CBD Health Sydney Blog

Weight Loss? Why a Meal Plan Won’t Work

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Picture of Sally Walker
Sally Walker

Advanced Sports Dietitian & Nutritionist

Many people wanting to lose weight think getting a meal plan will be the solution. You will be told what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat it. You go home, follow the plan and lose the weight you want right? Unfortunately many people have paid for a meal plan and found that it didn’t lead to the weight loss they were promised.

Sally Walker, Advanced Sports Dietitian knows first hand that weight loss or health goals can’t be reached simply by giving out a meal plan. She knows weight loss is complicated.


Sally says many factors contribute to a person’s weight. These can be broadly split into two groups,  internal factors, for example your metabolism, fitness, occupation, sleep patterns, cultural background, education and age, and external factors around you such as changes in routine, sickness, travel, renovations, visitors, late meetings, school pick-ups, weekend sport and holidays.  Combine variations of all these factors and eating well becomes much more than your capacity to follow a set meal plan.

Sally works with her clients to help them understand the unique factors that contribute to each person’s challenges in weight loss or health. She gives consideration to what is going on for you internally and what’s happening around you in your environment. 

The next element of weight loss to consider is food choices. We tend to simply imagine that healthy food is healthy food. But each  individual has their own idea of what they consider healthy, or what their body can tolerate. For most people  it will largely consist of low processed whole foods through a balance of wholegrain and high fibre carbohydrates, lean protein from plant or animal sources, unsaturated fats and a wide range of colours and nutrients from vegetables and fruits. 

The temptation is often to pour over nutritional information on the internet to find out why their diet isn’t working, what tiny ingredient is missing, but, says Sally, it just doesn’t come down to simply how you fill your plate. It’s not just about what you eat, rather how to apply your food choices to the ongoing variations in lifestyle, mindset, and environment around you. 

A good dietitian recognises there are regular barriers to good health, Sally helps you in accepting or working around them as part of a process of improvement, and in learning from them. This is just as important as knowing what to eat.

Sally will help you place systems and plans around how to work with your challenges, or approach them differently next time. She invites you to constantly evolve your diet and habits to suit your current needs and puts you on a path to sustainable and long-term changes in nutrition. 

It’s unrealistic to think you could make long term changes to habits, behaviours, and health outcomes simply by following a meal plan. It is a learning process.

An Accredited Dietitian can support and guide you through the ongoing application of choices that align with how you want to feel. Rather than provide a plan that can only work under set conditions, a dietitian can help you to anticipate what’s coming up and consider the best approach for you to own and accept food choices that are consistent with beliefs and goals but flexible to the environment you are in. This sets you up for long term success. 

The truth is, life won’t always run smoothly or perfectly to any plan. Life should be led by your purpose and priorities for who you are and what is important to you, not what your plate looks like.. A diet should complement your life, not rule it.

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