100 lb. Club - is it a bad thing to eat the same foods every day?




PeanutsMom704
01-11-2010, 04:18 PM
I tend to not have all that much variety in my diet, particularly breakfast and lunch. breakfast is 2 nutrigrain waffles (need something quick and easy that I can take to work and cook there). Lunch is a big tossed salad with chicken and/or avocado and/or hard boiled egg (sometimes all 3) along with a small portion of rice, potato or pasta in the salad. I do vary my dinners a lot more, although probably still a rotation of about 4 or 5 different things for the most part.

I think it's a generally healthy mix and one that is managable for me in terms of shopping and cooking (single mom of a young child working full time outside the home so not a lot of spare time). But I'm just wondering if I should be trying for more variety? In other words, is food like exercise in the sense that my body gets used to it, and I won't lose as efficiently if I'm eating the same things all the time? I'm happy with what I'm eating in terms of enjoying it, but wondering if I should try harder to mix things up more?


TJFitnessDiva
01-11-2010, 04:27 PM
It should be ok as long as you don't get bored with it. :) I tend to eat the same few things for breakfast and for lunch then getting a bit more creative for dinner. The only time I think your body would get used to it in a way that stops your from losing then it's just time to reevaluate your calorie target for the day.

MoveMoveMove
01-11-2010, 04:29 PM
Variety may be good but only if it helps you stay on plan.

I looked at the old posts from some of the success stories on here and it looks like a few of them, at one point or another on this journey, ate mostly the same thing on a regular basis. I knew a lady once who had a three-day rotational meal plan that she just continually repeated. It worked for her because it kept her from bingeing and it had helped her keep off over 100 pounds for over two years.

I think the key is to eat healthy foods that fit into your lifestyle.


Matilda08
01-11-2010, 04:32 PM
For the most part since Ive been counting calories I pretty much eat the same foods, I may not eat them every single day but I eat the same foods all the time, for instance I may eat something three or four times per week. Since I shop at BJ's its much easier for me to purchase my healthy foods in bulk. Like the other poster said once you get bored you will have to figure something out.

nelie
01-11-2010, 04:32 PM
Our food nourishes us and with saying that I would try to vary your food somewhat just so that you get a good mix of nutrients. I've had long periods of time where I ate a lot of the same things because it was easy but I'd mix it up somewhat.

Also, one thing I do is make food ahead in bulk so that I don't have to cook every day. I eat a lot of beans and grains and one thing I do is make sure I rotate the type of beans/grains I eat. I also eat a variety of veggies but make sure I buy a variety. It is pretty easy to steam any veggie so that is usually how I prepare them or I roast them in the oven.

kaplods
01-11-2010, 04:35 PM
Ideally, variety is pretty important - especially in terms of fruits and vegetables (the different colors are associated with different micronutrients). So if you only eat dark green vegetables, but never eat bright yellow or red fruits and vegetables, you're getting shortchanged.

I try to aim for a lot of variety, but more so in terms of produce than other food types - in regard to proteins I don't pay as much attention, as cost is a larger determiner than variety in proteins for us (hubby and I are on disability income).

I tend to go on jags though. Mostly because of buying practices to save money. Fruit and vegetables are often cheapest in larger quantities, so if I get a good deal on a huge bag of apples or oranges, I'm going to be eating mostly apples or oranges as my fruit (but next shopping trip I'll try to find another variety of fruit on sale).

My recommendation "do your best and forget the rest."

time2lose
01-11-2010, 04:36 PM
I think it depends on your habits. I tended to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch over and over before I started on this lifestyle........ Hardee's chicken biscuit with hash browns for breakfast.....lunch included Snickers, potato chips, Cheetos, ....

Then when I start trying to eat healthier, I thought that I had to have variety at every meal. One day I realized that I was making it harder on myself. I started eating just a couple of different breakfasts and lunches and have my variety at dinner, just like I used to do with the unhealthy foods.

I am happy and I lose weight so, why not?

SNMomof1
01-11-2010, 04:41 PM
I think it's fine to eat the same thing. As long as you still enjoy it and don't feel "tied" down to it, you'll be fine. :)

CLCSC145
01-11-2010, 04:42 PM
I eat a lot of the same things day to day. This idea (http://www.thatsfit.com/2009/12/31/dr-ozs-12-best-diet-tips/) from Dr. Oz stuck with me when I heard it:

"Variety may be the spice of life, but it's also a contributor to weight gain, says Dr. Oz. He points out that when people eat the same thing for at least one meal a day, they lose more weight than people who mix it up. "It's easier to slip out of good eating habits when you try for too much diversity in every meal," he says. "By decreasing the variety of foods you eat throughout the day, you'll decrease the chance for the hedonistic rampages that can be so dangerous." In other words, limit your choices and it'll be easier to take off the weight. His trick: Find a lunch you like -- a salad with grilled chicken or vegetables or a pita stuffed with veggies and canned salmon -- and stick with it."

