9. Meal planning is guessing

Uncategorized Mar 05, 2020

You are not a fortune teller. That makes your meal planning a fantasy. There are too many factors that are out of your hands: your daily stress level, work demands, kids, family, weather, etc. Writing a plan makes you feel in control of things you can't control. 

How about we just call plans what they really are: guesses. Start referring to your meal plans as meal guesses. Your workout plans as workout guesses and your schedule plans as schedule guesses. Good, now you can stop worrying about them as much. They simply aren't worth the stress. 

By turning guesses into plans you enter dangerous waters. Plans use the past to predict the future. They put blinders on you. "This is what I'm going to eat because, well, that's what I said I was going to eat." And there's a problem: plans don't allow for improvising. 

Life requires improvisation. You have to be able to adapt to the situations you find yourself in. When you allow for spontaneity you will be a happier person than if you over plan everything. Sometimes you need to be ale to say, "I'm going to eat this cake or drink this wine because that's what makes sense right now." 

The timing of meal planning sucks too. You have the most information when you are actually doing something, not before. When do you write plans? Usually it's before you've started. That's when you are calm, thinking about the perfect future with no family distractions, pestering to-do list, and un-wavered motivation. Our predictions of future conditions are bad. 

This isn't to say you shouldn't consider the future. It's a worth while exercise to think about what's coming up and how you can handle it. Just don't feel like you need to obsess about it or judge yourself too critically when things don't go according to plan. They usually won't. Writing an elaborate meal plan feels like progress but chances are high it will become another file cabinet failure. Planning your eating life is too hard. 

Give up on the guessing or "planning." Decide what you are going to eat when you sit down to eat and not 6 months prior. Figure out how it affects your calories and macros and move on. Make decisions right before you eat and know if hit your numbers you will be good. Decide in the moment, not in advance. 

Winging it is OK. Eat what you enjoy and track it. You can adjust your next meals once you get to them. 

Living without a meal plan may seem scary. But blindly following a guess that has no relationship to reality is scarier. 

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