I’ve seen many people advertising meal plans for sale, books about meal planning for weight loss, and all sorts of nonsense that sells around meal planning.
But from my experience, meal planning is not the dieting bright side everybody’s trying to sell.
The first reason why I say this is the following: „Do you know what you’ll do every day for the next seven days?”
You can ruin a full week of dieting by just one day of missing the written plan. How?
- Maybe tomorrow you’ll have some unexpected event in your life
- Maybe you won’t have access to all the food required by the meal plan
- Maybe you’ll have to go somewhere, and you’ll skip a meal
- Maybe you go a bit overboard, and cheat yourself with some sweets
There are many reasons why a meal plan can’t work in certain conditions.
I’m a fan of flexible dieting because in my opinion this is the best strategy for long term dieting adherence, and weight loss.
Not only that but studies show that people following rigid meal plans for weight loss or rigid diets, are more likely to fail and develop dangerous eating behaviors.
Also, studies show that when you enjoy eating in a flexible way that doesn’t interfere with your lifestyle, you have an easier time controlling your caloric intake over the long term.
This translates into less risk of dieting fold or binge.
That’s why I believe that educating you to do your own meal planning for weight loss is the best way to handle your eating behavior.
I decided to show you why most meal plans for weight loss (almost) never work, and how to create your meal plans.
What I Don’t Like At Meal Plans
They Encourage All-In Thinking
It’s like a last resort poker move. You are either going all in or get nothing at all.
It can be the same with your meal plan. If you somehow don’t manage to eat a meal or consume a certain food from your diet plan, you can be susceptible to the all in mindset. Here’s an example of the failure though process:
„I failed to stay on track today; I might as well skip this day and eat how I want”.
This can encourage binge eating.
Also, following a rigid meal plan can make you crave certain foods more than usual, so when you are exposed to that food, you are more susceptible to cheat yourself by eating.
They Can Lack Variety
Let’s say you just got a meal plan with four meals per day, equally spaced, and some small snacks.
If you are that type of person that can’t eat the same thing over and over again, you just got a problem.
Also, if your meal plan is not varied enough with plenty of vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber foods, you can run into micronutrient deficiencies (vitamins and minerals deficiencies).
They Make Your Social Life Rigid
How many times you got out with your friends, and they said they are on a diet?
How many times you got out for fun time, and you saw people stressing over calories, and dieting stuff?
We are social creatures. We enjoy communicating and connecting with other people. When we go out for some good time or relaxation, we don’t like to look like the desperate person that’s on a diet, and can’t do anything.
“I can’t drink this. I can’t eat that. I can’t do that. Because I’ll ruin my diet.”
I can bet you don’t want to be that one. You don’t want to be the one that’s acting weird. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go out, and stay on a diet even if you have a bit of fun time. Don’t worry, I’ll show you how.
They Can Restrict Your Time
If you don’t get educated about a proper diet plan setup, you’ll probably be forced to follow the one you bought or saw over the internet.
But what if that same personal trainer, social media guy that’s ripped or whoever’s giving you a meal plan, tells you to eat your 3’rd meal at 3 PM and you can’t do that because you have a meeting?
Well, you’ve just „ruined” your diet meal plan. This can escalate into binge eating, and you’ll eventually give up to all this dieting „charade”.
Studies show that most people regain their weight back after they lost it.
Rigid meal planning is a good reason if you ask me.
They Can Sabotage Your Fat Loss
Your energy expenditure is not static.
Let’s say today you’ll burn 3000 calories. Tomorrow 2743 calories. The day after tomorrow, 2000 calories.
Not only that but as your weight goes down, so your energy expenditure.
You are moving less weight with the same body. This means your energy expenditure decreases as you lose weight.
You can only follow a diet plan for fat loss for a specific period. It’s not a be all end all solution.
But what if your diet plan doesn’t work as expected? What will you do?
Heck, everything needs adjusting.
They Are (Almost) Never Properly Set Up
I’m doing meal plans for over six years through my coaching program. But it takes me 4 days to do a proper meal plan for fat loss because I actually take time to study your lifestyle, psychological, and biological factors. I take everything into account when I create meal plans.
I’ve seen many meal plans constructed over this time, and I almost always get annoyed when I see rigid meal plans made in a hurry or copied from somewhere on the internet, just to take people’s hard earned money.
A proper meal plan has to include a wide variety of foods per your personal taste preference, medical allergies/intolerances, socioeconomic status, and personal ideologies.
