[PODCAST EPISODE 19] The Truth About Diets and Meal Plans

Feb 18, 2021

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About the show:
Listen to this episode to learn a new way of thinking about diets and meal plans. You'll also learn about the one missing piece (for most people) as you try to lose weight. These are topics that I'm super passionate about because there's so much noise out there, so much information, that many people feel confused and frustrated. Listen to this episode as we simplify it all.


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Read the full episode transcript below:

Welcome to the Weight Loss Before and After Pregnancy Podcast. The place you’ll get simple strategies you can apply to your life today to start losing weight. Strategies that’ll help you reach your goal, move on with your life, and focus on the things that matter most to you. I’m your host, Certified Life and Weight Coach, Andrea Scalici. Let’s get started.

Hey everybody. Welcome to episode 19.

Before we get started, I want to acknowledge all parents and future parents out there. Moms specifically are probably the ones listening to this podcast, but Dads are in on this too. I just want to acknowledge you all. Having kids, raising kids, and juggling everything, especially right now during COVID, is not easy. It’s not easy for me either. But you’re doing it. I’m doing it. And we will get through this.

Sometimes I just need to take a deep breath, take five minutes to myself, and return to my family. If you’ve got those moments too, take the time you need. Take a deep breath, give yourself five minutes alone or more, and return to your family. We’re all doing the best we can, and again, we will get through this.

Ok. Can you tell things have been interesting over here in my house?

It’s cool. I know things will get better.

Alright. Now, I’m going to jump right into today’s topic because it’s a topic I’m super passionate about and one that makes many people feel confused.

And the reason for the confusion is because there’s so much noise out there on these two topics. There’s so much information, that it can feel overwhelming. So, let’s do what we do on this podcast, and keep it to the point and simple.

Today we’re going to talk about diets and meal plans. And we’ll start with diets.

Now, I googled the definition of diet and got two answers.

The first one said “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats."

The second definition said “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.” It also said, “restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.”

The first definition is pretty straightforward and correct. A diet is “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitualty eats.”

The second definition has, in my opinion, evolved over time as humans have evolved. What do I mean by that? Well, this definition of the word diet has become a thing in our society and is where I get super passionate.

Let me read it again. The second definition is “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons."

If you were to read this definition to a cave person, way back in the day, they would be confused. Like, what the heck? Why would I restrict my food to lose weight or for medical reasons?

Cave people ate whatever they could get their hands on in the wild to survive. So, they probably would relate more to the first definition of a diet being the habitual food you eat. 

But we’re not cave people anymore. Our society has evolved. We have evolved. And therefore the definition of the word diet has evolved too.

In my opinion, the second definition, the one that our society, I think, relates to most, has an underlying assumption as it relates to weight loss. The underlying assumption is that we go on a diet, restrict our food in some way for a period of time until we lose our weight. Then, it doesn’t explicitly say this, but it implies the diet is just short term until we reach our goal. And then maybe we go off the diet and resume how we were eating before we started the diet.

The truth is, at least my truth and what I teach, is a diet doesn’t have to feel restricting. It doesn’t have to be something we do for a short period of time and then stop doing. It shouldn’t be that because if it were, it wouldn’t work in the long term. It wouldn’t keep our weight off once we’ve lost it. And that’s exactly what’s happening for many people, if you’re successful even losing the weight in the first place.

So, someone goes on a diet, restricts their food for a period of time, then they go off the diet and eat how they used to eat, and usually gain the weight back. Logically, it makes sense to gain the weight back in this scenario because you’re going back to eating all the food that made you gain weight in the first place. But it’s a cycle many people have fallen into.

Ask yourself if you’ve ever done something like that before. Have you ever lost your weight, or some of it, and then gained it back later? And if you have, is it because of your perception of what a diet is?

If you’ve done this in your past, you can’t go back in time, so don’t beat yourself up about it. But you can change what you do, and your perception of what a diet is, in the future.

