Every day people write to me asking for a meal plan of some kind, they want me to tell them exactly what, how much and when to eat. People want shopping lists and recipes and tips for cooking the perfect mashed potatoes or hash browns, as though that will fix everything.
There’s no doubt that all of these things are very helpful to a lot of people, but they are very far from the be all and end all that we want them to be. A good recipe won’t solve all your problems and neither will an entire book of good recipes. A good meal plan is a nice thing to have but it is totally useless and pointless if you don’t follow it.
There are a million super healthy Whole Food Plant Based meal plans out there - The Starch Solution, Nutritarian, Raw ‘Till 4, Forks Over Knives, The Campbell Plan and The I Feel Good Plan, amongst many many others. FOLLOWING the meal plan is by far the most important part of this whole equation yet it’s the part we often neglect. So how can we get better at sticking to a great meal plan?
What happens on day 3 of your new eating plan when you would give anything for ‘just one bite’ of a donut? What happens on day 4 when you have a thumping headache that you know would just go away if you could only have ‘a small piece’ of chocolate? What happens after a bad day at work when you’re driving past the old faithful fast food restaurant that never lets you down in your time of need? These are all situations we’ve found ourselves in many times before and the meal plan doesn’t do much to help us through.
I propose a new kind of plan, a new kind of recipe for success - a thought plan. Along with planning meals for the week, we need to plan the thoughts we’ll have to accompany those times. Along with any triggering situations that might pop up (driving past fast food after a bad day) we need to be prepared with some strategies to help us stay on track. We know these difficult times are going to come up when all we want to do is go off plan. How great would it be if we already knew what we were going to do to combat our mental demons before they even pop up?!
Get specific and write it down, here’s an example of what Monday might look like. Note that the thinking comes before the eating!
Monday breakfast - THINK about how my choices impact my loved ones.
Monday Lunch - THINK about the feeling of pride I get from making good choices
Monday after work - THINK about how fast food doesn’t help me, it makes me sad.
Monday Dinner - THINK about the great sleep you’ll have tonight because you ate well.
Click HERE to get a download of my own personal thought plan that I used during my year long Spud Fit Academy as well as a blank plan for you to create your own.
I’m not here to say meal plans are bad, in fact I think the opposite. Meal plans and recipes are great and they can be really helpful for many people. A good thought plan will take your meal plan to the next level and do a great deal to increase your chances of success in the long term.
Spud up! (maybe today I should say ‘think up!’)
P.S. poMAYto is coming! Click HERE to join the Spud Fit Academy now!