Why Diets & Meal Plans Rarely Work for Long Term Fat Loss and What To Do Instead

As a nutrition coach people often come to me and (think they) want me to tell them exactly what they should eat. That's not my job. In fact, it's outside my scope of practice as a coach. The truth is that telling people what they should do is rarely an effective strategy anyway. No one likes being told what to do (or what not to do). It's human nature. It may sound like it is easier to have someone else dictate a diet or meal plan that you just follow exactly, it rarely ever works in the real world. 

If I gave you a meal plan and told you exactly what and how much to eat for every meal of the day, then what happens if I assign a food that you don't like? What if you have lunch plans with a friend? What happens when your family doesn't want to eat that meal plan? What happens when you get bored eating the same thing over and over again? What happens when you crave certain foods? What about the holidays? What happens if you have a life? The bottom line is most people are not able to stick to a strict meal plan over the long term.

Why Diets & Meal Plans Rarely Work for Long Term Fat loss and What to Do Instead. Save to Pinterest for Later!

Why Diets & Meal Plans Rarely Work for Long Term Fat loss and What to Do Instead. Save to Pinterest for Later!

Short-term strategies provide short-term results. My rule of thumb is that if it is not sustainable over the long-term, it is usually not worth my time. 

If you do need a meal plan for a medical reason, it's imperative that you work with a Registered Dietitian. I can suggest a great RD for you if you live in Fort Worth.

Most people who want to make nutrition changes in order to lose fat, feel better and improve their health will find success by working with a nutrition coach in order to improve their nutrition habits as opposed to trying to follow a diet or meal plan.


You're in charge of you. On some level you already know what works for you and your body. You know what makes you feel good and what makes you feel crappy. I function as your guidepost. I can help you decide what healthy habits you want to try, help you track & measure, hold you accountable, help you overcome roadblocks and the natural human resistance to change.

We work together to brainstorm ideas for improvement. You ultimately decide what is most important to you. You decide what works best for your lifestyle. If there is something you don't want to change (even if it feels like it is something you should want to change) then you don't have to change that right now (or ever).

Sometimes when people start working with me they tell me that they are concerned that I am going to take away all their favorite foods or they are worried they will have to miss out out dinners with friends and family. I've had clients tell me they ate all their favorite foods in the days leading up to our first appointment because they were sure I was going to tell them to give it all up. Nope. That's not what I do. 

You are still the boss of you. The nutrition coach/client relationship is not a dictatorship. I help you decide what healthier choices you want to make that fit inside your lifestyle, preferences and goals. I never give people strict rules about what they can and can't eat. I don't follow strict rules for myself, why would I dictate them to you? I don't know your body like you do. Strict rules leads to all-or-nothing thinking and all-or-nothing thinking rarely leads to long term fat loss success.


Everyone is different. What works for me, might not work for you. What worked for your co-worker might not work for you. We can start some nutritional experiments to find your own personal sweet spot of sanity and sustainability. What do you enjoy? What can you sustain? What is realistic? What are the best choices for your lifestyle? 

A big mistake that people make is that they try to change all their bad habits at once. I still fall into this trap sometimes. Hey, I'm not perfect either! We all already know from countless New Year resolutions that the change-your-whole-life-in-one-day method rarely works beyond a couple of weeks. We get overwhelmed, bored or distracted and go back to our old ways. It's not a lack of motivation. It's not a personality flaw. It happens to literally everyone.


That is just not how humans work. We're not robots. We can't just flip a switch. Change takes time. First we have to want to change. Then we have to be ready to change. Then we have to be able to change. Then we can start making changes. Making changes slowly over time is the sustainable way that won't drive you crazy. It's not a quick fix. You can't cut corners to success.

You don't have to change your whole life around to live healthier and get results, you just need to figure out how to make healthier decisions inside the life you already live. It's not an overhaul. It's healthy habits built over time. We can work together to find the best path for your individual needs.

I am not suggesting it is easy. Behavior change is hard. Accepting that it is going to be hard is the first step. The willingness to keep trying when things get rough is the difference between failure and success.

I know a lot about nutrition and fitness that I can share with you but you're the expert of your own body. When we work together we can make the kinds of changes that yield permanent results.

Sound good? 

Looking for a sane and sustainable approach to nutrition? I have six openings in my online nutrition program going on sale for Black Friday. Limited time offer for 50% off six months of the program for qualified candidates. Reach all your 2018 goals with nutrition habits coaching. Learn more!


If you're not ready to work with a coach but you want to start working on healthy habits on your own, here are a few places to start. Small changes can lead to big results. Tackle one habit at a time, work on it until it becomes second nature. Once you've mastered it, move on to another habit. If we worked together, these are some of the things we would likely tackle together (depending on your goals, preferences and lifestyle, of course). If you find you need more guidance and accountability, I am here for you. 

1. Mindful Eating
2. Eat More Protein
3. 10K Steps a Day
4. Create a Sleep Ritual

Questions? I'd love to help.

Like this post? It helps me when you share with your friends and followers. 

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