Why I Stopped Giving My Clients Meal Plans
When you become a certified holistic nutrition consultant one of the things you’re taught to do is create meal plans for clients. It never has to be something set in stone and can be given as an example of what they can eat, which is how I started. The truth is I hated creating meal plans and it never felt good to tell people what to eat. It felt off for me because it didn’t align with my beliefs and values.
I actually tried charging extra for the meal plans, hoping people wouldn’t ask for them but they still did. I saw people using meal plans as another form of dieting. They approached them with black and white thinking, in that this was what they would eat and nothing else, no modifications. The problem with this is that restriction and those rules are what cause binge eating, so it just perpetuates the cycle. I did absolutely refuse to put amounts/calories/macros in my meal plans to which people would ask, “how much am I supposed to eat?” My response was to listen to their bodies and eat enough so that they felt full and satisfied.
I realized fairly quickly that my desire was to work with women that struggle with binge or emotional eating and teach them how to listen to their bodies, as they’ve become so disconnected.
I want to help women remove all the rules and get to the root cause of why they binge or emotional eat. A meal plan simply will not do that. People often look for a meal plan to follow thinking if they can just willpower their way through it they will prevent the next binge. The problem is they are using an external fix for an internal issue that actually requires inner work. You don’t need more control around food, if you’re feeling out of control with it. What you need to is to look deeper because I’m telling you food isn’t the issue.
Meal plans take you out of your body, away from your intuition and into your head.
This is probably one of the biggest reasons why I stopped giving my client’s meal plans. When we practice asking and listening to what our body wants we’ll be able to nourish it better than any meal plan can do. In my yoga teacher training this weekend, we learned that there are 8 million ways to practice yoga because there are 8 million people in the world. It really is the same thing with diet. Each of us has a unique way of eating that works best for us and will change as we go through life. For more tips on how to ask your body what it wants go watch my video on How To Trust Your Body.
Meal plans don’t teach you how to feed yourself for life.
Another reason I stopped creating meal plans is because they don’t teach you how to feed yourself. I want my client’s to be independent and not need my help anymore. When they can listen to their bodies they will never need someone else to tell them how to eat and when. They can disregard all the noise online and in the media when they just learn to trust their bodies.
Your body knows better than I or any other guru out there.
This is an important reason and embracing this will help you release the need to constantly be looking for an external fix. This will also help you release that need to control. Control is never fun and it always feels off, heavy, anxiety riddled and hard. When you release control things flow, feel light, joyful and peaceful. You tell me, which better describes the relationship you want to have with food?
Initially I actually get my client’s to create their own meal plan. The purpose of this is to get them on a regular eating schedule to prevent binges. It teaches them to plan ahead, but at the same time it’s not set in stone either. They’re allowed to decide to go out and buy lunch instead of eating the lunch they packed themselves, if they’re just not feeling it. The purpose of them planning their own meals is to also get them to experiment and see how different foods feel in their body. They also introduce fear foods after we’ve done some work around that mindset, so they can truly understand these foods won’t kill them or make them gain weight over night, not that I ever recommend weighing yourself either. 😉
Now I only discuss food in one session out of the 12 in my EAT FROM LOVE Journey for women. Most people that come to me have too much information in their heads about food already. The week that I do talk about food basically discusses whole foods with no rules, and it’s mostly to teach them how to balance blood sugar. Low blood sugar is another trigger for binge/emotional eating so it’s important information. The rest of the time we’re digging into the inner work, getting to the root cause of why you turn to food and helping you make mindset shifts to change your relationship with food and your body, therefore changing your life!
One of the first steps I take my client’s through is food journaling to look a their emotions and triggers around food. You can grab my free EAT FROM LOVE Food Journal here, which is the very beginning of diving into this internal work.