meal plans? you are better off without one…

Today’s blog post is actually an article quote from a newsletter I get in my email… because I really, really believe the message … if you haven’t already heard me say it 1000 times, here it is again – your best bet it to LEARN about weight loss/maintenance – yes even if you choose to pay someone to teach you or hold you accountable, just make sure you are actually LEARNING it.  It’s foreign at first but it’s not difficult ;)

from email newsletter from JillFit Physiques (
[reprinted with permission - emphasis and *** are mine]

“When I first started JillFit in 2010, one of the first online programs I rolled out was a “12 Week Customized Fat Loss Nutrition Program.”

You know what this is. It’s a meal plan with food lists, a few guidelines for water intake, protein intake, veggie intake, a few notes on supplements and a big ol’ good luck to you!

Sure, we customized the plans and I had JillFit coaches that were available via email for clients who needed questions answered and clarifications. But all in all, it was very little work for the coaches, because with meal plans, we encountered one of 2 scenarios with clients:

They’d either stay on them for the duration and get great results for a short period of time, OR
They could not be compliant but for a couple weeks and then they’d fall off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again

You might have done one or both of those things in the past after hiring a coach to get a “customized meal plan.” I’m not judging it, I certainly have.

Usually the first scenario happens the first time on a meal plan. Follow it to the T, get fast great results only to crash and burn later. After the 12 weeks is over, one treat leads to many treats, which leads back to the old lifestyle of that slippery sugary slope. I get that, totally.

But then you think, “Gah! I got in SUCH great shape with that initial meal plan, I JUST NEED TO GO BACK AND DO IT AGAIN!” And what happens? Inevitably you either cannot stay on it like you did the first time, OR it simply doesn’t work the same way because now your metabolism is not as responsive. #yoyodieting

Oh, meal plans! You trick us!

I wish we had learned the lesson sooner at JillFit because I think we did those early clients a bit of a disservice back then, but I’ve come to realize that meal plans, for 99% of people, do more harm than good in the long run.

Sure, you can and will get results on a quick-fix off-the-shelf meal plan on your first go-round, but what about later? What about a year from now? What about forever? What’s your strategy then? You have no tools for that.

But could you see that having to always “be on a diet” is actually a huge issue in terms of quality of life, food obsession and NEVER GETTING ANY BETTER AT ALL THIS?? And I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to have many food choices all the time, and then also have the ability to choose wisely regardless. THAT is the ultimate in control!

Think about it. If you are constantly looking for a new fat loss meal plan and then trying to follow (someone else’s idea of what YOU should be eating based on a short questionnaire) it to the T, do you ever have the opportunity to grow and learn?

Two issues I have with meal plans:
They keep you dumb.*** They assume that you don’t have the mental capacity to learn the insights necessary to understand your own body. They are a crutch. A distraction. *** They keep you reliant.*** And that sucks because you never learn to DIY. If I am a good coach, I want my clients to eventually NOT need me. *** I want to work with them, teaching them everything I know and then release them back into the wild to create the perfect plan for themselves based on the fact that they are now an expert in their own body.
THEY ARE ESSENTIALLY ALL THE SAME. There are only so many ways to say “chicken and broccoli” so the “what to do” is not reeeeeally rocket-science, is it? Think about it. You could write down a pretty good idea of a fat loss/healthy meal plan right now, could you not? The issue is not what to eat, it’s the process. The problem is implementation, not information. You can google “weight loss meal plan” and get a million free plans right now. And yet people are still struggling, so the problem lies in being able to DO consistently.***
I will give you an insider secret: meal plans from one coach or expert to the next are just not all that different. And anyone who says they have a secret meal plan that’s above and beyond anything else out there is delusional.

99% of meal plans are similar. There are no fast fixes, no secret foods or magic pills.

The way you make sustainable change is not through hiring a guru or reading the latest diet book. Do that if you want to yo-yo up and down in weight and be dependent on a plan forever.

The way you *finally* FINALLY get and stay lean is by learning your own body, and what works for it.

And you begin putting in the time. Introspecting, learning your trigger times and foods, learning how to sense your hunger and cravings, learning to stay mindful in those moments and make a strategic choice in that moment.

You learn through trial and error. You learn by eating and then watching. You learn by implementing a single new change for 3-4 weeks and measuring results. You pick and choose your nutrition battles. You give up the need to be perfect every second. You find a way to be okay with a moderate approach so you are not depriving then bingeing.

You don’t “start on Monday,” you start at your very next meal.

Because the idea that anyone else can do any of this for you is short-sighted. Sure, coaches can offer guidelines and help you find adjustments to make and different things to try. But that’s not about getting a meal plan–that’s about actually “getting coached.”


And thank you Jill for putting that into words (that aren’t mine haha) :)



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