WhitePicketFences
01-11-2010, 05:17 PM
I rotate between the same things most of the time, and I'm happy with it.

Except for the occasional carb/treat breakfast, I alternate between the same 3 breakfasts (it was same two breakfasts until I introduced oatmeal recently).

Same (though more than 3) lunches. I eat a yogurt every day, for example.

Dinner holds the most variety for me as well.

Thighs Be Gone
01-11-2010, 05:22 PM
I eat the same staples. My fruits and veggies vary because I buy what is cheap and usually in season. I have my favorites as far as my staples are concerned--sockeye salmon, quinoa, raw almonds, oats, grilled chicken, egg whites, almond milk, coffee. I eat them again and again and haven't tired of them so far.

playfullyme
01-11-2010, 05:33 PM
Ideally, variety is pretty important - especially in terms of fruits and vegetables (the different colors are associated with different micronutrients). So if you only eat dark green vegetables, but never eat bright yellow or red fruits and vegetables, you're getting shortchanged.

I try to aim for a lot of variety, but more so in terms of produce than other food types - in regard to proteins I don't pay as much attention, as cost is a larger determiner than variety in proteins for us (hubby and I are on disability income).

I tend to go on jags though. Mostly because of buying practices to save money. Fruit and vegetables are often cheapest in larger quantities, so if I get a good deal on a huge bag of apples or oranges, I'm going to be eating mostly apples or oranges as my fruit (but next shopping trip I'll try to find another variety of fruit on sale).

My recommendation "do your best and forget the rest."


I agree with what you have said kaplods. (Great minds think alike!;) )
You have a lot on your "plate" (pun not necessarily intended) and it seems like you are in a routine with it. I wouldn't mess with it at all. If you want to do anything, I'd say add in some more fruit and maybe different veggies. I am also on a limited budget and buy most everything on sale. I just bought a bag of oranges and next time I hope it's apples.

I am new to this and every other time I have tried to get going with a weight loss thing I thought I needed elaborate foods and this time I am realizing it can be simple. For lunch the last three days I have had a big iceburg salad with light italian dressing and radishes. I have varied what I put with the salad. One day it was a sandwich, another day it was a single serving pizza, and today was a sweet potato and cottage cheese.

I think you are doing great!

matt_H
01-11-2010, 05:35 PM
I eat lots of the same foods all the time, but it is things that I love, and I haven't gotten bored yet :).

PeanutsMom704
01-11-2010, 05:51 PM
thanks everyone! I am so glad to know that eating the same foods is not only ok for weight loss, it is even recommended!

As for the variety/micronutrients issue - my salads are a rainbow, with red, yellow, green, orange and purple in there, so definitely not just some leafy greens. Lunch is my big/main meal of the day, and even though it's the same, I look forward to it every day. I do use different varieties of salad dressing so that helps keep it interesting for me. I think I will try to find some new grains to try with it though. That small serving (like 1 oz dry of pasta) of some sort of starch in the salad tastes yummy and also gives my lunch lots of staying power, but since it's mostly a big salad and protein, no big meal hangover afterwards and I'm always energized in the afternoons.

I generally have 1 or 2 pieces of fruit most days and an additional veggie at supper so I think I'm getting all the good colors/variety in of that.

I can always mix things up more when and if I get bored with what I'm eating, but it's really a relief to me to know that this routine I've got going is not a bad thing in terms of weight loss.

Arctic Mama
01-11-2010, 06:05 PM
Variety is a good idea for two reasons - it makes it more likely you will not be deficient in certain nutrients and it prevents development of most food sensitivities.

I had a healthy diet I ate almost every day several years back, and loved it, but I noticed I would feel 'off' after eating, especially breakfast, and I had tons of migraines, stomach upset, etc etc, that I had not ever had before.

Come to find out, by eating the same foods every day, I had actually developed food allergies to many of them and that 'off' feeling was my immune system attacking my body and the irritants (which were foods I ne'er had issues with before). By phasing those foods out of my diet for several months and introducing them back in MUCH more slowly, and infrequently, I was able to desensitize my immune system again and enjoy those foods in moderation.

