Health & Nutrition

NUTRITION: Why meal plans aren’t always a long-term fix

September 10th, 2022 11:50 AM

By Southern Star Team

Rather than just giving people rules to follow, Aoife feels it’s better to give the knowledge to make choices. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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BY AOIFE MORRISON

HOW long have you believed that losing weight is the answer to all your body image issues?

Or that fitting into smaller clothes will end overeating or binge eating?

I would love nothing more than to tell you this was the case. That shedding pounds is the miracle fix for any negative relationships you have with food.

But it simply won’t!

Let’s say you do not eat enough between lunch and dinner. You get home starving, eat an enormous portion of food quickly, and still feel hungry after.  So, you reach for the pack of biscuits while watching tv, and before you know it, you are popping the top button of your pants and feeling decidedly unwell.

Next stop: guilt, shame and the promise of ‘the diet starts tomorrow.’

The next few days you try to live on salads and water, the cravings for chocolate growing more by the second.  Every night you lie in bed hungry, and every morning when you wake, food is the sole focus of your thoughts.

Eventually you can’t ‘fight’ the urges anymore and you begin the cycle again.

Maybe you decide that getting a meal plan from someone is exactly what you need. You pay for someone to tell you exactly what to eat, and when, and your hope peaks. This is it. The answer you have been searching for.

Now for some, this might work. But a meal plan is like giving someone the answer to a maths problem without explaining how you got the answer. So, while it works for a period, before long, another ‘maths problem’ comes along and you have no idea what to do.

They don’t teach you anything about your relationship with food. What drives you to overeat. Why you are using food as an emotional crutch. Why, despite eating what you believe is plenty, you are always hungry. Or no matter how little you feel you are eating; you never lose any weight.

The diet industry, promising unrealistic and unhealthy weight loss goals, makes you believe that ‘self-control’ and ‘willpower’ are your only issues, and you just need to ‘try harder.’

This leads to you breaking your spirit and losing all joy in life because that it what you ‘should’ do to achieve your calls. And when the inevitable happens, and you give up, you place blame on your own character.

But what if you could recognise the ‘why’ behind your eating habits. Or really understand the impact dieting has on your body and metabolism.

The biggest successes I have with my clients is when I explain the ‘why’ and the ‘how.’ Rather than just giving them rules to follow, I give them the knowledge to make their own choices.

And that is what leads to long term results. Because when they have the insight into their own bodies, their confidence soars. That supports them in all aspects of life, from work lunches to special occasions, to holidays.

• Aoife Morrison is a West Cork based qualified nutritionist. Contact her on  087 448 8540, or [email protected] Or check out Mums for Nutrition on Instagram.

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