The latest technique for weight loss, supported by several health and weight-loss experts, is a rule you never want to follow in the fitness realm, but may work wonders with your diet: MONOTONY.
Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand when it comes to managing your weight and living a healthy lifestyle, but they clearly have their differences. One of the most well known facts about exercise is that you have to constantly switch it up. You never want to do the same thing day after day, or you will stop seeing results. However, a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that it may be the opposite when it comes to nutrition.
In the recent study by the University of Buffalo, nutritionist Leonard Epstein and his colleagues found that eating the same foods at mealtime might lower calorie consumption. It was a simple study: they took 32 women and divided them into two groups with equal obese and normal weight women. The women were instructed to perform a task for 28 minutes, and were then given a 125-calorie portion of macaroni and cheese, and allowed as many extra helpings as they wanted. Both groups went through five sessions, but half of them did the sessions five days in a row, and the other did it once a week for five weeks.
By the end of all of the sessions, the once-a-day group had decreased its calorie intake of macaroni by about 30 cal. per session, while the once-a-weekers had increased theirs by 100 calories. They concluded that reducing variety in food choices may help weight loss, and that remembering that you just ate a certain food may help to reduce consumption.
This results are termed “habituation,” meaning that repeated use (in this case, exposure to a food) is sometimes accompanied by a lack of response (in this case, disinterest in the food). “We’ve known for years that foods – even eating itself – can trigger release of various brain chemicals, some of which are also involved in what happens with drug addiction and withdrawal,” commented a spokesperson for the American Society of Nutrition, Dr Shelley McGuire. “The trick will be balancing this concept with the importance of variety to good nutrition.”
In Tim Ferris’ best seller, “The Four Hour Body”, he suggests repeatedly eating the same meals, but certainly not things like macaroni and cheese. His reasoning is that you have less room for error – by eating the same healthy meals day after day you can eat clean and stay on track without thinking about food all the time. This might be an effective approach for people who have difficulty with nutrition and calorie counting, etc.
Then again, restricted diets are harder to stick to. Depriving yourself of certain foods can lead to binging and a bad cycle of yo-yo dieting. Some people have success with eating the same 3-4 meals a day, Monday to Friday, and then giving themselves a little variety on the weekends. Tim Ferris’ plan includes one cheat day a week, when you can literally eat anything you want in any quantity – I think that seems a little big extreme, but you can check out his blog for more info on his popular and somewhat controversial approach to weight loss.
Another way to go the monotonous approach without getting too bored and going completely off track is by changing your daily meals every few weeks. Eat the same 3-4 meals Monday through Friday, for 2 weeks. Then plan another 3 meals for the next couple of weeks. You’ll still gain the effects of eating routine meals, without all the boredom.
If you ask a number of Hollywood’s hottest stars what they their normal diet is like, it tends to be pretty repetitive. Jennifer Aniston has said that she often has fruit and yogurt for breakfast, salad for lunch, and broiled fish and steamed vegetables for dinner. It might sound pretty boring, but she looks better than ever!
Bottom line: it’s just another possible weight-loss technique. If you’re prone to yo-yo dieting and binge-eating on diets then this definitely isn’t for you. Otherwise, head to the nearest Costco or Sam’s Club and give it a try! Even if you don’t lose weight, you’ll at least save money and time buying groceries in bulk!