Monday, April 25, 2016

Thoughts on Meal Plans...

Some of my clients are beginning the Fitness Challenge at the West Sac Rec tonight and others are not. I thought I'd share this because even if you're not doing the Fitness Challenge YOU CAN do this with me (you don't have to be client either). This morning I started eating a meal plan that I made just for me and my current lifestyle. I have some hesitation in doing this because I LOVE FOOD. I always have and always will, but I also know that for me personally meal plans work well in the short term. When I eat nearly the same thing, at nearly same time, everyday my body likes it and responds well. Getting myself on a eating schedule and meal plan is how I arrived at the leanest I have ever been (circa 2012). This time it isn't about being the leanest, it just about feeling better in my clothes and making some Yoga poses more comfortable. As one of my former clients so eloquently stated, "It's all about being a size "M."

That said, sometimes wearing a smaller size or getting leaner isn't a big priority because life delivers us bigger "fish-to-fry" (pun intended).  As I'm sure we've all experienced, I haven't had the desire to be really strict, partially because of my schedule, but also because sometimes worrying about how many calories, or grams of protein I've eaten in a day seems far less than important than everything else in my life for the last 4 years. BUT paying attention each day to how much I'm eating is doable right now. This strategy focuses on my daily actions rather than trying to see the big picture. Long term goals are far less tangible and though they may be important in some cases they do not get us through our day-to-day choices. Instead, focusing on one day at a time is how I have experienced and seen the best outcomes. My current objective is not aligned with any specific weight or body fat; it's just focusing each day on the parts of my lifestyle that I can improve upon.

Here's how you can join me:

1. Find a picture of yourself at the weight/body fat/etc. you desire to be. Let this be the picture you glance at when your motivation finds a slump.

2. Set a goal for how much water you will drink each day and perhaps design a meal plan to fit your needs (if you need help here let me know). Aim for high quality and nutrient dense whole foods.

3. Each day do not think, "Oh, when I was____I only weighed ____." Instead focus on the positive and present moment rather than the past. Try this... "I'm eating this food and I'm drinking this water to move the needle a tiny bit closer to where I want to be physically."

4. Eat your meals and plan your exercise with intention and awareness.

5. Grab your calendar and put a little heart of the days that pass to show yourself a little love :-) and to recognize your accomplishment.

My Personal Strategies:

  • When I eat on a meal plan I prep my food in advance and put my days worth of food my lunch bag (sometimes even my dinner), if it's not in the bag then it doesn't go in my tummy.
  • I do not log on myfitnesspal once I've settled into my meal plan because I already know exactly what I'm eating.
  • I start each day with a big glass of water and always drink water before I eat.
  • I drink lots of tea (hot and iced).
  • I carry gum and mints for munchy moments. (I'm always hungry ;-)
  • Lastly, I will not eat when I'm watching TV or on the computer because this is when mindless eating occurs for me.
Side Notes & Disclaimers:
  • Eating on a meal plan does not teach you how to eat healthfully and if your meal plan is not appropriate for YOUR needs when you stop eating the meal plan and go back to your previous dietary patterns it's likely that you will gain weight (probably more than you lost).
  • Meal plans can be tremendously helpful when they're used appropriately for short periods of time and customized to the individual's needs (they are not necessary, but very helpful for busy people). 
  • Weight lost while using a meal plan can be sustained, but education must be provided to the person on the meal plan because eating less calories than needed will slow their metabolism thus decreasing the amount of food an individual can tolerate without weight gain.
  • Final Tip...honor your body, be smart, use logic, do your homework & ask questions!!!


  1. Well said and I really appreciate the Side Notes and disclaimers as it is easy to depend on a meal plan as it does make the day or week so easy. I've been doing that for several weeks now but am trying to focus on the portion control of the meals so I don't go all wonky again and gain more than I lose.

  2. Thank you Julie! It's sounds like you're on good path and making smart choices. Working on portion control is a tough one, but I've found a couple helpful things that I'll share on FB soon! I miss you!