I rarely see one that’s that good. The great majority of those sold from a huge and ripped social media guy (on Facebook on youtube), are nonsense and don’t work for natural people.
DISCLAIMER: If you search on youtube INSERT NAME + IS NATURAL + SCAM, you’ll probably find many of the so-called aft loss guru’s or idols selling diet plans.
What I Like About Meal Plans
They Can Save You Valuable Time
In my opinion, the biggest benefit with dieting meal plans is that they save a lot of time.
There’s no more second guessing what you are going to eat at a certain meal. Everything’s on paper.
If you are a busy person, getting a meal plan or creating one yourself is certainly going to save a lot of time.
They Can Make You Consistent
This can be a positive benefit if your meal plan is set up correctly.
There’s a saying: „an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
As I said in one of my email broadcasts from my DTM method, you have to think long term. You have to go step by step towards your goal.
Following a meal plan for weight loss today, will prepare your body for tomorrow. Following the meal plan tomorrow, will prepare you for the next day.
And if everything goes well, in the next 7 days you’ll see your first results. But you have to be consistent with the meal plan. Day in day out.
Everything you do with your body takes time.
- You want to lose some fat, and keep your muscle mass? It takes time depending on your current body composition
- You want to build some muscle while keeping the fat gain in check? It takes time depending on your current body composition
They Are Straightforward To Follow
Following a diet meal plan is as straightforward as you can get it.
- You won’t have to bother with calculating how many calories a certain food item has, or a meal.
- You won’t have to think about what you are going to eat next
You can just reach the fridge, grab the food, and consume the quantities listed.
But what if you can’t afford to get a meal plan for weight loss? Or you simply don’t want to buy one?
Since you are the one that knows himself the best (I hope so), it should be way easier for you to create a meal plan that fits your life. It usually takes me 4 days to create your meal plan with my coaching program because I take my time to study your lifestyle factors.
But with proper education, you can do it in less than one hour. While it might not be as detailed and perfected as I can do it, you can definitely create a meal plan that works for you.
And a meal plan that works for you even if it’s not the “perfect” one, is still good enough if it helps you progress.
How To Do Your Meal Planning For Weight Loss
While the exact steps I use to create a personalized meal plan are a bit more complicated, I simplified the process into 10 easy steps to create your own meal planning for weight loss:
- Make a list of the foods you are already consuming – This is the first step you should take so you know with what foods you are “playing”
- Find out how many calories you should eat per day to lose weight (my DTM fat loss method comes with a calculator that shows you that – you can sign up to get FREE access here). This is the first step from any diet
- For each meal, select a source of protein, carbohydrate, healthy fats, and fiber (this is also covered in my DTM method for fat loss email course)
- Split those calories into 3-5 meals – the number of meals is irrelevant as long as you hit your necessary caloric intake for the day. Research shows that the number of meals is irrelevant when it comes to weight loss (just eat how many you enjoy eating)]
- Food selection – My recommended approach here is to eat 80% of your food from clean sources like meat, nuts, fruits, veggies, dairy, etc., and the rest 20% from foods you enjoy eating (make sure you don’t go overboard)
- Replace what’s bad, keep what’s good – Since you are creating your meal plan, you should have an easier time following it and maintaining your fat loss – use the foods you are already eating, and make changes where necessary. For example get rid of excess soda, sweets, etc.
- Go Flexible, not rigid – When you are eating in a flexible way, you are actually less likely to binge or fall of your diet.
- The most important thing at the end of the day is to hit your necessary caloric intake. Make sure to keep your protein intake high, and limit carbs and fats.
- FINAL RULE: Make sure you keep a caloric deficit no matter what!
- BONUS: A tool I’ve been playing with for a while and which is good for beginners is this website: https://www.eatthismuch.com/. You can enter your necessary caloric intake for the day, select the number of meals, and the tool will generate a simple meal plan. While not perfect, it can do wonders for beginners. Try it yourself.
Meal planning for weight loss can work for you or against you.
If you are thinking about getting a so-called „custom” meal plan from the meatheads around the internet, chances are you might stumble upon someone that can complicate your life.
If you are thinking about getting a meal plan, study the guy selling one, search for reviews, and don’t complicate your life.
Eating is a big part of your life. You have to eat to survive.
Don’t make it harder. Just make it smarter.
If you have friends or know someone that might be interested in creating their meal plans for weight loss, share this article with them.
What’s your best strategy when it comes to meal planing?