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Eat the same few meals over and over again

Just read this:

"The most successful dieters, regardless of whether their goal is muscle gain or fat loss, eat the same few meals over and over again. "

This is one of the best peices of diet advice. It is completely and totally true in my experience. When I'm on vacation and out of my routine (and away from my few routine meals), I always gain weight.


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Sat. Mar 22, 10:18pm

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That's interesting. I think it might backfire sometimes, though. For example, I make frozen lunches for the entire workweek on the weekends. By the time I get to Friday, though, I'm really ready for something different. If the recipe didn't turn out very well, I might *really* be wanting something *else* and end up getting a big cookie from the convenience store downstairs instead of just stopping after my planned meal.
But yes, I do find that having "old standbys" available for when I want something both tasty and healthy can be a huge help. Something I can prepare easily and without digging up a recipe.

Sunday, March 23, 2008, 12:02 AM

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I agree with the OP to a point. I eat the same things all the time for the most part but at some points I do get to a plateau and when I do that I need to change my diet up a bit to continue losing. I have lost 60 pounds since July 07 and when I hit plateaus the best thing for me is to add more calories and change up the menu a bit.

Sunday, March 23, 2008, 7:39 PM

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My brekkie and my lunch are usually the same. A fruit smoothie, eggs and turkey bacon with some cheese for brekkie. Lunch is a salad, compromising of romaine, broccoli, spinach, bell pepper, tomato and carrot, with whatever animal protein I want- chicken, turkey, roast beef, steak, whatever. Dinner is my wild card- varied for my sanity.

Keeping the first two meals almost the same makes it easy, and because I am SO pressed for time m-f it makes it easier on me to stay on track. But I need to vary dinner so I don't get bored, and because I love being creative in the kitchen.

Sunday, March 23, 2008, 10:17 PM

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I eat a lot of different foods but I find I like a certain type of food for a few months and then change to something else. So I guess I fall between both thoughts.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 12:42 AM

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SO TRUE !
I agree with the OP and also with PPs about varying dinner though. I started just breakfast, but now except for dinner, same meals (every 2 hour snacks really) every day - except weekends when breakfast the same and L & D different. this has been enormously effective for me when before I really could tell what I was eating or how many calories I had. I lost 40 lbs in 1 year.
Benefits:

So much easier to shop, prepare, and be good
Routine is powerful and comforting
You can choose healthy stuff you enjoy
You can tweak your diet to be just right adding, subtracting, changing items...
It gives you a sense of control, which is so nice.
When parties and social events come up, you can easily compare servings to what you usually eat and realize that everyone is eating 3 times what they need so you can slow down easier.



Monday, March 24, 2008, 10:11 AM

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really? When I was at LA Weight Loss, they told me when you eat the same things over and over, your body gets used to it and no longer burns as many calories as it should. hmmm.....what to do?

Monday, March 24, 2008, 12:06 PM

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I think the point of having a relatively small variation in your meals is that you get familiar with the measurements and portion size, so you make fewer mistakes. Also, these tend to be the things you really really like. Isn't it easier to stick to a diet when you're eating your portion-controlled favorites all the time?

My big variations are fruits and vegetables - I eat whatever is on sale, basically, which ensures a good range of vitamins. And they're really easy to figure out the calories for.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 12:13 PM

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12:06 - I've heard that a lot, but I cannot wrap my brain around that one to figure out how that could possibly be true.

I will say that when I venture out with new meals I end up eating a lot more calories. When I stick to my 'usuals' my weight predictably comes off.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 12:17 PM

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12:06 - that does not seem possible. Any scientific data to back that up?
I say eating mostly the same stuff is good.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 1:34 PM

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Yeah. LA Weight Loss...a "look how easy it is" diet franchise...not exactly the first, fifth or even twenty-fifth choice for reliable information on this subject.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 2:02 PM

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12:06 checking in.

I didn't believe it either, but that wasn't the only place I had heard that and thought maybe they were right.

So sorry 2:02 that I asked a question. Apparently I've offended you in some manner. Can't believe I asked a question about weight loss on a weight loss web site. I should be ashamed of myself.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 3:03 PM

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ACTAULLY...

Actually I think it is an EXCELLENT question - if high variety is essential in diet we "eat the same stuff" advocates should hear it.

