Why Meal Plans Don’t Work

September 19, 2018

Meal plans don’t work. There, I said it! Coming from a Nutritionist, that statement might seem bold, but I have a sneaking suspicion you might agree. Think for a second about all the diets you’ve tried that lasted a few days, weeks, maybe a month max. Maybe you found a plan online with a strict breakfast, lunch, and dinner protocol, or one with a list of foods that was off-limits. Now remember how you felt as you followed this nutrition plan (hungry, tired, restricted?), and how guilty you felt when you inevitably fell off. Most structured meal plans are too rigid and don’t take into account your unique needs. Let’s look at where things go awry!

A meal plan is too restrictive

Meal plans with a designated breakfast, lunch, and dinner don’t allow for flexibility. When your bestie gets let go from her job you need to be there with chunky monkey ice cream and a bottle (or five) of wine…does your rigid diet plan allow for that?

It’s time consuming & expensive

Not sure about you, but I don’t have time to spend an hour preparing each of my meals. I need something fast, easy, and delicious. A laundry list of ingredients also means a long time at the grocery store, and searching for adzuki beans all over the city is not my idea of a fun Friday (true story). And having separate ingredients for each meal means $$$.

There’s no support component

Let’s face it, we are social creatures, we need support and accountability along the way when making life changes. Shifting the way you’ve eaten for years takes courage, and without someone there to break it down and celebrate small victories along the way, it’s easy to fall off the wagon.

There’s no focus on factors surrounding food choice

A cookie cutter meal plan focuses only on the food, but your health is so much more. It’s your mindset, stress, and sleep too…all these things affect what you eat and how you process nutrients. Think about a time when you didn’t sleep well the night before and were overtired. Did you make the best food choice the next day? You probably opted for the bagel with cream cheese in the morning because it’s comforting, quick, and you were craving carbs.

That’s why you need a nutrition strategy instead of just a diet plan. A diet plan isn’t going to adapt to your busy lifestyle. It won’t teach you to choose healthy options in the grocery store, and it definitely won’t show you how to build up resiliency when life gets hectic and meal prep goes out the window. This isn’t Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, you are a unique individuals and I believe your diet should reflect that. You need a way of eating that works with your life, your personality, and your goals.

At IHI we’re launching Infinite Nutrition, a brand new program to accomplish this. Your health needs are complex and you probably don’t have time to search through the excess of information that’s available online (and how do you know what information is reliable anyways??). I’m here to sort through that bull$#*t and develop a simple strategy so you can take action. During the 3-month program we’ll meet at the start to kick things off, then again halfway through for a motivation boost, and at the finish line to make sure there’s a plan going forward. We’ll also touch base frequently throughout with short momentum calls to keep things rolling. I’m all about small, sustainable changes that get your body working for you instead of against you. This program is about so much more than what you eat. It’s about designing a strategy to help you reach your health goals, and providing the support you need to help you reach them, and of course leaving room for chunky monkey ice cream.

Heather is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist trained by the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor and has a Masters of Science in Public Health, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology both from the University of Waterloo.

Heather specializes in personalized nutrition using live, natural, and whole foods and looks at many factors surrounding food choice such as stress, sleep, mood, and lifestyle. She has a strong background in mental health and is passionate about promoting its connection to nutrition. Heather sees clients who are overworked, overstressed, and overtired, and empowers them to bring their body back into balance. She also specializes in plant-based diets, being vegan herself since 2013.

In her spare time, you can find her scouring dog parks for animals to pet, or searching for the city’s best smoothie!

Check out Heather’s blog for articles about health and nutrition https://heatherlillico.com/blog or follow her on Instagram http://instagram.com/heather_lil.

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