A lot of us believe that if we could just have someone else tell us exactly what to eat and when, all of our problems with our body weight would magically disappear.
We would be able to just get on with our lives and not have to think about it.
A big part of the reason for this is because we feel that food and nutrition is complicated.
The media keeps bringing out new enemies for us to worry about.
One of the latest I have heard, is that calorie counting doesn’t work and everyone should start fasting!
It can make the whole idea of eating for weight loss feel overwhelming.
The idea that someone else could make all the decisions for us is very appealing.
However, is it really what you need?
If you have a super busy life and plenty of disposable income, then having your calorie controlled meals prepared and delivered to your door, will certainly bring you results.
If you don’t eat anything else!
You will get results and it’s one less thing to think about.
If you could afford to keep this up for the rest of your life, then why not?
You could get the same result by stocking up on higher protein, lower calorie, supermarket ready meals.
Couple them with a pile of frozen veg for each meal and you will also get results.
It will be much cheaper!
Things start to get more difficult when you want a meal plan that you can cook for yourself.
A meal plan is easy to follow, until you don’t want to follow it anymore.
When you go to a party, are you going to take your own food?
Will you take your own bolognaise in Tupperware because you know how many calories are in it?
Unless you are a professional athlete you should not be avoiding social events or taking your own food!
Another problem with meal plans is that they destroy autonomy.
You lose the ability to listen to your internal cues.
Instead, you rely on the external cue of the plan for when to eat and how much to eat.
It is like having a Fitbit tell you when to sleep or move.
Using MyFitnessPal to tell you how much to eat, rather than relying on hunger cues.
More and more we are losing traction with our internal cues.
We tell ourselves we don’t need to sleep because our watch tells us we had 8 hours sleep;
We do not need to eat because we have had what our plan has told us to eat.
We do not need to exercise because our we have completed our step goal, etc. etc.
When you are following a meal plan what do you do for eating out?
At a friend’s house?
You are much more likely to say ‘Fuck it’ and go into sabotage mode.
You have not been practising any principles of eating in moderation or of making sensible choices.
At Next Step Nutrition we do use some plans and templates.
We will give example meal templates to help clients develop a framework.
We may give example meal plans to show what xx number of calories look like throughout a day.
We are teaching and following the principles of knowing your energy needs;
Eating a good amount of protein;
Eating plenty of vegetables and fruit:
Food – not too much, mostly plants.
Whether you are buying pre-prepared meals, ready meals or cooking everything from scratch;
These principles remain the same.