Get Out Of The Meal Plan Trap

Do you feel like you’re stuck in the meal plan trap? You’ve probably heard that in order to lose weight that you need a structured meal plan. While having a plan for the week is a good idea and will actually work in your favor when it comes to both weight loss and maintenance, structured meal plans are not for everyone!

There is something to be said for being organized and motivated but when it comes to weight loss, motivation is not enough to keep you moving forward. We all need a little motivation here and there, but this is a fleeting feeling that will eventually fizzle out. While there may not be a specific time frame for this fizzle, the main takeaway is that is doesn’t last. For some people, the idea of meal planning can give them a feeling of that fleeting motivation. Most often, relying on a meal plan can hinder you from actually learning what you should be eating because you are following a plan written by someone else that doesn’t have any leeway.

Picture this: It’s Sunday. You get out your recipes for the week, go shopping for each ingredient, and place it all in containers. You’re ready to go for the week, and motivated to continue this habit. You did well all week and the next week… But the weekend comes, or some event. That last pre-portioned meal sits in your fridge, waiting to be eaten another day.

What happens when you feel like you’ve fallen off of the wagon, and your motivation has fizzled out? It is very easy to get hung up on these fleeting feelings and then feel like you’ve failed if there is one slip-up. In actuality, it is the daily principles that you live by and the learning process that keeps you getting up!

Remember when you learned how to ride a bike? It took practice, right? You probably fell once or twice, but you back on the bike and kept going! Weight loss can feel like this, with ups and downs. The important part is that you get back up.

When it comes to meal plans, YES, having a plan is key. However, being able to be flexible with that plan is that much more important. How does this flexibility occur? Some things to consider:

-Meal replacements like Optifast that offers 20% total nutrition in 160 calories, allowing the flexibility to be almost plan-free.

-Know your portions if your plans change and you must go out to eat.

-Plan a few days at a time rather than an entire week.

-Opt for convenience foods if meal planning seems daunting.

-Hire a meal prep service that allows you to purchase only the meals that you need.

Recall the principles that you want to live your life by and take one day at a time. Remember, that bike didn’t learn to ride itself, especially in one day! If learning how to plan and recognize appropriate portions seems overwhelming, we are here to help!

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Dr. Angela Tran