Hi! Welcome to Fit, Food, and Fun Fridays! Today we’ll talk about the surprising benefits to meal repetition. Have you ever considered eating the same type of meals each day? It makes meal planning and shopping easier, and depending on your food choices, supports weight loss as well.
There are many benefits to eating the same things over and over again, including the obvious one of saving time, but researchers have found that meal repetition can help fight obesity. Using a small kitchen scale and food journaling, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that people who ate the same meals every day had lower body mass indexes, or BMIs, than those who changed their food habits.
Meal repetition is an often-overlooked weight loss strategy, but one that can be surprisingly beneficial even in the short-term. A large review of the research in 2010 showed that frequent meal repetition (eating the same meals each day) could help you lose weight in the short-term, and that this effect was more pronounced when you eat a healthy diet.
Consider these benefits to eating the same healthy food each day:
1. Save money, time, and temptation at the grocery store.
When you eat similar meals, grocery shopping is a breeze!
- You’ll quickly figure out where to find your favorites and how much they cost.
- You can go directly to what you need, avoiding calorie-laden temptations you’ll always notice when you shop around for ideas.
- You can buy in bulk so you save money and always have the necessary ingredients.
2. Junk food is less tempting.
When you serve healthy and delicious meals that are familiar, you won’t be tempted by junk food during the day.
- The key to weight loss is to eat in moderation. However, eating healthy food that you love and promotes weight loss is also important.
- Familiar meals may be more comforting and stop you from craving junk food.
3. A little variety is still possible.
Even if you eat the same basic meal each day, you can add a little variety to spice things up.
- For example, if you eat oatmeal for breakfast every day, you can add variety by changing your toppings. One day, add blueberries, and the next day, add strawberries.
4. You stop viewing food as a reward.
One of the main issues for people who struggle with weight loss is how they look at food, and their feelings around it.
- It’s common to have an unhealthy view of food. You may see it as a reward or punishment. Neither one of these views is healthy or sustainable long-term.
- By viewing food as a reward, you may be tempted to overeat and indulge in ice cream or candy after you do well at work. You can also reward yourself with junk food after a hard day because you think you deserve it.
- By viewing food as a punishment, you start to resent healthy salads and kale. You may begin to hate food that is part of your diet.
- When you eat the same food each day, you don’t think of it as a reward or punishment. You learn to see it as fuel for your body that isn’t attached to emotions, stress, or other things.
5. You plan ahead for challenges.
Diet challenges, such as not being able to cook every night or being surrounded by doughnuts at work, can sabotage your weight loss goals.
- When you have the same meals and plan ahead to eat, you don’t have as many challenges.
- You can cook on the weekends, freeze food, and know what you’re eating every day.
- You don’t waste time on figuring out what is healthy or safe for your diet. Instead, you can eat what you’ve already planned.
- If you don’t have to think about your food choices all the time, then the diet may feel less annoying and restrictive. You simply eat what is required and move on. You don’t dwell on calories or fat.
Dieting doesn’t have to be a complex process. You don’t have to experiment with complicated recipes or new foods every day of the week. It’s fine to cook and eat the same foods, as long as they’re healthy and you enjoy them. You can simplify your life with this method and lose weight at the same time.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because the overweight and obesity epidemic is at an all-time high! We are a fat society and it’s killing us prematurely. Not only do I truly believe that you have the power to lose weight to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of obesity so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, and maybe reverse some of your chronic diseases. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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