Nearly every client asks me, “What should I eat?” Even non-clients ask me to just tell them what to eat. The second most commonly asked question is a variation of this question – “Will you write me a meal plan?” If only it were that simple. I could tell you what to eat and I could write you a meal plan with what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat it, but what happens when you’ve reached your weight loss goals? Are you going to pay someone to write you a meal plan forever? Not likely. Why? Because meal plans mean eating at home. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t eat at home for every meal nor do I want to!
The difference between diet plans and nutrition coaching is simple: diet plans think for you. You learn very little about what you should eat and why. There’s virtually zero conversation around what happens when you hit your goal weight. With a diet plan you’re simply executing a set plan. A good nutrition coach provides you with information and tools that you need in order to “learn your food” and understand what to eat and how much to eat. A good nutrition coach will guide you to understand what you’re eating and encourage more balanced options of the foods you enjoy. A good nutrition coach realizes that it’s not about overhauling your food, but rather about making small changes that have big impact. A good nutrition coach wants to equip you so you don't need a coach long term!
Diet plans also don’t get to know you. They are typically one size fits all plans that preach restriction of food options and steep caloric restrictions. The reason they do this is that food restriction and steep caloric deficits get the scale moving. What they don’t tell you is that once you return to your “normal” eating habits, the weight will come back (and likely more weight will be added). A good nutrition coach will look at how you currently eat, make some recommendations for improvements, set realistic goals around your caloric/macronutrient intake, and will keep tabs on how your body is responding (bio-feedback) like your energy, appetite, sleep, mood, and how your workouts are going.
The bottom line is that I could tell you what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat, but that’s not sustainable. What happens when you want to go out to dinner with friends? Or when your schedule changes and you end up on the road during dinnertime. What then? If you haven’t learned your food and how to think for yourself during these real life situations, then what’s the point?
It’s time to get off the Diet Doom Loop. Diet and regain. Diet and regain. Diet and regain more weight this time. Eat a cheat meal and quit your diet because you can’t live on chicken breasts and broccoli forever. It’s a vicious cycle that not only messes with your body, but also messes with your emotions/confidence/self-esteem. Enough already!
Commit to learning your food. It takes time, but it’s worth it to get out of the Diet Doom Loop. Learning your food allows you to navigate through any situation with success. You’ll have the tools needed to make balanced choices while incorporating foods you enjoy eating!