Why You Should Never Follow A Meal Plan

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I use to be obsessed with meal plans. Like tell me EXACTLY what to eat and I’ll do it. But I need specifics.

I liked knowing that that the guess work was taken out of what to eat and all I had to do was cook. I searched out meal plans and found ones I liked and paid quite a bit of money over time for them.

Then when I started really diving into my own health I realized something- meal plans don’t work.

Why not?

They’re meant to be helpful and if they’re crafted specifically for you, they can be good and beneficial. However, when you get a generic meal plan that’s where trouble comes in. Here’s why.

Meal plans are crafted for a large formula. You’re unique. Not in a rainbow and sunshine kind of unique way, but your gut micro biome is unique. How your body breaks down food is unique. How you react to food is unique. For example, I had a client one time who could only eat 1/2 of a banana. If she ate anymore she got back pain. Me, on the other hand, can scarf down 6 bananas and feel great. Full, but great.

Meal plans don’t give you the flexibility to craft food that works specifically for your body and your gut. They also can lead to a very restrictive mindset. This is dangerous because those recovering from eating disorders, those with mental health conditions, or just those of us who don’t like to be constricted are now either unable to follow the plan or following it creates a whole lot of guilt and shame if we “fall off”.

Perhaps my biggest problem with meal plans is this. You have no clue how to eat afterwards. What happens when you’re done with the meal plan? Unless you really picked up some skills, you’re no better off knowing how to meal prep, cook, and eat for YOUR BODY. This leaves you at square one.

So what’s the alternative?

The alternative is learning how to eat for your body. Keeping a food journal and tracking how your body reacts to food. Working with a dietician or health coach to figure out specific foods, food combinations, and recipes that you love but also fuel your body.

Food should never be about restriction or following only one path. It should be about eating to give your body strength, energy, and the power to go through the day. Food should be a fun and enjoyable experience. That comes from you knowing your body and you knowing your food.

It does not come from a meal plan.

Have you ever tried a meal plan? What was your expense like? Share with us in the comments!

-A