Whether you’ve just started your Always Hungry Solution (AH) journey, or you’re deciding to do a Phase 1 reboot, it’s possible to get overwhelmed by the prospect of beginning something new. Maybe you’re looking at where you are now compared to your goals for the future, and you’re simply feeling like it isn’t possible. Don’t get discouraged! Everything can seem overwhelming in the beginning, no matter the task. Your health journey is no different. Luckily, our program is made to meet people where they are. We want to help you craft AH to fit your life!
There is more than one way to be successful with the Always Hungry Solution. In this post, we’ll lay out a few options to help you overcome these obstacles and find the AH plan that works best for you.
The Importance of the Two-Week Reset (Phase 1)
In Always Hungry?, Phase 1 is laid out as a two-week meal plan for you to follow (See AH p. 142 and pp. 160-174). We highly recommend that you follow this part of the program as closely as you can (adjusting for your own dietary needs and allergies). The goal here is to retrain your fat cells to stop hoarding fuel. It’s not just about getting your body ready to lose weight. It’s about getting biology on your side as you make your body’s signals more trustworthy.
Reducing sugar cravings and adjusting tastebuds are two signals that will make your transition to a healthy lifestyle so much easier. If you can do it by the book, please do. We will go through a few options for tailoring this meal plan to fit your lifestyle below. After the first two weeks are up, you can allow more room for individualizing the plan to fit your life. Click here to read more about the decision to move from Phase 1 into Phase 2 after the initial two-week reset.
As with any lifestyle change, one of the most important aspects to success is adequate support. Our free Facebook Community offers a wealth of support, encouragement, inspiration, guidance, and even recipes. You’ll be able to meet others who are going through this with you, or who have been through it and can help you troubleshoot anything that comes up. David and I interact with our readers there regularly.
If you are the only person in your household who is beginning the AH program, you might feel like you need to start preparing two meals to accommodate everyone. Before you waste time and money on that though, we’ve found that often times, children, spouses, and friends find themselves interested in AH simply by trying the food! When beginning AH, try making a bit extra for others to try. We often hear that someone made only enough for themselves and ended up not having any because their family loved it so much and ate it all. AH food is not typical diet food. It is luscious food that is easy to make as it supports your health. You might be surprised at how easily friends and family decide to share this part of the AH journey with you!
Eliminating the Overwhelm
One of our Facebook Moderators shared this post about eliminating the feeling of overwhelm that some readers experience when they first start AH. We’re sharing it with you here in the hope that you’ll be able to apply these techniques to your own journey!
“I can relate to that feeling of overwhelm at the beginning. Following the book’s Phase 1 Week 1 meal plan is probably the best way to reduce overwhelm as you begin. Using a plan that’s already laid out for you means that you don’t have to think too much about ratios, because they have already been calculated for you. Also, the recipes and meals are delicious, so, as you adjust to these new dietary changes, you are less likely to feel deprived since everything you’re feeding yourself is downright scrumptious.
To be honest, though, when I started Phase 1, I *mostly* went by the book’s meal plan, but I made some tweaks in my planning process that worked for me. Everybody’s starting point is different (cooking experience), and meal prep circumstances differ from one person to the next, too (i.e., cooking for one? cooking for a household? significant time demands?).
Here are some ideas for how to adjust the plan to fit your particular starting point and lifestyle.
Your First Week of AH
You can approach your Phase 1, Week 1 meal plan a few different ways, and each option is fine. Seriously consider the convenience of the totally-done-for-you meal plan in the book, versus building meals on your own so early in the game. You know yourself best, so choose what you think will work for you.
You can be completely “By the Book”, “Pick & Choose”, or go with the Simplified Meal Plan. Here’s what each of those might look like:
- BY THE BOOK: Always Hungry? = “I’m going to stick to the Phase 1 plan in the Always Hungry? book completely, with no variations or tweaks. (This meal plan is given on pgs. 162-174 in the hardcover; see the “at-a-glance” version on our Book Resources and Downloads page) I will follow the Phase 1, Week 1 Weekly Prep Worksheet on p. 142 in the book.”
- PICK & CHOOSE = “I’m going to pick and choose meals and snacks from the Phase 1 meal plan in the Always Hungry? book, selecting ones that will be a good fit for me/my circumstances/my household. I will add in other recipes and meal ideas from the Facebook group, from recipes/meals I’ve on Chef Dawn’s Blog or found elsewhere, and/or by using the meal builders to build my own plate sometimes (see meal builder guides – both tutorial and infographics on the Book Resources and Downloads page). I will adapt the Phase 1, Week 1 Weekly Prep Worksheet on p.142 in the book to suit my needs and/or will use the blank meal plan sheet available for free download here.