If you’re ready to get out of this cycle, I recommend you remove the word diet from your vocabulary completely, if it’s something you associate with short term or restriction. And replace it with the word lifestyle.

Instead of going on a diet, you’re going to focus on creating a lifestyle that feels good to you. And once you lose your weight, you’ll simply continue that lifestyle to maintain your weight.

It doesn’t have to be super restricting or hard. But it should make you feel good physically and emotionally and get you to your goal.

Ok. That’s all I want to say about the word diet right now.

Next, let’s talk about your meal plan. I’ve talked about this topic many times before on this podcast, so you may have heard some of this already. But I know the meal plan is a place where many people focus their time and attention so we’ve got to talk about it. 

Many people get frustrated with the meal plan. I used to be one of those people. They get frustrated with figuring out what to eat, getting themselves to eat what’s on their plan, and trying to force themselves to enjoy following a meal plan in the first place.

The meal plan can be a point of frustration and confusion. And just like all the diet options out there, there are so many meal plan options. How can you possibly know which one is best for you? Which one will work for you? There’s just too many options.

Here’s the truth, my truth, my two cents on meal plans. Take what you will from this.

If you’re wondering if you even need to follow a meal plan at all, the answer is no. You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do. Simple as that. 

But, in my opinion, following a meal plan does make your life easier if you let it. And the reason is what’s happening in your brain with decision fatigue.

You can choose to follow a meal plan and spend five or ten minutes each week creating the plan for the upcoming week. Then, you can go grocery shopping once and you don’t have to think about it again for an entire week. Spend just five or ten minutes, focusing as much as you can, making decisions, and that’s it. No more decisions around food the rest of the week. I find this to be so much easier and less work my brain has to do during the week, but again, this is my opinion.

Some people do just fine without following a meal plan at all. Be honest with yourself. Which type of person are you? Would you rather go with the flow and make decisions everyday of the week about what you’re going to eat? Or would you feel freedom, less decision fatigue, from only thinking about it once a week?

Whatever the answer is for you, the next thing you want to think about is what foods you want to eat.

There are so many options out there from various weight loss companies, dieticians, some coaches, and it can feel really overwhelming. But what I want to tell you is this. Your meal plan, or the food you eat, should be unique to you and your body.

It takes a little upfront work, a little trial and error, to figure it out, but it’s so worth it in the end. I think at least. And whatever you end up with should match your ideal lifestyle and something you’d be happy continuing for the long term.

So, if you’re thinking about meal plans or foods you want to eat, don’t let yourself fall into the confusion trap by looking at a bunch of meals online and getting frustrated and confused by all the different options.

Frustration and confusion usually lead to doing nothing. And even though it may take a little extra time to do your own unique trial and error, and you might not feel motivated to do it, I believe it will serve you better in the long term because it’s better than getting stuck doing nothing and feeling frustrated and confused.

If you don’t even know where to start with this, you can pick a few meals from whatever online source you follow, and try them. Pay attention to how they make you feel physically and emotionally and whether or not they’d help you lose and maintain your weight based on what you know.

Then, make small tweaks if you need to, take notes, and soon you’ll have your own unique plan.

This is totally doable for you.

It took me a few months to find my own unique plan but I put in the effort. I put in the time. Because it was important to me to build my ideal lifestyle and get out of the diet trap. It’s now a few years later and I’m so thankful to my past self for doing that trial and error work.

And I know, as my body changes with age, I’ll probably be making tweaks to my plan forever. I’m fine with that. And at this point, I feel like a pro. You will too in time if you do this.

Ok. Let’s quickly recap.

Think about a diet as simply the food you habitually eat, your lifestyle. And if you can’t get there, because you think about a diet as a short term thing where you restrict your food, then remove the word diet from your vocabulary and replace it with the word lifestyle.

Think about your meal plan as something that’s unique to you and your body. It has to be something you’re willing to do forever. Something you’re willing to follow as your new lifestyle. Not something you do until you lose the weight and then stop doing it.

