Meal Plans

Why I don't create meal plans and why you should not look for one
“I want a plan. I’m sick of trying to figure all this stuff out! Just tell me what to eat!”
Is that something you would say?
 
Let me provide a different perspective.
 
First and foremost, I understand you. I was in your shoos, looking all over the Internet for the right meal plan for me more than once. Guess what?
 
I never found a meal plan to stick with. There was always some food that I could not get locally or did not want to spend what they were asking for the item.
 
 
So I started looking for personalized meal plans. Those usually come as a part of a service or separately but were relatively pricey! I am speaking 60€ for a meal plan alone for a month. And honestly, I am not sure I would stick to the T with it!
 
 
In the end, I am glad I have not bought any meal plan because I had to choose the harder way, which gave me an opportunity to learn about the food I’ve been eating and principles of nutrition so now I can create meal plans and finally become millionaire!
 
 
Here are the main issues with meal plans:
 
  1. When you have a meal plan, does it mean you will stick with it? It is normal to want to eat something that is not prescribed and it could even be superior choice! Or maybe you don’t have some of the groceries. Or maybe, you have everything ready but preparing the new meal is way out of your comfort zone. These factors might create unnecessary stress. And what if your friends invite you for a dinner or you are forced to eat outside – will you be able to make good choices?
  2. Even if you follow the meal plan to the T, you don’t learn that much along the way. I follow the idea “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
  3. Meal plans focus on macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins) and/or total calories. They might not take into consideration nutritionally important factors as micronutrition but most importantly, meal plans don’t account for human variables such as changes in preferences, lifestyle stress and other fluctuations we experience daily. Sure, the technology nowadays is very advanced and you can get very personalized meal plan without spending much money. In the end, meal plan is just one tool that is useful for a very specific goal and to be used for a short period of time.
  4. A factor that I have never seen accounted for is “how you eat”. Do you eat your meals slow or fast? Do you chew your food thoroughly or do you gorge yourself mindlessly? The eating habits and skills might be even more important then the actual food you eat.
  5. Meal plans are short-term ‘solutions’. Once you are done with your one-month meal plan, then what? You will either buy a new one, follow the same meal that you just finished or, which is the most probable, you fall back to your old habits and you are where you started. You lose the results you have so heavily invested in and possibly feel like failure afterwards.

Food log experiment:

For example I experimented and logged all my food over a three days period. To minimize the possibility to eat more or less than I would usually do by knowing the numbers, I weighted my food in a way that I did not see the number on the scale when loading my plate. Then, I logged my food after the three days period.
 
The result surprised me. Each day I had pretty much the same caloric intake (within 100kcal range). How is that possible?
  1. I am consistent with what I eat – I rotate several meals and use the same mindset when preparing them.
  2. I have consistent eating habits – I eat three times a day, without snacking. That leads to similar portion sizes and even if I am hungrier and eat more for lunch, I naturally eat less for dinner. Like a human being.
  3. My daily activity is pretty much similar – My training is consistent, my daily activity is consistent as well. And even if I move more on some days than the other, it simply reflects on my appetite. Some days I move more and I am hungrier. Some days I move more and I am less hungry but it catches up with me a day later.

When you have consistent eating patterns (habits) and activity patterns, it is very simple to modify your intake without knowing or counting your calories.

If I wanted to eat more, I would keep my meals and meal schedule the same but squeeze in a snack for example.

If I wanted to reduce the amount I eat, I would eat a smaller dinner or substitute grains/legumes for leafy greens. It is simple as that.

 

Conclusion

The main point is that we are not machines, robots nor calculators. Having a meal plan is  like a recipe book. People buy them, try a recipe or two and then move on. You will simply not become a chef if you buy a recipe book! To become a chef you need to understand the meal preparation techniques and principles behind food combinations, flavouring and cooking techniques.
 
I am not here to create robots even if it means losing income. Meal plans alone have a specific use. But my goal is to teach you principles of a good nutrition that you will be able to use forever.

Learn how to best fuel your body

If you want to learn how to best fuel your body, stop tracking your food and meet with Daniel who specializes in sports nutrition and can help you create a sustainable diet/food plan that fits your unique needs and lifestyle.

After clicking the link below you will be redirected to an intake form where you leave your details. I will get back with you within 24 hours.

Looking forward to hear from you,

Daniel

Lean, powerful, healthy with nutrition approach that works for you

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