Why I Don't Do Food Plans

I don’t like doing meal plans for people. Now at the risk of appearing lazy, I should say I can, but I don’t want to. Again this is another staple of the personal trainer life, firing out “top quality” meal plans. Really anyone can do basic plans, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually any good, that doesn’t mean they’re actually beneficial to you. Sure you should see progress even with a basic one, but how long will you stick to it? How long can you stick to it? I’ve done nutritional courses, I read up extensively, but I am not a qualified nutritionist, and heads up, the majority of other personal trainers aren’t either. So should I really even be doing a meal plan for someone!?! I’m a personal trainer, a trainer, not a nutritionist. In my opinion, I’m qualified to advise on nutrition, not necessarily to instruct.

But really I don’t like meal plans in general, because they don’t put you, the individual, in control. Things like meal plans make you too reliant on someone else. The idea of hiring a professional to work WITH you is that you should be learning at the same time. When I’m teaching you exercises, you should be absorbing that information. When I teach you about nutrition, you should be absorbing that information. Then you should be applying it to your life. I’ve said before, my aim is to make you self-sufficient, and that’s difficult when you need to be given these plans, but no real information or explanation as to why. Why should you eat this, why should you eat this much. If you don’t have control and understanding, you’ll reach your goal or the end of your plan, and you’ll either then need a new plan, or you’ll go back to what wasn’t working before. Because you haven’t actually learnt anything. You haven’t learned to adapt your diet yourself, to create a diet that works for you.

And that leads me onto the other reason I dislike them; they’re often too strict. A real meal plan probably shouldn’t even start until after a long consultation process. I should find out about your recent food history, how many calories you’ve been eating, what foods you like, when you usually eat, what your day is like, what your family life is like, what stresses you, what your job is like, what your activity levels are, what your relationship with food is like. And then I have to hope you tell me the truth. I mean food diaries are great and all, but I guarantee there’s a lot being left off most of them. And more often than not, none of that is really looked into. You’ll get some pre-prepared plan, maybe you have to put in a bit of standard information, and that’s it. Food you might not even like, food you’ll probably get bored of eating over and over, timings that you can’t manage. So how likely are you to even stick to it!?! You might want to indulge one day, you might be feeling like crap, and you want a bit of ice cream to comfort you. Except that’s not in the meal plan, don’t you dare think about it. Let’s say you’re having a bit of ice cream tonight, you have to adjust the meal plan later on in the week at some stage, but you don’t know how to do that. Because everything is being spoon fed to you, unfortunately not literally, and you have no real control.

So a strict meal plan discourages you from following it, and the lack of control and learning means you don’t know how to adapt and apply it to your everyday life. The only person who really knows what you go through, what you do on a day-to-day basis, is you. So you need to be the person in charge, because you’re the person who knows how things will fit, you’re the person who knows what you’re likely to stick to. Some PT isn’t there to monitor you all day, to look over your shoulder and make sure you’re adhering to everything. That’s your job, and you need the right tools to do that job. Start by making sure you develop a healthy relationship with food, that you don’t think you have to ban yourself from things you actually like, that instead you just have the understanding of how to fit them in your diet. Educate yourself with an expert’s knowledge, and make something that works for you. That’s the best way to get life changing results, because you’ll be making real life changes.

Thanks, enjoy your food, and I’ll be back next week.

Dan Miller

Body Fuel Personal Fitness Trainer