Back when I was bodybuilding I was given a meal plan in an email.
The meal plan was divided into six meals. Each meal had two or three components. Always a high amount of protein, some kind of veggie (usually asparagus), and on special days, I had the privilege of eating some carbs or a little more fat.
My Old Meal Plan:
Sweet Potato (4oz)
My coach told me that I was to eat what was on the sheet of paper. Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else.
I am glad he was so strict – the experience taught me an extreme amount of discipline, but it also taught me to rely on external factors to eat.
Following this plan to the T was fine until after the competition when I was thrown into the wild on my own.
I was all out of sorts and this time there was no email telling me what to do, what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat. I felt like a baby bird.
The problem with meal plans
It is so easy to subscribe to a particular way of eating because someone wrote a blog post about how a particular diet was the ticket to getting shredded.
- Six meals a day
- Cheat days
^^Those are all great examples!
Following dietary protocols has its time and place (for example competing) but what most people don’t understand is the temporary nature of these practices.
How to rely on your own internal compass
By internal compass, I mean natural appetite cues.
I explained the stages and timing of hunger yesterday in an email along with the sensations you can expect to experience.
What hunger feels like:
- Rumbling stomach, slight lightheadedness, hunger should be a level of 7 out of 10.
The hunger scale runs from 1 – 10
1 = I’m stuffed. Unbuttoning pants. Reaching for Tums. Potentially miserable.
7 – 8 = The sweet spot.
10 = Hangry. Irritable. Anxious. Likely to eat just about anything. Likely to eat too fast or too much.
In the sweet spot, you have adequate time to plan and prepare food. You feel calm. Your stomach is empty. You are excited to eat – not anxious. You can eat slowly. You can enjoy the food.
Honoring your hunger is a skill. Skills require practice and repetition. Luckily we are given the opportunity to practice this skill every single day!
If you eat three meals a day in a year you eat 1095 times – that is a lot of time to practice!
There is no excuse for not having enough time.
Practice this skill and transform your life.
You’ll keep the extra pounds off easier and you’ll find that eating becomes more natural and less stressful.
Keep relying on diets and you’ll keep spinning your wheels.
Simple. Not easy, but I hope that now you have the tools to help you grow from here.
If you still need help or have questions I am here for you.
This stuff lights me up because it has been so powerful for me.
You can be powerful too.
PS. Sometimes all you need is a guide. With the right help – anything is possible. Book a time on my calendar in three easy steps to see what the power of upgrading your nutrition and habits around food and exercise could do for you!