The Difference between a Diet Plan and an Eating Plan

When you look for ways to lose a few pounds, you will probably see terms like ‘diet plan,’ ‘eating plan,’ ‘weight loss plan’ and ‘meal plan.’ Some of these terms mean the same thing, while others do not. Here are the similarities and differences between common weight loss terms.

A meal plan is fairly self-explanatory: you simply make a meal plan for the week or the day or even the month. This is the same thing as an eating plan. Obviously, you would include meals and snacks that meet the nutritional needs you to help you lose weight and to maintain your weight once the extra pounds are gone.

With meal planning or an eating plan, you should not just be focused on weight loss, but on a permanent lifestyle change.

Because there is a before and after, it may clarify things in your mind if you use one term for before or while you are losing the weight, and one for after you have reached your weight loss goal. For example, what you plan to eat while losing the weight may be referred to as your eating plan, then the term “meal plan” could be used when you are maintaining your weight.  

In either case, an eating plan or meal plan is not the same as a diet plan or a weight loss plan. It is, however, a part of a diet or weight loss plan.

Just as an eating plan is the same as a meal plan, a diet plan is synonymous with a weight loss plan. These two are not usually used as before weight loss and after weight loss terms. They simply just mean the same thing, and you can use whichever term suits you. But if a diet plan is not the same as an eating plan, what is it? It is your plan, guide, or blueprint for reaching your weight loss goals.

It takes more than a change in your diet to keep weight off. Your weight loss meal plan should be used with an exercise plan as well. That exercise plan should contain plans for stretching exercises, aerobic exercises, strength training, and possibly even endurance training. Additionally, your diet plan should include a plan for drinking six to ten glasses of water each day and taking any vitamin supplements your doctor may recommend.

Finally, you should have a weigh-in plan as a part of your weight loss plan. Most diet experts will advise against daily weigh-ins. Some may not want you to weigh yourself each week, preferring monthly weigh-ins. Some experts may even suggest that you not weigh at all, but instead take weekly or monthly measurements of your hips, waist, legs, and so on.

Once your goal is reached, the term used for keeping the weight off is a maintenance plan or weight loss maintenance plan, or even a weight maintenance plan. When you think about your weight loss plan and your meal plan, understand that this is the planning stage you are shooting for: maintaining your weight after you’ve lost those extra pounds.  

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