized there was one gigantic problem with handing meal plans over and expecting them to solve everything.

This only served as a prescription to the issue. Basically a Band-Aid to a deep flesh wound. Eat this item, at this exact time, and in this exact amount. It was very robotic.

This robotic approach works for a little bit for the average person and can be useful to the person looking for a rapid transformation with the perfect settings (think movie star preparing for a role).

I even had a meal plan at first when I started my fitness journey.

But, I ran into problems that many people will run into and that is you just won’t stick to the plan. Compliance is low and it’s not our fault the majority of times.

We’re humans, not robots after all. Life gets busy. The regimented meal plan gets thrown out the door when:

  • your kids get sick
  • you get sick
  • you have a hot date
  • your bosses expect (and sometimes demand) you to work late
  • work drained your motivation to do anything
  • it’s someone’s birthday (or a special holiday or event)
  • you have to travel for work or even leisure
  • you just don’t feel like drinking your 9am protein shake

Last time I checked, life exists beyond a 12-week body transformation.

Lastly, you have the meal plan, but it’s complete rubbish. Willpower will only last so long before you’re sick of the process and potentially shout to the masses that healthy eating is bland and takes away all your favorite foods (this is a true story, a client long ago said this to me).

Unless you’re a professional athlete or getting ready for a physique competition, you don’t need to turn into a nutritional surgeon. Being precise and meticulous over every little grain is unnecessary.

Here’s how to easily get started in the right direction while maintaining your sanity

Think about where you currently stand in regards to your healthy habits. In this situation, think about what you’re already eating. Then think about how you could improve by just a tiny fraction right now.

Nothing drastic or going cold turkey over.

Only aiming for a small change and improvement in what you’re already eating and enjoying. One baby step at a time.

Think about the quality of your food as opposed to labeling something as “good” or “bad”. Food doesn’t need to be morphed into the same parallel as the battle between the Jedi & Sith.

meal plans

Your mission for today should you choose to accept: How can you make your meals just a little better today and beyond?

Here’s a past example of someone I consulted with:

It’s lunchtime and they’re busy, so sitting down and eating slow sounds as likely to happen as me walking on water will happen. Therefore, they grab a cheap juicy burger and fries that is greasy and convenient (and quick) along with a big cup of soda. And we’re not exactly sure if the meat is even real meat—not good for the hormones.

They want to improve this situation but completely overhauling the situation isn’t likely to stick.

Instead, they can simply improve this scenario by

  • going to a higher-end burger place where the meat is at least real meat
  • get a salad with the burger instead of fries
  • choose diet soda or water instead

Next stage of the game

  • Meal prep some burgers at home
  • prep your desired side dishes

This is a rapid improvement because you’re bringing quality homemade food into lunch along with knowing exactly what is in your food which increases the food quality.

Things will change dramatically over time if you continually aim for small improvements. Aim for singles instead of always swinging for the home run.

If this kind of style resonates with you or is something that will be of use to you, then you’ll love my online nutrition coaching system that is headed to the world soon. It’s small daily habits to keep you improving 1% each day along with me communicating with you frequently.