If you can get yourself to see and believe these two truths, the way I see diets and meal plans, there’s typically one extra thing missing for most people. And this one thing can be the difference between weight loss success and weight loss frustration.

The one thing that might be missing for you is focus on your mindset. I know that word mindset is way overused and can be a turn off so let’s change it up a bit and refer to your mindset as what’s happening inside your brain.

Think about it like this. You’re totally secure with the word diet or you’ve switched it up to think about it like a new lifestyle for yourself. You’ve completely changed your thinking about meal plans and you’ve created one that’s unique to you. So, what’s left? What’s stopping you from losing the weight? Usually it’s only one thing. What’s happening inside your brain.

It’s not easy for a lot of people to take a look at what’s going on in there because it’s not always something we want to see. I mean, no matter what, no matter who we are or how positive we are as a person, we’re still going to have some negative thoughts. Some pretty terrible thoughts.

The problem isn’t those thoughts. The problem is that no one ever tells us that it’s ok to have those thoughts. That’s actually normal. It’s not something most people talk about out loud with one another. But it is ok. It is normal. We all think negative, terrible thoughts sometimes. It doesn’t make us horrible people. It just makes us people.

So, the focus you do on your brain, isn’t about getting yourself to think positive thoughts all the time, because I don’t believe that’s possible. But it is about seeing what’s going on in there and figuring out how to navigate through it so we don’t overeat or do other things we don’t want ourselves to do. Like, drink lots of alcohol, work more than we want to, spend too much money, spend too much time on social media, yell at our kids, whatever.

Focusing on your mindset, that word again, focusing on what’s happening inside your brain can be the difference between weight loss feeling easy and weight loss feeling hard. It can be the difference between weight loss feeling simple and weight loss feeling difficult. And it can be the difference between weight loss feeling enjoyable or fun and weight loss feeling frustrating or terrible. Seriously.

If you’ve never done any work on your mindset before, and you don’t know where to begin, I recommend you start by spending five minutes each day on this. I like to do this in the morning, but you do it whenever it works for you. Spend five minutes just writing down your thoughts. All you want to do is start to get some awareness over what’s happening in your brain because most of those thoughts are unconscious. And make sure, when you’re doing this, you don’t judge yourself or make yourself feel bad. Remember, we all have negative, terrible thoughts. It’s ok.

If you want help with this, of course, I recommend you hire a Life Coach because they can really help you gain awareness and figure out how to navigate all the stuff you’re thinking about. How to use all of it to your advantage so you can lose weight and keep it off.

Hire me, hire another Coach you like better, I don’t care. But get the help you need to figure out what’s happening inside your brain and start to see real, long term progress with your weight loss goal.

Ok. That’s my little rant, my little truths about diets and meal plans and the missing piece for most people, mindset work. I hope you got some actionable takeaways from that that’ll help you do this work.

And one last thing before I go. I’ve been meaning to ask you this. Are you on social media? You probably are and probably have been for awhile, most people are, but I’m a little late to the party on this one.

If you are on social media, I’d love to connect with you. It’s funny but I’m pretty new to Facebook and Instagram. I opened up accounts about a year or two ago but I’ve just recently started learning how to post on there and figure out the whole hashtag thing. 

I’m having a ton of fun doing it. I’m really enjoying connecting with people there. Old friends and new ones. So, if you’re on Facebook or Instagram, I’d love it if you’d connect with me. My handle or username or whatever you call it is @mcccoaching on both platforms.

Find me. Connect with me. Say hello. Let me know what you think of the show. I’d love to meet you.

Alright. I’ll talk to you in the next episode.

If you loved this podcast, I want to invite you to check out The 6 Stages Weight Loss Program. It’s my signature program that’ll teach you everything you need to know from start to finish to lose weight, reach your goal, and maintain it once you’re there. You’ll also learn how to have your own back through the process. Join me over at mcccoaching.com/join. I’ll see you there.


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