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What should i eat? Meal plans, MFP and carbs…

If I made you up a meal plan then I know many of you would think this might be easier for you to follow but honestly I feel that mean plans are not a effective way to create a calorie deficit as making food choices is something you are going to have to always do…

There are pros and cons to meal plans so im going to break down the bad

• They are based around the idea you are eating optimally – actually for Susan lets say eating a vegan diet is most optimal as its aligned to her goals and her beliefs.

James enjoys home cooked meals made by his wife – as three staple meals helps him to avoid snacking

Where as Enid like to eat little and often as this fits around her job and when she feels she has to eat 3 set meals this can cause some digestive issues, so she eats as and when she’s hungry and eats a low fat diet high in protein.

There is no correct way to eat – your preference is key when it comes to eating.

Although eat predominantly processed foods high in saturated fats then your heading straight towards heart disease and strokes, be mindful of that at least.

• Meal planning can trigger a all or nothing mindset, if you eat outside of the meal plan you can feel like you have failed. It has to be perfect or we press the self destruct button or just go for the binge.

You should be able to have food you fancy sometimes without surrounding that food with feelings of shame or guilt, a cake won’t make you put on fat, its our eating habits over time that’s key.

• Events, mood, time management etc will mean we can’t stick to meal planning full time. Sometimes we need to be able to be flexible with our eating habits!! What, where and who with! Having fun and not feeling completely constrained by wanting to lose fat. eating out doesn’t have to be off the table, eventually you would resent the process.

• Meal plans may offer food you don’t really enjoy, are repetitive, but most importantly they don’t educate you about better habits and decisions with food. or help you to make food swaps* so choosing foods you still enjoy but that help you to hit your protein goals, remain in a calorie deficit (if that’s your goal) and still enjoy the food meaning you will be able to have far more understanding and choice with food choices, eg

  • Cook dinner as you normally would but half the amount of rice (starchy carb) on your plate and add veggies instead – sautéed veg, roasted veg, air fried veg, salad.. but add more fibre to your plate. (don’t eat seperate food to your family)
  • Take a ready made soup to work rather than hit the shop brought sandwiches
  • Nail your eating through the day – avoid the mid morning cake to free up more calories at dinner and also allow you to look forward to a highly satiable meal and for your family to see you don’t have to be miserable eating separate food (meal plan food) to be healthy/lose fat.

• When you over restrict on food (diet) you can literally feel like you want to quit that very same day (look in the mirror for instant fat loss right) and it can then have a rebound effect so that you then binge eat.

Binge eating is not feeling in control of the decisions you make with food or feeling like food can comfort you in that situation.

Over restricting can actually make us want to feel better and trigger old feelings of using food as a comforter but also keep you eating in a disordered way – restrict/binge

Having more choice with food can help you feel like nothing is off the table and you can have still have a large plate by adding in some swaps, rather than punishing yourself with food wither by over eating or restricting.

Postives about meal plans

EASE – you dont have to think about calories or protein or when’s a optimal time to eat.

NO NEED TO TRACK if you dont want to track food – that’s not for everyone and meal plans will mean you don’t need to spend time working out calories or logging food

• they can help you create a habit – cutting out excess sugar, alcohol, saturated fats and allow your taste buds and hunger hormones adapt to your new diet or food timings.

Here’s a website id recommend if you wanted to start a diet but would like to follow a meal plan in the short term, but I recommend understanding your flow like your cash flow, how your outgoings can affect your incomings and how sometimes you can buy something and not need it or use it – you didn’t need it, over eating or over spending on things that you dont really want or need will cause you to feel shit.

This is why your reading this – this brings value and allows you to get better balance with the shit that’s out to get us 🙂

Top tips

• Eat food you enjoy and make swaps you can live with!

• Remember better choices not perfect

• Factor in treats or they will come for you when your feeling vulnerable and less likely to practice self control.

Don’t connect feelings of shame with treats, just aim to ask yourself

Do I NEED it?

Do I really WANT it?

• Eat the same food as your family but swap out some of the starchy carbs for higher fibre/single carbs – more colour on your plate!

• Drink water with your meals

• Eat slowly

• Base your meals around a protein source

• Track foods – as a beginner this gives you a good starting point, aim for a week or two and see where you feel you could improve eg – your eating all the calories after 8 pm so shift your bed time a hour earlier and swap in some halo ice cream rather than ben and Jerrys! then if you feel tracking isn’t for you then dont! But track everything to allow yourself to get a clear picture initially.

Don’t use the calories from MFP you burn from exercise to up your calorie intake. Use the calories from your tdee, (total daily energy expenditure )the ones I advise not the settings on mfp app so your tdee is set and as is your deficit, eg 1500 bmr which is then 1800 tdee factoring lightly active movement and working out 2 a week and then – cutting those calories by 5-15 % start by 5 and then use the extra calories to slowly add more deficit if we need to, don’t just over restrict from the get go.

• Keep up your NEAT – keep moving and aim to increase movement/steps to around 10,000 steps or up it by 20 %.

Lift the weights/hit the sessions while walking or running will promote a deficit, but running or lots of movement can be counterbalanced by increased hunger – need to attack the treat draw.

just stay active, don’t feel you need to do allllll the cardio.

lifting weights will signal to your body this muscle is important by stimulating the muscle your body will be less prone to break it down for energy. so dont think walking is more important than sessions, both bring different value.

Get in 8 hours sleep! – so important to help reduce cravings!

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