I think if you ate (for example) the below diet every day for life you would live to 120 (if you had $$$ and a personal chef):

BKFT:
Plum & Apple salad
Steel Cut Oats with Flax meal & Raisins
Whey protein shake

SNAK:
Broccoli & carrot juice
walnuts & pumpkin seeds

LNCH:
Tomato & Kidney bean salad
Whole wheat bread
Tuna steak w/ garlic

SNAK:
Fat-free Cottage Cheese with Blueberries & Strawberries

DNNR:
Kale & Carrot Soup
Wild rice w/ almonds
Grilled Salmon
Black beans w/ garlic
Red Wine
Non-fat Yogurt w/ cranberries

SNAK:
Beet Borsht soup

...but if I am wrong somebody tell me.

-1:34

Monday, March 24, 2008, 3:18 PM

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Um...you'd have to find 120-year-old who ate like this for 100 years to prove your point.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 3:22 PM

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That diet would have me dead in about 25 years (I'm 27 now.)

However, that would be because I'm allergic to legumes and wheat, and don't do well with dairy- can't tolerate more than one serving a day. The fact is we are all unique and trying to make a one size fits all diet can never work, because we aren't all the same.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 3:41 PM

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1:34

I know things can get misread and misunderstood in chatting, but when I said "really? I was told to not eat the same thing...."aren't you the one who asked for scientific data? I just asked a question to see if what I was told was completely wrong. Now it's an excellent question? I'm not starting an argument, just completely lost in this conversation. All I want to know is what is a better way to eat...eat the same things or not.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 3:42 PM

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I don't think so 3:22 - don't those three longest living communities from National Geographic eat similar things each day? I just want (well actualy don't want) some university study or good science saying that eating the same broad spectrum of healthy things is bad for some reason...I feel we are unnecessarily burdened by an unproven need for ultra-variety.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 3:51 PM

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ORIGINAL QUESTION

So the original comment was that to "eat the same few meals over and over again" leads to long term diet success and then we got off track...
...obviously several PT posters have found this principle true for them (myself included).
I think same is good, but are there any better links to show the acceptability of routine in diet or necessity of variety?

http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/vegetables_tips.html

"Vary your veggie choices - to keep meals interesting"

http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/report/HTML/D10_Conclusions.htm

Recommended: "Consumption of a variety of food commodities within each of those food groups"


Monday, March 24, 2008, 5:29 PM

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Check out the National Weight Control Registry's research. They monitor habits of successful weight loss maintainers, and one of the things most of them have in common is eating the same foods. Have a look around their website, which I think is www.nwcr.ws.


* Other habits include logging food intake and doing 500 calories/day worth of cardio, in case you're curious.

Monday, March 24, 2008, 5:47 PM

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I think the idea behind eating the same foods is to automate your eating. You go to the three or so choices that you like for each meal, it's automatic and you know what you're getting. It's not a scientific thing, rather an automatic, habitual behavioral thing. Obviously, for this to work the automated choices need to be good ones! :)



Monday, March 24, 2008, 6:44 PM

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I'd lose weight eating that diet because there are only 4 things on it I could stomach...and wine would definitely be one of them! Broccoli and Carrot juice?
Tomato and Kidney Salad? Give me a glass of wine and big bowl of air, please mb

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 10:31 AM

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www.nwcr.ws
is interesting, thanks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 5:51 PM

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I lost my weight a few years ago and have been maintaining it for almost 2 years now and I eat MOST of the same foods over and over everyday.

I eat the same things for breakfast and lunch every work day and similar foods for breakfast and lunch on the weekends. There are some splurges on the weekends though!

Dinners are mixed up a bit more but always a big salad, a lean protien and a veggetable of some sort. This routine has worked for me so I believe it can work for others! Not scientific but coming from someone it has worked for.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 8:03 PM

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Conventional, but...

Okay...see now that is what I am talking about - -

12:09 AM is stating the CONVENTIONAL wisdom, but that is what I am questioning!
Habit leads to sucessful weight loss & maintenence whereas too much variety can lead to diet failure, so where is the hard scientific data / argumentation that a human REQUIRES a WIDE variety of healthy foods. I really haven't found anything that tells me that generally eating only like four of the same really healthy fruits most of the time is bad. Or that if I regularly ate mostly (for example) kale and tomatoes and carrots and beets that I should really mix it up more ? ?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 10:34 AM

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