meal plansIt doesn’t matter which way you are going, you simply can’t out-train a bad diet. That goes for fat loss and muscle building.

You won’t be able to lose belly fat if you eat 3000 calories and only burn off 2000 calories. It just won’t work. And that’s why I’m always skeptical of the argument that, “you aren’t eating enough to lose fat”.

I think those cases are few and far between, sorry.

So if eating more is not the answer, what is?

It’s simple. Just as you must plan your workday for success, you need to plan your meals to help you achieve your body transformation goals.

food journalIn fact, before you even do that, you have to take a step back and simply start writing your food intake down in a food journal. If you aren’t doing this right now but you’re struggling to lose belly fat or gain muscle, this might be the most important thing you ever do.

And the great thing is that it’s free. Doesn’t cost you a penny to keep a food journal. So that’s a much better place to start rather than heading off to the supplement store to buy some useless pills.

When you write down what you are eating, a few magical things happen.

1) You finally make the connection between what you eat and how you feel.

fatguyMost men and women go their entire lives without “getting it”. They don’t connect the loaf of bread they ate for lunch at Olive Garden with the 2pm “fall asleep in your chair” feeling they get everyday.

And while that’s an obvious one, I’ve also had clients who were finally able to connect joint pain with their high-processed carbohydrate diets (these foods can cause inflammation in the body which in turn might cause joint pain associated with inflammation).

And of course, you’ll also connect your body fat with what you eat.

Now it’s not all bad. Once you identify the foods that mess with your mojo, you can get rid of them and add foods that support your mental alertness, help you lose belly fat, and make you as frisky as a dingo.

That’s why you need a meal plan.

2) The truth hits you in the face… cookie-monster_with_text

…and you finally realize exactly how many calories you are eating. Most of us eat – well, snack really – on more calories than we think we do.

For example, a handful of pretzels here, a cookie there, and some jelly beans over here, and boom, that’s an extra 300-500 calories per day.

And when you’re trying to lose fat on a 1500 calorie diet, eating 2000 calories isn’t going to work.

So like it or not, we’re almost all a bunch of big liars when it comes to our daily calorie intake. If you don’t write down everything that goes in your mouth, then I just can’t believe your calorie estimations. Sorry!

3) You stop eating so much.

craig ballantyne facebookThis one is simple…when you are being “watched”, you behave better. That’s why I think everyone should use Twitter and Facebook to record their meals.

Because when you do that, or when you simply start writing everything down, you think twice before reaching your hand into the cookie jar. If you have to tell the world, you won’t do it. It’s as simple as that.

So start recording your food intake now.

Find out what you are eating. women_1600_200_white

And then start planning your meals based on what you know about how food interacts with your body, and about how you interact with food.

A professional meal plan will give you the POWER over food.

You CAN out-diet a bad program,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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