- SIMPLIFIED PHASE 1 MEAL PLAN = “I’m going to use the simplified meal plan, and I don’t mind that it repeats meals a bit more often. I will double, triple, etc. the plan as needed for my household.” The Simplified Phase 1 Meal Plan is available for free download here.
- BY THE BOOK: Always Delicious = “I’m going to go through the Always Delicious book to find recipes that I like and follow the Phase 1 meals given for that recipe. I’ll use the blank Prep and Meal Plan Worksheets from the Resources and Downloads page to make my own 2-week meal plan.” When we wrote Always Delicious we realized that readers needed more than just recipes, so we included Phases 1, 2 & 3 meal plans for the recipes.
How to Craft an AH Plan that Works for Your Life While Also Supporting Your Health
If you’re going with the Pick & Choose strategy, here are a few suggestions:
- First, if you’re repeating breakfast meals that contain eggs, simply double/triple/quadruple, etc. the egg, oil, cheese, and veggie amounts as needed, and cook several days worth of portions all at once as a frittata or egg bake. Same goes for the grain-free waffles. The waffles even freeze well for a quick toaster oven reheat. In addition, the Always Delicious book has several simple grab-and-go style breakfast options that can be made ahead (AD pp.81-109).
- Keep your snack plan simple. Some roasted nuts, roasted chickpeas, and/or nut butter and a small serving of non-tropical fruit are great options. Snacks do not need to be totally balanced according to ratios. As long as you include some combination of two macronutrients, you’re good to go (i.e. protein & fat, carb & fat, etc.). So rather than an apple, choose apple slices and cheese or apple slices and peanut butter.
- You also can’t go wrong with some of the most popular recipes in the Always Hungry? or Always Delicious books:
Shepherd’s Pie, AH p. 238
Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce, AH p.258 (can be made with chicken, shrimp, fish, or tempeh)
Eggplant Parmesan, AH p. 247 (Totally fine to skip the zucchini if you’d like, and just use two medium eggplant instead. Or us only zucchini if you’re not an eggplant lover.)
Marinara Primavera, AH p. 234
Mexican Shredded Chicken (great in the crock pot!), AH p. 241
Chicken Pot Pie, AD p. 119
Easy Dijon Chicken or Salmon, AD p. 128
On-a-Budget Marinated Chicken AD p. 116
Moroccan Chicken p. 133, or Moroccan Lamb p. 161
Here are links to 5 of our Always Delicious recipes published on our blog Blueberry Lime Mint Fizz, Moroccan Chicken Stew, Grain Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins, Quinoa Enchilada Casserole, and Almond Coconut Macaroons
Slow Cooker Shredded Beef or Pulled Pork AD, p. 148
- Chili and soups are an easy option to add to your Phase 1 plan (see AD pp. 238-258 or AH pp.280-284). Just use your meal builders to ensure that you are in the ballpark in your ratios of protein to fat to carbohydrate, or use the AD recipes with meal plans.
- Preparing meals in batches or cooking “One pan dinners” gives you a lot of flexibility in tweaking each meal to fit your needs. In general, these approaches also make it a lot easier to throw together a quick lunch during the week. Here’s our blog post on Sheet-Pan Dinners.
- Think simple: taco bowls, Greek chicken Mediterranean bowls, even meatballs with zoodles, parmesan cheese, and bean-flour pasta are all quick, easy options. Here are blog posts on Build-Your-Own-Tacos and Buddha Bowls.
- Keep staples on hand like chopped veggies, bagged greens, hard boiled eggs, minimally processed cold cuts, and some vinaigrette and dressing options. The dressing/sauce recipes in the book are super easy to make (AH pp. 259-274 and AD pp.283-306), and taste about a thousand times better than anything you could buy in a bottle or jar at the store. Canned beans can easily be tossed with some herbs, oil, vinegar or lemon/lime juice, veggies, and spices for a quick bean salad to toss on your plate when building your own meals.
- When choosing which meals from Always Hungry to include in your meal plan, also remember to read through Always Delicious to find recipes and meals for any Phase. Complete meal plans are included for recipes so you’ll have many to choose from!