Have you said this to yourself? “If only someone would tell me what to eat, I’d be so much healthier.”
Or, even better, “If someone would come to my home and cook healthy, delicious meals for me, I’d finally lose the weight (or lower my blood pressure or not be pre-diabetic).
I have some bad news for you.
It won’t work.
It never does.
How do I know?
I’ve handed out hundreds, if not thousands of meal plans to as many people. Each plan was customized to their caloric needs (for weight loss, maintenance, or weight gain). I customized the plans for different food preferences (gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, even fast-food and dozens of other options).
Do you want to know the truth? The overwhelming majority of people don’t follow a plan.
Yes, there are a few that do follow the plan, but they are not the norm. The people that do follow the plan all have one thing in common, which I’ll get to in a minute.
Why don’t they follow the plan and why won’t YOU?
There are lots of reasons:
Client: I don’t like what’s on the plan.
Me: Here’s a substitution guide. You can use it to find a food you prefer and it tells you what serving size is equivalent.
Client: I don’t know what to buy.
Me: Here’s a shopping list detailing exactly what you need to buy to make the meals.
Client: I don’t know how to prepare the meals.
Me: Here are the recipes. They have no more than 5 steps. Alternatively, just put the ingredients into a bowl (sometimes no cooking was required).
Client: I don’t have time to shop.
Me: The supermarket is open 24 hours.
Client: I forgot.
Me: We have weekly meetings to remind you.
Client: I lost the meal plan.
Me: Here’s another copy and a digital version you can keep on your phone.
There are plenty more “reasons.”
It all comes down to one thing. And it’s the difference between the 1% of people who successfully used the meal plans and the 99% who did not.
It’s the #1 reason preventing you from using a meal plan.
If you believe that losing weight is hard, or eating healthy is boring, or you can’t lose weight no matter how hard you try, or that a meal plan won’t work for you because nothing works for you, you’ll be right.
You will do everything you can to make sure you don’t follow the meal plan.
You’ll want to follow it.
You’ll mean to follow it.
You won’t follow it.
You won’t make the changes you need to your nutrition (or your fitness) to see the changes you’re longing for.
The people who follow a meal plan have already aligned their beliefs. They have made a conscious (and subconscious) decision to make a change and all they need is a bit of guidance to get them started.
What does this mean for YOU?
When we believe that “the struggle is real,” it is real.
When we “struggle our whole lives” against something, we value the struggle. We’re always working towards the body, the health, the weight we want. We value working hard. We value the struggle.
When we threaten to remove that struggle (by changing our habits and doing what we know we should be doing), we threaten our entire being.
And that’s scary. Until we unravel that, we won’t make a permanent change.
Here’s the rub…we don’t figure all of this out on our own.
We need support as we uncover each layer of this inner dialogue. We must examine the uncomfortable, unravel it and change it. It’s much easier to turn our backs on the truth.
THIS is the struggle that is real…looking in the mirror, recognizing our power and our self-worth. Recognizing that we are unstoppable. We are born to enjoy a life full of energy and fun! Everything we could ever imagine can be ours. That’s the struggle. It’s not the meal plan.
My heart broke every time I promised that my meal plan and exercise routine was exactly what my client wanted. I was right. If they followed the plan, they would lose weight, be more energetic and solve most of their underlying health issues.
I couldn’t understand why clients would come in, ask me for meal plans and exercise routines, which I happily gave them, only to have them ignore the plans, forget the plans, or just not follow them. It drove me crazy.
I had to figure out why someone would walk through my door, ask for something, I’d give them exactly what they wanted and they’d throw it away. WTF?
It took me a long time to understand that while I was giving them what they wanted, I wasn’t giving them what they needed.
They needed to do some deeper digging.
They needed to recognize the real changes they wanted to make.
They needed to embrace the power that would slay their excuses.
I could have continued to hand out meal plans and workout routines, but I wasn’t helping them fix the real issues. And it just didn’t feel right.
The work I do with my clients now, helps them discover their underlying beliefs, change them, and move forward. As we work through all of this, I’m there for support, accountability and, really, to keep their feet to the fire (or their pen to their journal) to keep going deeper.
Often, it’s frustrating. My clients struggle to understand what any of this has to do with weight gain or loss. As they gain understanding, habits begin to change. Tasks that once seemed impossible become possible.
It’s at this point that things take off. The nutrition and fitness changes that they’ve been resisting now become habits. Excuses for not doing something become reasons to do something. Time seems to expand so workouts get done. Tastes change and healthier foods become a part of their regular routine. Each day brings an opportunity to try something new instead of demanding they complete a task that they hate.
Is it all roses and rainbows once they have a breakthrough? Nope.
Working through all of this is an evolution. We discover a belief, work through it, and then uncover something deeper that needs working through.
Does that mean you’ll work with me forever? Not necessarily. You can learn the skills and practices and do them on your own.
Most of us don’t do this work on our own.
Making the internal changes to our beliefs so that we can change our habits and behavior is tough. It's an ongoing, ever-evolving change. Working with a coach is the only way I've found to consistently grow and transform these beliefs.
Left on our own, most of us will turn away from this work because it's hard and it's scary. It's easy to keep trying new plans and programs that temporarily fix the problem.
If you've been struggling with your weight and health for years, it's time to make the real change. Schedule a call with me. On the call we will figure out if I am the right person to help you solve your weight-loss and health issues once and for all. If we are the right fit, you'll be invited to join The Women's Wellness Academy Break-the-Cycle program. If we're not the right fit, I'll make some suggestions and referrals as appropriate.
About the Author: Ginny Grabowski, MS, has been helping women get off the weight-loss roller coaster, feel confident and sexy, transforming minds and bodies since 2003. She works with women in The Women’s Wellness Academy, an online program in which she coaches women to master the 3Fs (Food, Fitness, Feelings) to live their healthiest life. Her “Break-the-Cycle” program helps women uncover and transform the deep, underlying beliefs that keep them stuck in unhappy, unhealthy bodies.