Wednesday, July 08, 2009

MEGA-Simplify your meal plans

This question kept me up late last night:

Why don’t you make shopping lists for people instead of meal plans? let people make what they want, when they want it. when the food is out, you’re done eating until the next shopping list is published.

Really, its a very good idea.

A predetermined weekly shopping list that contains a set number of calories, fruits and vegetables provides an incredible amount of flexibility while at the same time helping people ‘target’ a certain calorie intake.

Basically, take a weekly calorie goal, and eat it through out the week in any manner you like. Once meal per day, three meals per day, 32 meals per day….what ever suits you best. BUT, when the food runs out..the food runs out.

This would be a great way to learn what a certain calorie intake ‘feels’ like.

The simplicity and logic makes this an intriguing idea.

I checked with John Barban and his meal plans do indeed include a weekly shopping list. So if you are interested in meal plans, but crave diet-flexibility the same way I do, then this approach (as suggested by Travis) may be something you want to experiment with.


PS - If you want to check out johns plans visit

PPS - Obviously there are certain limitations to this plan, like if you shop for a family of four, but if you can manage it, it might be worth the experiment.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fat Loss Meal Plans

NEWS FLASH: Over the next couple days your email in-box is going to be FLOODED by people promoting Meal Plans.

My guess is your going to get a MINIMUM of 5 emails over the next week.

You’re going to here all kinds of stories of why you absolutely MUST get a meal plan.

And, surprisingly (under the correct circumstances) even I am going to be one of those people!

Here’s the deal:

I’m not just blindly promoting some random product - I am promoting it for a specific purpose AND
for a specific reason.

That reason is I lost a HUGE debate with Eat Stop Eat science editor John Barban.

This debate led to John creating meal plans.

It was about 2 months ago, we were sitting in Williams Coffee Pub in Burlington Ontario, I was having a cappuccino and John was having a black coffee (he was fasting).

Out of the blue, John drops this line on me

John: “You know, you basically turn your back on people who don’t want to fast”

Obviously, my first thought was a good right hook…but seeing as John outweighs me by about 25 pounds, I decided that might not be the brightest idea.

Brad: “What are you talking about?” (this was my substitute for the right hook)

John: “Well for people who don’t want to fast, you simply tell them to eat responsibly”

Brad: “Exactly”

John: “Well, for people who have been completely confused by the obsessive compulsive advice from diet books and diet gurus…no one has a clue what eating responsibly means anymore”

Now, this made me really angry. I go to great lengths in this blog trying to explain what ‘eating responsibly’ means…but in reality, I could see John’s point.

Brad: “Well, what would you suggest?”

John: “Meal plans”

This is where I almost walked out of the coffee shop.

Brad: “F&*ck Off” (I’ll be honest, this was the most intelligent thing that I could get out of my mouth at this point)

Brad: “No. No way. Meal plans are a perfect example of OCE, they force people into a style of eating because of some BS pseudoscience rational of why people MUST eat one way…I don’t care what you say, meal plans ARE NOT the answer”

John: “Well, what if they were just simple plans that are made up of whole foods and mixed meals and some cooking instructions, no science story, just meals at various calorie levels.”

Brad: “nope, still way to restrictive, I want people to be flexible with their diets..that’s the whole point of Eat Stop Eat”

John: “Brad, some people need some form of schedule in their lives, especially when they are attempting to diet. You have to admit, even people following Eat Stop Eat sometimes ask for help trying to figure out WHAT to eat when they ARE eating.”

Brad: “OK , that’s true, but still….I can’t condone eating according to a meal plan for the rest of your life, that’s just…torture”

John: “OK, so what if it wasn’t a ‘rest of your life thing’, what if it was meant as a guide to follow for 12 weeks to get back on track with your eating style’

Brad: “12 week meal plans?”

John: “Yes, 12 week meal plans. The exact same type of meal plans that are used successfully in hospital settings…you have to admit, they have an excellent track record for effectiveness”

Brad: “OK, under those circumstances yes. But to be a respectable idea it would have to have ZERO pseudo science, no magic hormone manipulation stories, and it would be perfectly blunt that is ONLY a 12 week plan to be used to learn how to eat a certain amount of calories in a day?”

John: “yes”

Brad: “Fine…actually, yes…that would be something I could stand behind…I still prefer people be flexble with their eating habits, but for those people who REALLY want some sort of structure to work with this could be useful…but only if you make sure it’s done properly…you can market the hell out of it, but make sure the product is just as good as you say it is”

That is pretty much how the conversation went…I’m sure I missed some random thoughts and a ton of tangents (and I’ve edited out a bit of swearing), but that is basically it.

It was a debate, and a debate I lost. John had a valid point, a valid problem and a valid solution to that problem.

Therefore I can support this product because in my own way I was involved in its creation and because John gave me his word that it wouldn’t have any crazy pseudoscience or any misleading marketing.

(Obviously there was going to be marketing, I just didn’t want it to be misleading - all diets work if they create a calorie restriction; it’s the people who make up false reasons WHY their diets work that infuriate me!)

Now, I wasn’t involved in the design of the plans or any of the marketing (John teamed up with a guy named Pat McGuire and a guy named Vince Delmonte for this project), but I trust John enough to believe he’s done a good job following through on his idea.

So if you want to check out the meal plans the John helped develop then visit

Again, I encourage you to be flexible with your eating, however If you are having a hard time figuring out how much to eat, or have been so confused by diet books and diet advice that you would like a simple 12-week refresher on what to eat, then again these plans may be helpful.

I’m not saying they are magic by any means, but they could be a valuable tool in your weight loss tool box.


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