I know what you’re thinking. Perhaps it goes something like this, “But I want a meal plan. I want you to tell me what I should eat, how much I should eat, and lay it out in a handy meal plan.”
There are a few problems with meal plans. They tend to be very “black and white.” Either you’re “on” a meal plan or you’re “off.” And if you’re “off,” you feel like a failure. In the same way that short-term cleanses or 21-Day sugar detoxes foster feelings of guilt when you eat a food you’re trying to avoid, meal plans can foster a sense of shame because you’re either “on” your meal plan and successful (briefly), or you’re “off” and a complete failure.
Striving to eat perfectly according to a meal plan is not compatible with real life. Meal plans are too inflexible. What happens to the meal plan when you’re kids get sick, or you have to work late, or you’re on vacation? You’ll find yourself “off” your meal plan and feeling like a failure because you couldn’t stick to the plan.
Meal plans assume you have the skills to follow the plan. In order to be successful you have to know how to grocery shop, prepare and cook food. That’s a tall order for most people. What usually happens is people buy all the ingredients needed for the recipes in the plan, but end up tossing the food away because they don’t have the kitchen skills necessary to prepare the meal.
A meal plan is the gym equivalent of asking a guy who can barely do a pull-up to compete in the CrossFit Games against Rich Froning. It’s a sure-fire way to failure.
There is a better way! Instead of struggling to adhere to a meal plan, habit-based nutrition coaching teaches you skills like learning how to tune into hunger cues, learning how to grocery shop and choosing better options at restaurants. Habit-based nutrition coaching is flexible because habits can be practiced anywhere in any situation. And it creates a healthy attitude toward food, lifestyle and stress. Habit-based nutrition coaching is about you learning what works for your body and your lifestyle.
By Nyree Segui RHN
Nyree is owner of Premier Martial Arts/Grand River CrossFit. She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, LVL1 CrossFit, Elite Level Trainer with the ISSA and CrossFit Weightlifting Certified.