Ideally having a three-to-seven day diet rotation, especially among grain and protein types, can be similar enough that you don't fall off the wagon but varied enough that you will not aggravate any sensitivities you may have. I had never had an allergy or food issue in my life and was VERY healthy, and yet through a lack of variety in my diet I ended up not being able to eat wheat, dairy, eggs, almonds, oats, and any brewers or bakers yeast product. It was awful, since those were among my core foods in my diet, and I learned my lesson on adding in less sensitizing food and more variety.

Caveat emptor, I'd suggest keeping your vegetables the same or similar each day, and just rotating the grain, dairy, and protein sources, so that you are eating meals of similar basic composition, but with a spectrum of nutrients. Good luck!

chickiegirl
01-11-2010, 06:22 PM
You know, it's funny, because I was thinking recently about how I get bored eating just a few "healthy" foods. But then I thought about the variety I have when I'm eating crappy foods and it turns out it's a pretty steady rotation of pizza, burgers and chocolate.

I think we may just notice the sameness of the food because we are more cognizant of our meals in general. And when it gets boring, you can always look for ways to switch it up. For now, I say go with what works.

kaplods
01-11-2010, 07:51 PM
I think struggling to find the right balance of routine/habit/structure and variety/novelty/freedom, is just part of the weight loss and maintenance journey.

I think there is no one-size-fits-all solution that works for everyone.

I think that I need more routine. So one of my plans for this year is to create and stick to a specific meal/snack template and schedule.

So, instead of just checking off my servings of food as I eat them (I follow an exchange plan), I'm trying to make a more consistent and predictable schedule (breakfast, for example being one dairy, one fruit, and two proteins).

Even though the foods I eat may be very different from the day before, at least the calories and food types can become a habit.

It may not work for everyone, but I think it will work well for me, and that's what really matters to each of us - finding the balance that is the most practical and successful.

Kirjava
01-11-2010, 09:02 PM
It's nice to hear from another creature of habit! I have very little variety in my diet currently, but I find it easy to keep up with and I enjoy what I'm eating, so I don't worry too much about eating the same things over and over.

I make a giant meal on Sundays and divide it into individual serving containers and freeze it for the week. I'll eat that same thing for lunch and dinner every day.

Knowing that I'll be eating the same thing has also forced me to consider how I can add to the nutritional value of the meals I love. Sometimes I'll make something like potato soup that does not usually have meat or veggies in it, and I'll end up adding chicken, brocolli, peas, or spinach. Same for spaghetti.

I think if it works for you and has the required nutrition, it shouldn't be an issue to eat the same things all the time.

junebug41
01-11-2010, 09:46 PM
I like what I like and if it tastes good, fills me up, and gives me proper nutrients and energy, then I see no good reason to not eat it until I find something else I like better.

I have a few things that I rotate for braekfast and vary my dinners (although I cook for the week a lot), but I always eat the same thing for lunch. It's healthy and never gets old :shrug: I get teased sometimes, but I really don't care ;)

Lizzie2010
01-11-2010, 10:00 PM
I've never heard of someone developing a food allergy because they were eating it all the time. That doesn't really make sense...

What I think about the whole variety deal, well, it's along the lines of what everyone else has said. If you think how humanity existed thousands of years before food could be shipped across the ocean in about 2 days, they existed based on the food that was available to them right where they lived. In some places, there was more variety than others. But generally, people ate the same things all the time. They didn't come in from the fields and say, "Well, honey, do you feel like Chinese or Mexican tonight?" LOL no, they ate whatever was available. So, I'm sure as long as you're incorporated several different types of fruits and veggies, you're just fine. I think the most important thing is you don't get bored and start experimenting with, you know, assorted chocolates and stuff. That'd be the bad variety. =)

JulieJ08
01-11-2010, 10:30 PM
Variety is good for you, but ...

In other words, is food like exercise in the sense that my body gets used to it, and I won't lose as efficiently if I'm eating the same things all the time?

Nope.

Also, there's a balance between variety and a plan that's easy enough for you to stick to. I wouldn't push too far away from "easy" too quickly.

saef
01-11-2010, 10:35 PM
[Imagining my Eastern European forebears becoming allergic to potatoes and cabbage ... and then maybe starving.]

I'm another one whose eating is practically programmed. Breakfast, especially, but then again, it's often 5:30 AM & I am half conscious, and my putting it together is practically choreographed & a form of muscle memory.

