I get asked all the time to write diets or meal plans for people who want to lose weight or start a healthy eating program, and all the time I say, “No, because meal plans & diets don’t work!” I’ll definitely give people guidelines or lists of healthier choices, but meal plans and diets aren’t going to cut it for the long term.
Now some of you may be thinking, but if I know exactly WHAT and HOW much to eat, then I’ll be able to lose weight. Well, maybe, but what if you hate every single food on the meal plan/diet I give you? Now what? What are the chances that you’re going to stick with it….really?
I’d say highly not likely, at least I wouldn’t. I’m not going to eat a bunch of foods I don’t like, so why would I assume that you would. I mean, I don’t like asparagus….you think I’m going to eat it? Well, I’m not because it stinks! If someone put that on my meal plan, I would never eat it, so I’d better know what I could eat instead…
3 Reasons Diets and Meal Plans Don’t Work
1. They ask us to make too many changes at once. It’s impossible to make more than about 1-2 changes at a time and expect them to stick. This is proven in science…sorry, I wish I had better news.
For example, what if I asked you to do ALL of the following healthy habits at the same time, and you weren’t doing any of them now?
- Meditate for 5 minutes
- Take 10,000 steps/day
- Eat 5 servings of veggies
- Drink 2 Liters of water
- Eat 80-100 grams of protein/day
That would be BANANAS 🐵🍌! After a few days of trying to juggle all of that, everyone would quit, mess up, or fall off track, including myself. Talk about a #willpower drainer after about a 1/2 day on that plan!
2. Certain foods are labeled as “Bad” or “Off Limits”. The more we restrict certain foods or label them as “Bad” or “Forbidden” the more we want them and the more likely we are going to binge on them if given a chance to after a period of restriction?
What if you just allowed yourself a little bit of chocolate here and there? Do you think it might help you in the long run stick to healthy eating 85% of the time? It’s just something to think about…try it out…it’s a new concept to me, too!
But I’ve found, that if I just have a little bit of dark chocolate on most days, it saves me from binging on the weekends or while on vacation because I know I can have it whenever I want. (Scarcity vs. Abundance Mindset)
3. Diets have definitive starting and stopping points. Diets are usually for 21, 30, 60, or 90 days….then what? You just get to stop? I don’t think so. If we even make it to day 21 eating foods we don’t like and restricting ourselves from foods we enjoy, what happens after that? Just go back to the old way of eating….that’s how the Yo-Yo weight & binge/diet cycle keep going and going. It’s also the reason we feel like we are always starting or stopping all the time, and just can’t get RESULTS!
That’s why I find the best way to make changes is to make the decision to eat healthy (with no start or end date in mind) by building one healthy eating habit at a time. Could you just start by drinking more water? Eating veggies at _____ meals/day? It doesn’t matter what you pick, just that you start!
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Thanks for Stopping By,