Somewhere along with the creation of the marketing of nutrition and exercise, people started believing they needed rules to follow for what to eat and when to move (play).
For example, people think they need a meal plan. But they don’t.
When I first started in the fitness industry, I was excellent at writing exercise and meal plans for my clients with all sorts of pictures, charts and schedules – my filing cabinets and shelves were full of programs tailored to each person’s needs.
I came up with all kinds of unique plans based on what my clients said they wanted. I was proud of my creativity, and the time I invested in making each one unique.
How many of my clients do you think stuck to their plans? Maybe 10% or less.
I realized that even the best exercise or nutrition program wouldn’t work unless a person is ready, willing, and able to do the work on their own.
And it wasn’t going to work if it wasn’t fun! If something is too time-consuming, too restricting, or too challenging, people won’t stick to it.
People want to know what to do. They want rules.
“What’s better, cardio or weights?”
“Can I still have wine? It helps me wind down after a stressful day.”
“Is it better if I don’t eat carbs ever again?”
They keep looking for another health hack. Or diet. Or a meal plan. One that they might like this time and will stick to and finally get results. Give two people the same meal and exercise plan, and they will get very different outcomes.
NOT because one sticks to it, and the other doesn’t (although adherence can also be a factor), but because everyone is different.
Meal plans don’t work because everybody is unique.
Here’s the reality. Everyone on this planet has different DNA. Meal plans are not just for our weight and size.
Proper nutrition must consider our amount of muscle tissue, activity level, stress levels, quality of sleep, health status and even our body type, our genetics and our past health history.
If you were to follow a meal plan, it would need to be tweaked often to get and keep delivering results for you.
In my years of coaching, adherence to a “Meal Plan” often stops here, usually because the prepping, measuring, shopping and cooking become overwhelming. So, ordering pizza seems more logical instead!
So start simple.
Wouldn’t it be far better to start with a basic approach that is SIMPLE AND EASY and then make adjustments?
In the clients I work with, especially women in The Play for Life System, they are relieved that there are no rules. Just tools to help them succeed in a way that makes sense to them.
One important place to start is with what is actually on your plate! Can you fill half your plate with veggies, especially the ones you like? Simple, yes. Easy, no!
You can see what impact this has and if you can do it consistently.
Learn by doing what works and doesn’t work – for you. For your needs, tastes, family, budget and lifestyle!
Keeping things simple puts YOU in control. It makes nutrition genuinely individual to you.
Good nutrition needs to control your energy balance, quality nutrients to help you feel, look and perform better, is sustainable, involves awareness and attention, promotes regular movement and is outcome-based rather than focusing on what you CAN’T have.
So, say NO to rules.
Say YES to guidelines, resources, planning, prep skills and strategies.
You don’t need a meal plan. You need to take ownership and aim to get better at that consistency first. Combined with regular play (exercise), it might be all that you need to do to start seeing physical and mental benefits.
I know that one of the most helpful things I can do for my clients is to help them understand what is realistic for their lifestyle, considering their demands and their abilities. I now view myself as more of a guide or problem solver, helping people put their puzzle together.
My job is to help you find a way to play, eat, and move in a direction that meets your life’s needs, and not give you a meal or exercise plan that you probably won’t stick to in the long run.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. It needs to be consistent.
P.S. If you are a menopausal woman who wants to take control of your health, I’d be delighted to help. Doors are open for the next Play for Life System Coaching program. Click HERE to register now!