Why I Don’t Write Meal Plans

I often get asked if I write meal plans. The quick answer is “no.”


There are many reasons why. The number one reason is they never worked for me. When someone handed me over a meal plan and said just eat these meals and you will lose weight, I would start to rebel. I came up with a million reasons why I couldn’t possibly stick to the the menu.


Just like the women I work with, I already knew what foods were healthy. Chronic dieters know a ton about food. We are smart. We know too many cookies, french fries, mochas, chips and other processed foods pack on the pounds. We know that eating more vegetables, fruit, lean protein, whole grains and other real foods are good for us. Many dieters also know the benefits of chia seeds, kale, quinoa, and how to look out for hidden trans fats. Knowing is not enough.


It wasn’t learning more about nutrition that allowed me to permanently end my struggle with weight, it was transforming my relationship with food and my body that allowed me implement healthy habits that last.


That meant I had to let go of having someone telling me “eat a cup of cottage cheese with 3 tomato slices for lunch.” All I could think of when I saw cottage cheese on the menu was how much I HATE cottage cheese. No wonder I would start having a huge craving for sweets after eating it. If you don’t enjoy your food, you are going to look for something else to eat.


Most meal plans do not take into account:
* Your personal food preferences. Some people love fish, while others would never touch it.
* How comfortable you are with cooking
* Your busy schedule. If you don’t have time to cook because your kids have to be 3 different places, a rigid meal plan causes more stress.
* How much you need to eat. Some people need more food than others. We are all different.
* The fact that everyone is different. Some people thrive on a vegetarian diet, while others need animal protein to feel their best.
* Your activity level for the day. We tend to need more food on days that we workout hard.


I believe there is no “one size fits all” way of eating.


So what can you do if you feel lost without a meal plan. Experiment with some of the following ideas to find out what works for your unique body:


  • Notice what foods give you real energy. I am not talking about the coffee or sugar which give you a temporary lift only to crash an hour later. Think about one or two foods that make you feel great for hours. Eat more of these foods.
  • Crowd out the energy suckers. Eat less of the foods that make you feel bloated after you eat them. For some people this might be foods with gluten or dairy. For others, it might be the beer.
  • Eat seasonal foods. Summer is the perfect time to add in lots of fruits and vegetables. Our body craves cooling foods, and it is easy to find lots of berries, greens, and more. Go to a farmer’s market to see all the amazing variety of seasonal foods.
  • Eat foods you enjoy. No matter how amazing kale is for you, if you hate it then it doesn’t work for you. There are plenty of other healthy greens to enjoy.

I know these suggestions do not give you a simple answer. Learning what works for your body is easy but it can feel like a stretch if we are not used to trusting our bodies.

Take it slow and pay attention. Your body is one of your greatest teachers. Are you ready to be the student?

3 Responses to Why I Don’t Write Meal Plans

  • I read your full blog so interesting. thanks for sharing.


  • Stephanie says:

    I never used to get bloated. I’m 40, and now I have to really watch it. I’m still in the process of figuring out what causes it.
    Stephanie recently posted..Listening to that Drained FeelingMy Profile

    • admin says:

      Hi Stephanie-
      Thank you for sharing. I love how you are getting curious about what is causing your bloating. It can take time to figure these things out. Start to pay attention to the connection between what you eat and how you feel. The more you slow down and notice how you are feeling, the easier it will be to figure out what might be causing the bloating. Gluten, dairy and sugar are common culprits of bloating. Keep experimenting with your food choices, and keep me posted on how it goes.

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I cannot emphasize how much of a positive change happened in my life than when I first met Michelle. At the time I was underfed and over exercised unable to fathom why I couldn’t lose weight.

Layla San Martin