Dinner varies, but only week by week. I'm cooking just for myself, and it's hard to cook some things in small portions. The grocery store doesn't seem to work that way. So I'm often eating the same thing for dinner a good part of the week. I mean, I do change off weekly -- from chicken to tofu crumbles to pork loin to flank steak to beans -- and I have a rule about fish on Fridays, partly because I come from a Catholic cultural tradition and partly because I want to eat more fish. But there's a lot of sameness & reheating a portion of something made a few days earlier.

But it works for me. I get home at 8:15 a lot of evenings. Already I have too much going, & I have chosen not to be an over-achiever in my cooking skills. No gourmet low-calorie meals whipped up seven nights a week.

ubergirl
01-11-2010, 10:39 PM
"Variety may be the spice of life, but it's also a contributor to weight gain, says Dr. Oz. He points out that when people eat the same thing for at least one meal a day, they lose more weight than people who mix it up. "It's easier to slip out of good eating habits when you try for too much diversity in every meal," he says. "By decreasing the variety of foods you eat throughout the day, you'll decrease the chance for the hedonistic rampages that can be so dangerous." In other words, limit your choices and it'll be easier to take off the weight. His trick: Find a lunch you like -- a salad with grilled chicken or vegetables or a pita stuffed with veggies and canned salmon -- and stick with it."

Well now, that's interesting. I find that I do better when I stick to a small number of tried and true items-- I like to eat good food and enjoy it, but I'm better off when my food isn't very exciting. The more it's exciting, the more I want more.

I eat the same breakfast every day, similar stuff for lunch, and vary dinner between chicken and fish, plus different veggies. Biggest variety is in veggies.

kaplods
01-11-2010, 10:45 PM
If you think how humanity existed thousands of years before food could be shipped across the ocean in about 2 days, they existed based on the food that was available to them right where they lived. In some places, there was more variety than others. But generally, people ate the same things all the time... they ate whatever was available.


There would have been far more variety in ancient human diets than we can imagine by today's standards because most of us don't know more than a couple of the thousands of edible plants and animals that are native to our region. Most of their diet, would have been made of things we probably wouldn't even recognize as food sources (such as insects, lichen and acorns).

Even the most open-minded foodie is probably a picky eater by ancient standards (where you ate whatever you were reasonably sure wouldn't kill you). Yes, you ate what was available, and if it was edible, you ate it (and there are many, many edible things in a natural environement - thousands of species of plant and animals). They couldn't afford to be picky, either if there was a remote chance that it was edible, it was probably eaten. That means fruits were eaten to the core, every part of the plant or animal was used


Read any of the books or "field guides" of edible plants (The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America, is just one example) and you will find that there are not hundreds, but thousands of edible plants in any of the habitable region of the USA (and in most areas of the world where humans have lived, even in the Arctic - though the plant life is available during a much shorter period of the year). And it's likely that the native americans in each of those areas, recognized and ate everything that was edible. That's far more variety than what shows up in even the most exotic of grocery stores.

Meats also - in the USA, today we eat primarily beef, chicken, pork and occasionally turkey - and mostly the muscle meat only. There are many people who have never eaten any meat outside those four. Rabbit, duck, and lamb are considered "exotic," and very few people today would consider grasshoppers, spiders, rodents, and every single forest critter a potential meal, but our ancestors would have.)

They would have eaten dozens of animal species, any living critter they could have caught (including insects) and would have eaten every last bit of it (even as much of the skin and bone as they could chew).

PeanutsMom704
01-11-2010, 11:28 PM
I've never heard of someone developing a food allergy because they were eating it all the time. That doesn't really make sense...

What I think about the whole variety deal, well, it's along the lines of what everyone else has said. If you think how humanity existed thousands of years before food could be shipped across the ocean in about 2 days, they existed based on the food that was available to them right where they lived. In some places, there was more variety than others. But generally, people ate the same things all the time. They didn't come in from the fields and say, "Well, honey, do you feel like Chinese or Mexican tonight?" LOL no, they ate whatever was available. So, I'm sure as long as you're incorporated several different types of fruits and veggies, you're just fine. I think the most important thing is you don't get bored and start experimenting with, you know, assorted chocolates and stuff. That'd be the bad variety. =)

lolol! Hadn't thought about the caveman not having lots of different takeout options but that's a good point. It seems like lots of people have been successful and content doing it like this, so I feel a lot better about sticking with my current routine. And as JulieJ80 points out, I'm still a newbie with what I'm doing right now, so I could use a lot more time to make sure the good habits are well ingrained.

re: the allergy issue, I'm eating foods I've been eating all my life - maybe a little bit less variety but honestly, not a LOT less variety. I'm a kind of picky eater, and I tend to stay with the tried and true anyway. The big difference is portion sizes, but not really the food itself.

