Dieting to lose weight can be full of obstacles. You may have to buy foods you wouldn’t buy ordinarily. You may have to cook differently. You very likely have to count, whether it’s carbs, fats or calories. These obstacles can quickly lead you to abandon your weight loss efforts altogether. But by opting not for variety but consistency in your meals, you can avoid these obstacles, remain on your diet and be healthy as you lose weight.
Choose a Meal or Two
Start with making one meal the same every day. Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz, authors of “YOU on a Diet,” say the best way to start is to automate the meal you rush through most. If it’s breakfast, make it something you like: a bowl of oatmeal, a smoothie, or a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter. Make sure the meal fits into your diet plan -- you will only have to do this once. Whatever breakfast you choose, stick to it every single day. You won’t have to think about what to eat, agonize over choices or count anything. You have already done the hard part. When you’re ready, do the same with another meal.
Shopping Made Easy
When you make two meals a day the same, your grocery shopping becomes much easier. If you know that you are having an egg-white omelet for breakfast and a meal-size salad for lunch every day, you can stock up on egg whites and salad fixings. Shop only for what you need and avoid the store’s snack aisles. Because you won’t be making different meals for breakfast and lunch every day, your shopping list will shrink. You won’t have to buy spices you’ve never heard of or a different cut of meat for every day of the week. Eating the same meals decreases your shopping hassle and makes it easier to stick to your weight loss plan.
Fewer Choices, More Weight Loss
Many people have a harder time making a decision when faced with a variety of choices. The same applies to food, say Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen -- if you eat the same meal for at least one meal a day, you will lose more weight than if you have a variety. When you know what you are going to eat every day, you are less likely to eat for your taste buds or give in to cravings that will derail your diet. Eating the same meals makes it more likely you will eat for health and satiety, and increase your chance for weight loss success.
Don’t Forget Snacks
The CDC suggests replacing unhealthy habits with healthy ones to help you lose weight. Instead of a soda and a bag of chips from the vending machine, choose good-for-you snacks to have between meals and have them every day you need a snack. For example, eat yogurt with fruit at mid-morning and a handful of almonds at mid-afternoon. Alternate them. Or have two yogurts in one day. As with meals, keeping your snacks the same will also make it easier to stick to your diet and lose weight.
A Healthy Habit
By automating your meals, you avoid many pitfalls that can bounce you off the diet wagon, such as eating when you’re not hungry or skipping meals, two habits that can lead to weight gain. Gradually changing your eating habits will help you make the change permanent. Making one meal, and then two meals, the same will lead to healthy food choices in the meal that you alter every day, encouraging further weight loss.
- “YOU on a Diet;" Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz; 2006
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Weight – It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle: Improving…
- NIDDK: Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight Loss Program