Many clients request structured meal plans and when I first started out as a dietitian I would gladly comply. I would calculate all of their caloric and macronutrient needs and proceed to sit at my computer for hours creating a plan that met these nutrient needs to a tee. 1 cup of oatmeal with ½ cup berries and 1 tsp. Coconut oil etc. etc. But more times than not these plans did not help my clients achieve their goals. They would become too dependent on exact recommendations and lose momentum if they strayed even the slightest bit. Life is turbulent and far from predictable which also makes it very difficult to follow a stringent plan of any sort.
As I have gained experience in my profession it has become evident that helping people with habit change and creating strategies for nutrition and lifestyle change WITH them instead of for them yields the most gratifying results. The below article from Precision Nutrition definitely resonated with me as a nutrition and healthy lifestyle coach and provides a new perspective for anyone looking to lose weight or get healthier.
Having a nutrition expert to help guide you and keep you accountable in the process of making healthy changes is definitely helpful (that is why I became one!) but investing in a Registered Dietitian or personal trainer does not mean that you HAVE to do a complete 180 overnight. In fact, it is all about making changes that work for your unique lifestyle and making them at your own pace.
Check out Precision Nutrition’s article on why black and white prescribed meal plans are not the way to go.