The simple answer is results, sustainability, psychology, and education. Let us explain:
In this day and age (with the birth of technology many years behind us), real, up-to-date, nutrition and food science exists in a sea of myths and outdated information. One of the most common myths is that consuming certain types of food will cause fat gain (or prevent fat loss). For example, a “bad food” (such as a cheeseburger from a restaurant) will cause fat storage, where as a “good food” (such as a bowl of fresh salad) will not. Due to this widely spread belief, clean eating meal plans and restrictive diets for weight loss and “health” emerged. These diets are still quite popular in the fitness and nutrition industry today.
If you do follow a meal plan you are probably consuming lots of nutrient dense foods, and that’s great! We recommend our clients get an absolute minimum of 80% of their intake from nutrient dense sources to be healthy and thrive. We just hope you get to enjoy a slice of cake or maybe a glass of wine every once in a while, too. Many years ago we too followed meal plans, and while we typically did see results our achievements were short lived, as we were not able to stay exclusively dedicated to the foods on the plan. Once we got a hold of the foods we had been avoiding, it was over — we would over-consume and quickly lose the results we had worked hard for. Over time we found meal plans to be too restrictive and not a sustainable approach to help us achieve our goals.
Here are some challenges with using meal plans for sustainable body composition results:
1. It is difficult to break out of a fat loss plateau. Once you’ve eliminated all junk food and processed foods from your diet (and have limited yourself to “clean” foods for some time), hopefully you’ve reached your goal. If you’re not yet at your goal and your metabolism has adapted to your “clean eating” diet, you will need to significantly increase your calorie burn in order to continue to see progress. Or, you could always eat less of these clean foods, but that isn’t a sustainable solution, at least not for most.
2. One size fits all meal plans are difficult to follow in social situations or if you’re pressed for time. If you go out and the food on your meal plan isn’t available or you’re too busy to prepare the foods, the plan becomes difficult to navigate. When people are forced to stray away from their plans they tend not to make health-promoting food choices, and will often over-consume. We’ve also had clients report that when they were on meal plans in the past they would often skip social events because the foods on their plan were not available.
3. Meal plans are only effective if (and last as long as) you’re dedicated to the plan. What do you do when your family is eating pizza one night and you want some too? What do you do if your friends want to go out for food and drinks? We too used to take pride in having the discipline to stick to our clean eating foods on our meal plan in situations such as this. After a while we realized that enjoying our favourite foods more often (while looking and feeling great!) was a much better, sustainable and ultimately heathier lifestyle for us.
4. What happens when you don’t have a meal plan to follow anymore? It is difficult to learn health promoting and sustainable habits when someone tells you exactly what to eat. When the plan is finished and the resource is gone, people will quite often revert to their old (comfortable) habits.
With our programs you won’t have to worry about these challenges. We have the ability to ensure our clients see consistent and efficient results. Our macro plans allow for accuracy and flexibility, and are backed by real, up-to-date nutrition science and client results.