Should You Follow A Meal Plan To Lose Weight?

When most people are looking to lose some weight, the first place they tend to start with is their diet – and for good reason!

Indeed, in order to lose weight effectively, focusing on your diet is one of the most impactful things that you can do, even more so than slogging out endless cardio sessions at the gym, or taking a questionable fat burning supplement.

The inescapable fact is that if you want to lose weight properly, you need to create a sufficient energy deficit each day in order to do so. This is a truth grounded in the laws of thermodynamics, and no fad diet huckster will ever be able to change that.

In practical terms, this often just means eating fewer calories than you’re burning – and if you do this consistently, you’ll start to see your scale weight trending down very steadily, week after week.

This all sounds very straightforward in theory, but actually putting it into practice is a different matter altogether.

And, if you’re like most people, one of the most challenging aspects of starting a diet is figuring out which one will actually work best for you.

Many people struggle with the complexities of more flexible dieting approaches, and just want something that is clearly outlined, leaving little room for error or potential missteps.

For this reason, fixed meal plans have become increasingly popular in recent years. If you haven’t seen one of these before, it is a detailed plan that painstakingly outlines exactly what you should be eating each day.

If you follow the meal plan to the letter, and don’t deviate from its dietary prescription, you should see great results from it.

However, the unfortunate truth is that meal plans often fail to live up to their lofty promises.

This isn’t because there is anything intrinsically wrong with meal plans; rather, they just aren’t the best fit for everyone.

So, in the interest of helping you decide if a fixed meal plan would be a suitable and effective approach for you to take, let’s dive into some of the most important factors to consider.

Can You Control What You Eat The Majority Of The Time?

We’re not talking so much about self-control here (although that is of course important on any diet), but instead whether or not you have control over the specific foods you eat for most of your meals.

You see, fixed meal plans will outline exactly what you should eat day, but life doesn’t often make this easy to follow.

If you’re someone that has a lot of work-related lunches or dinners, then it will be extremely challenging, if not impossible, to stick to a fixed meal plan.

Likewise, if you travel frequently, and are often in situations where you can’t control exactly what you’re eating, then meal plans aren’t going to be the best option for you.

And, of course, there are other realities to consider here too. If you have a family, for instance, and often eat dinner together, then they’ll either have to follow your meal plan as well, or you’ll need to prepare a completely separate meal for yourself.

Do You Get Bored Eating The Same Things Frequently?

One of the reasons that meal plans can be very effective, for certain people, is because they greatly reduce variety.

More variety can lead to greater deviation from your diet, which in turn can jeopardize your results.

However, the reality is that some of us need more dietary variety than others – and if you’re one of those people that finds themselves bored eating the same things each and every day, then a fixed meal plan will soon start to drive you crazy.

You’ll typically be eating the same thing for breakfast, and the same couple things for lunch and dinner each day. It is the definition of dietary monotony.

Some people don’t mind this at all, but for many other people this gets old really fast, making the whole process start to feel unpalatable.

Do You Have The Time To Cook And Prep Your Meals?

You don’t have to prep your meals in order to follow a meal plan, but it’s going to be considerably easier to follow if you do.

It should come as no surprise that most fixed meal plans focus primarily on healthy foods – the kind that you often need to cook for yourself, instead of picking up from the store or some fast food place.

Many of the people that are the most successful with fixed meal plans will prep a significant portion of the week in advance – cooking a big batch of meals on Sunday, and then portioning them out for the week.

Does this sound like something that you’d be able and willing to do? If not, then you might want to seriously consider whether or not a fixed meal plan would be a sensible approach to take.

Do Fixed Meal Plans Really Make Sense For You?

If you answered yes to at least 2, and preferably 3, of these questions, then it would definitely be worth considering a fixed meal plan as you endeavor to lose weight.

However, if after reading through this article you’ve realized that you can’t really control what you eat all of the time, or that you’ll likely get bored by eating the same things frequently, then it would make sense to consider other options instead.

And don’t worry, there are numerous other options to consider!

There are many diet approaches that one can take, and the real key is finding the one that you think that would fit best with your lifestyle and your preferences. If you do that, the whole process will feel far less arduous, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

If you’re not sure where to start with this, and would like some help determining the best diet approach to follow, we’d recommend either consulting with a nutritionist, or potentially seeking out one of the online personal trainers that also offers nutrition coaching.

That way, you’ll be able to have a professional properly assess the different options available, and steer you down the path that makes the most sense.

Just remember, at the end of the day, as long as the diet you choose to follow creates a suitable energy deficit, based on your activity levels, you will lose weight – so the most important factor is finding an approach that you feel like you can stick with consistently, for more than just a couple weeks.

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