I have made over one thousand meal plans. I didn’t count but I’m pretty positive. And of those thousand meal plans, I can count the clients who actually followed them on about 2 hands and maybe have to borrow a few toes.
Fact is, most people who will follow a meal plan are already dialed in on their nutrition and looking to go from good shape to great shape. But usually we don’t need a meal plan because making a few simple habit changes will have the greatest impact on our success.
Meal plans and practical living
Honestly, meal plans don’t work because life happens. You’re going to be at a friend’s house, go out for dinner, or have to work late. And you’re not going to have your chicken, spring veggies, and sweet potato mash in your back pocket when you get caught in one of these life events. And that’s ok! As long as you have some good habits in place to handle these situations.
And that’s where I see meal plans failing. Most of us simply need to learn some good basic habits and be motivated to stick to them most of the time. If we get caught out of “normal circumstances,” we might not have the perfectly designed meal that we had planned but we can still make some good choices.
I’ve also seen clients completely drop off their meal plan because of one hiccup at a meal. The thought seems to be, “I’ve screwed up so might as well go all the way and start over again tomorrow, or Monday, or next month..” Learning good nutritional habits instead allows us to get right back on track and even make adjustments for those times that we might have cheated a little too much.
Lastly, I don’t care how many meals I design for a meal plan. I could make 6 different meals a day for a whole week:
Meal plans get boring!
I’ve known a few driven, A-type personalities who want such structure in their lives because they don’t want to waste energy thinking about what to make. But 90% of us want some variety in our lives. And that is perfectly sensible, if again, we have some habits in place to build proper meals upon.
Building good habits
My clients and I work together to master nutritional habits one at a time. We don’t move on to a new one until the last challenge is conquered. But one basic rule always exists:
We are intelligent adults capable of making good and honest decisions. There will always be a bad choice, good choice, and a better choice. Make good and better choices most of the time.
If I can get anyone to follow this rule, our chances of success are nearly guaranteed. So start there and if you’re looking for extra help, coaching may be a great choice for you. But remember, nothing replaces self accountability and good decision making when looking for a positive result.