FitGirlyGirl
01-12-2010, 12:10 AM
I eat a lot of the same foods frequently. My breakfast is exactly the same almost every morning - all that changes is the flavor of my yogurt. I do try to get as many colors as I can in my veggies. I also take a multi-vitamin. My doc has seen my food logs and said I'm fine. My lab work is also great. I say if it works for you then keep it up.

JulieJ08
01-12-2010, 12:32 AM
kaplods, have you taken to snacking on grasshoppers lately. 'Cause you sure are mentioning insect a lot lately ;)

kaplods
01-12-2010, 02:09 AM
kaplods, have you taken to snacking on grasshoppers lately. 'Cause you sure are mentioning insect a lot lately ;)

LOL, I haven't ever (intentionally) eaten an insect, and I'm not sure I have the nerve to start with grasshoppers.

If I would have been less practically minded (and not concerned with how I would make a living after college) I would have chosen to study cultural and nutritional anthropology instead of psychology.

It was actually a post on this site that led me to really study what our ancestors most likely ate. Someone mentioned how the irish had lived for generations on only potatoes and little else.


At the time, I had just read an irish cookbook that discussed many historical dishes and I was astonished at the wide variety of greens were eaten with those potatoes (which didn't even enter the irish diet until the 16th century). Before the potato famine, the (poor) irish were getting most of their calories from potatoes, but they were seasoning those potatoes with all sorts of nutritions veggies - kale and other cabbages, wild and cultivated allums such as wild ramps, wild and cultivated onions and garlic and other greens. For protein, eggs and milk and the occasional bit of game they'd hunt if the landlord permitted (or which they may have poached if he hadn't).

The irish may have gotten most of their calories from the potato, but they got plenty of nutrition (in the form of micronutrients) and variety from sources other than the potato, especially in the plant foods they used as herbal medicines, seasonings.

It reminds me of the native Inuit (Eskimo diet), which is said to almost exclusively fat and meat (caribou, fish, rabbit, seals, walrus, whales...) - 75% of calories coming from fat. But the plants they DO eat, are some pretty heavy hitters when it comes to micronutrients such as antioxidants and vitamins. Plants like grasses, tubers, roots, stems, berries (arctic berries are some of the most nutritious, and the most varied with nearly 50 types of berries being native), seaweed, vetch roots, sorrel leaves and rosewood stems...

Even with so little calories coming from plant foods, the nutrients in those foods really pack a wallop.

I'm rambling I know. I just love the topic, and it's just so interesting (to me, anyway).

Oh, but back to insects, I am fascinated with role of insects in the "natural" ancestral human diet. And in reading about insects as a food - I was amazed at the nutrition they provide.

Would I eat insects? Not in the USA or any other Western country (the pesticide content would have to be tremendous), but if I were in Mexico, South America, Southeast Asia or the Phillipines - I think so (especially the deep-fried, seasoned ones. There's not much that deep frying can't make tasty).

giselley
01-12-2010, 02:44 AM
I think "better safe than sorry." If you know something works then stick with it. Vary as to seasonal vegetables and so on.

traci in training
01-12-2010, 03:37 AM
I eat the same thing every morning - wasa with cheese and a piece of fruit. I eat either soup or salad for lunch. If I'm working over the traditional supper hour, I eat a salad. If I'm working a night shift I eat a baked sweet potato or soup. Suppers at home are varied and often not what I would make if I was cooking just for myself. DD starts clucking and I know it's time to make something non-chicken for supper.

That said, I think for the long-haul lifestyle change it's a good thing to try new stuff. DH got me some new cookbooks for Christmas and I'm trying to make something new (and healthy) once a week. Fried chicken and lasagna aren't going to be part of the regular rotation ever again around here, so discovering new things is one more step for us to take in making this a permanent change. And that darn daughter will leave for college in a few months, so we can cluck all we want then!

ToriLeigh
01-12-2010, 10:34 AM
I eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast every morning, but my lunch and dinners are varied. I am learning about portion control. Most of the foods I have always made for my family are not bad, they just can be if I eat way too much. It's actually great for us because my daughter and husband still get the foods they like, but I am just learning to eat less of them.

JustBeckyV
01-12-2010, 11:35 AM
My breakfast and morning snack is the same for the most part during the week because it's easier. On the weekends I try to do something different. I have a few differnt choices for lunch but it's mostly just a rotation of foods. I do mix up my dinners though to help the variety!