When I was fully entrenched in diet culture, my meal planning was planning to undereat.

I was micromanaging every molecule of every food I consumed.
It was emotionally and mentally depriving. 

Of course, I couldn’t follow that as it was not sustainable.

My trips to the grocery store were very double minded. I would buy the healthy food I thought I should be eating and I would also buy the food that I never thought I would eat too much of. And of course, that would be the food I mostly ate throughout the week.

So how do you get your food needs met without being rigid and perfectionistic?

Diet culture says everything has to be a certain way, within their box, no freedom or grace.

The first thing I want you to do is ask yourself, ‘If I plan what I’m going to eat for dinner, do I have to stick with that? Or can I give myself grace?

Can you give yourself grace that :

• what I was thawing didn’t all the way and I have to move that meal to tomorrow
• I had to work later than I thought and now I don’t have the time or mental capacity to cook that recipe
• what I thought sounded good doesn’t anymore

Here are some examples of things I’ve seen work (not necessarily what you need to do).

How do you meal plan without dieting?

  • Make a list of food options  – take into consideration if you’re a leftover person and what meals everyone is really liking, what does your schedule look like and how much capacity do you think you’ll have to cook
  • Always have a backup – frozen food, quick & easy meals in case plans change or you need to deviate from the original plan
  • Make leftover meals that are meals everyone actually likes
  • Keep the basics around so that you can adjust on the fly when needed
  • Start with where you are – you’re having to build new neuropathways for regular eating and the more you do that the more you build internal trust that your needs will get met. Diet culture robs us of the developmental skills that we can think about the right now and the future regarding food

The benefits of getting our needs met far outweigh the effort and work required to make it happen. It’s not always easy but getting our needs met can absolutely help us to feel calmer.

One of the best ways to build new neuropathways of being seen and tended to, is to regular shop for food. It provides some relaxation that your needs will get met. 

Don’t just get by with the minimum, provide what you need so that you can thrive.