Reasons I Hate Meal Plans (and 3 Solutions!)

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People have some assumptions about what we do as Holistic Nutritionists.

That we teach people to cook food or cater, or that we make meal plans with perfect calorie-contents that suit the Canada Food Guide.

That I'll sit and listen to you and then dole out 10 reasons why you need more vegetables in your diet.

Not true.

(Everyone already knows they need to eat more vegetables.)

When I first started my practice as a Holistic Nutritionist I did make meal plans for people, because I believed that's what they needed. People told me that's what they wanted. So that's what I did.

That's what people expected from a nutritionist.

But after a year or two of this, I saw something was 'off.' I saw that people were stressing about the meal plans. They were stressed about buying the exact foods on the plan, and prepping them perfectly on time and even setting times for when they needed to eat, even if they weren't hungry.

I saw that it was actually creating stress in peoples' lives rather than removing it.

And I did not want that. I wanted nutrition to feel fun, easy, and most importantly: stress-free.

I would check in with clients weeks after we met and they received a meal plan and they weren't successful - they were complaining about "not had the time to look over it yet" (ouch) or better yet: "I haven't taken the grocery list to the grocery store and done the first step for following the plan."

Double Ouch.

So I changed the way I practiced, I stopped doing meal plans and if people requested them, I referred them out to someone who matched them well from my rolodex of other Holistic Nutritionists.

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I took furthur training in cognitive behaviours and coaching so that I could help my clients make the changes they needed, without having to add incredibly detailed structure and stress to their lives.

I knew that (even basic, simple) meal plans were not the answer.

We are busy enough without making having to make our nutrition another stress in our lives.

The reason diets fail is because it's too much structure and stress. The reason we sign up for the gym in January but stop in February is because it's too much structure and stress.

If we focus on whole foods and mindfulness, we'll get everything we need out of our food without having it cause us pain, frustration or stress.

Holistic Nutrition goes deeper than meal plans. Meal plans aren't real life, they are a false sense of structure that we think we need. But once we have it, we find that it doesn't help but it actually perpetuates this idea that food has to be complicated.

As a coach I'm dedicated to my clients' success.

In my practice, I haven't seen that success comes in the form of meal plans.

It comes in the form of finding willingness to try and fail, to let go of the idea of a 'right' diet, to accept the areas in our life where we are clinging to old information, to take responsibility, to be vulnerable and to hit RESTART, to be coached and coachable, to take the time, to shift priorities, to take matters into our own hands, to stand in our own power, to ask for help and to get the support we need.

Holistic Nutrition isn't about meal plans. It isn't about the details or 'doing it right' or worrying. It's about making healthy choices in the scope of whole foods, and it's about feeling good. You have the power to make choices that feel good, and you always have a choice.

Success for my clients has come in a deeper form. In the understanding of which foods make you feel a certain way. In the understanding of basic nutrition education. [5 Reasons You Need Whole Foods] In the responsibility we need to take to shift priorities in our life to make nutrition as important as we know it is (read: planning ahead instead of relying on drive thru's.) Success has come in the form of my clients doing the real work necessary to make changes.

Solutions to getting yourself out of the rut of believing that you need a meal plan in order to find success in nutrition:

1. Do food planning instead, read this [How to do Food Planning]

2. Read this [Do You Need a Meal Plan] to get other ideas of how to skirt around this idea

3. Unsubscribe to the idea that there is 'one ideal way' of mapping out your food and following it for success, STOP the train of thoughts that makes you think you need to have one as soon as the thought train starts AND try a day of mindful eating instead, read this [A Surprising Weight Loss Strategy]

Meal plans are NOT the answer to your questions.

Success has come in the form of my clients doing the real work necessary, the (sometimes uncomfortable) growth in order to make changes. Holistic Nutrition - the way I do it - is on a whole other level than just simple meal plans.

But that's the level where you'll find success.

Are you ready?

xo,

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