Let me tell you why you should ditch the templated meal plan. Now, I am not saying it doesn’t have a place. Maybe you are a high level athlete and need everything very precise and exact when it comes to your nutrition and supplementation. Understandable. Or, maybe following a plan and having structure is what truly does work for your lifestyle. In this case, by all means, because I don’t care what diet or process you use as long as you can sustain the program and be consistent. Now let’s talk about why a lot of you should ditch the meal plan.

First off, there is no flexibility. You are stuck to what that piece of paper says. Hopefully, that plan gives you the ability to plug and play different protein, carbohydrate and fat sources. If it doesn’t, stay tuned to my next point, but following a meal plan gives you no leeway. So, what if you are a mom with a crazy schedule running your kids around? What if, FOR SOME REASON, you don’t have that meal with you or didn’t have time to make it? Because it happens and you need to have some flexibility. A way to plug in another protein, carbohydrate or fat source, or no where you can eat out when on the go. Be able to grab a Cool Wrap from Chic Fil A with the kids and still feel like you are on track with your diet. And believe me, I have spoken to plenty of people who stress out when the plan doesn’t go right AND THAT IS NOT the relationship you should have with food.

As well as having no flexibility you aren’t learning how to eat! For some, we are very new when it comes to learning what to eat, how much to eat, and when, so following a meal plan isn’t what they need. For a lot of people, they need to start from square one. They need to learn what are good protein, carbohydrates and fat sources and how to portion out their plate and not do what a piece of paper says. If you are a beginner this is a great time to hire a professional to walk you through these steps as it can be very daunting. Whether it’s a friend or coach having that accountability as you learn to eat and then ween you off their services will give you the ability that as you move forward learning and trying new things to be able to do it on your own down the road and maintain your results. What happens after the diet is over? What happens when you don’t have that piece of paper to tell you what to eat? Exactly! You have to learn for yourself.

And to my last point. Not all plans are individualized. Every heard of the phrase “cookie cutter diet?” Many meal plans are very generic and don’t fit your lifestyle. What if you can’t eat 6 meals a day because you work 12 hour shifts? What if, for some reason, you don’t like that what’s on the plan? Maybe you don’t like green beans? What if the plan doesn’t fit your goals? Are you a performance athlete following a plan? I have a client who is a CrossFit’er who was following a templated meal plan leading into a big competition before we started working together and let’s just say it didn’t go well. He was extremely underfed going in. Since working with me on an individualized program we have increased his carbohydrate intake by 250 grams while maintaining his weight, leaning out and his performance increased. I also have lots of clients who need help balancing out their week with their weekends. A templated meal plan won’t be able to teach you how to still have alcohol on the weekend and still get results.

I hope this post brought some light on why you should LEARN to eat and if you have questions I am here. Leave a comment below and let’s chat!