General Diet Plans and Questions - consistency vs monotony

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12-28-2012, 11:38 AM
so i've heard before that it's easier to stick to a healthy plan if you eat essentially the same thing most days - to take the guess work and the temptation out of it. but i've also heard that the monotony makes it harder to stick to it, and that we need variety when we diet.

what have you found works for you?

12-28-2012, 11:43 AM
My breakfast and lunch don't vary much but I do try to change it once in awhile for the nutrition value not to relieve monotony.

12-28-2012, 12:37 PM
This is one of the reasons I like exchange plan dieting. You can have both consistency and variety just by how you arrange your exchanges.

For example, breakfast might always be:

2 bread or fruit exchanges (or one of each)
1 dairy exchange
2 proten exchanges
1 fat exchange

(I have blood sugar issues, so I have to be careful with the bread and fruit exchanges, someone who doesn't have blood sugar issues might choose to distribute their exchanges very differently - their meal formulas and calorie levels might be different than mine, but they can still use the same formulas every day).

By using a "formula" I have the "same" breakfast every day, even though it's also a different breakfast every day. I just mix and match according to the same formula, so that

a breakfast of
1-2 ounces dry cereal (depending on the calorie and carb count of the cereal)
8 ounces of skim milk
2 hard boiled eggs
1 piece of crisp bacon

is the same breakfast as

2 slices of toast
2 ounces of lean ham
1 tsp mayo or 2 tsp light mayo
8 ounces of low fat yogurt (or skip the mayo and use mustard and have 2% milkfat yogurt)

Likewise lunch and dinner might always follow the same formula, but what you use to fulfill the formula doesn't have to be identical, each component just has to be of the same type.

You can choose to have the EXACT, IDENTICAL meal every day, or you can have the same "formula" but swapping out components for different components of the same type.

Right now, I'm not using exchanges, but I'm using another "consistent" formula plan. I'm following "The Simple Diet" (from the book), which consistes of

3 "meal replacements" (mostly protein shakes) each under 200 calories, with more than 10g of protein

2 dinners (under 300 calories, with more than 10g of protein, and less than 9g of fat) - The book suggests pre-made meals such as frozen dinners and canned soups, which I do use, but I also make my own meals that fit the guidelines.

and 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables.

Simple, consistent, and as varied as you want to make it.

There are a lot of strategies you can use to make your meal plan predictable and consistent but also as flexible and varied as you want it to be.

12-28-2012, 12:39 PM
I eat the same breakfast every doesnt seem to bug me. I vary the same 6 or so things for dinner.

12-28-2012, 12:59 PM
I'm on a medically supervised diet so my choices are limited as far as meals are concerned. What I have learned is spices (fresh and bottled) can change the experience so much for few calories. I have a few pasta dishes I can have so I try to change them up a bit either with fresh basil added, crushed red pepper, etc. I have a chicken and rice dish with vegetables that I add buffalo wing sauce or barbecue sauce to (on the chicken). So for some people, they might get bored but not me! I like coming up with new varieties for my base meals knowing I am not compromising the calorie counts by more than 10-20 at the most.

12-28-2012, 01:11 PM
Breakfast - I usually choose between 2 things: cereal or homemade smoothie.

Lunch - I pick from 3 usual things.

Dinner - Varies greatly

So I know for the most part I am good, I just need to make sure dinner is healthy.