Eating a “Boring” Diet Is A Key to Success

Wednesday May 27 | BY |
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Child girl looks with disgust for healthy food

It may come as a surprise to hear me say that one of the keys to success on any diet is a certain degree of “boredom,” which means consistency.

What makes it difficult to follow a diet and get results from it is when we are trying to eat different meals all the time. People that tend to get the best results with their diet have a pretty consistent program in place. That means that what they’re doing every day is predicable. It’s incorporated into their routines. Those who wake up and ask themselves “what am I going to eat today?” have less chance of becoming successful.

Where am I going with this?

I think it makes sense to make some of your meals predicable, and what others might call ‘boring.”

That means eating some of the same meals over and over and over again.

It may only appear boring to other people, but it has to be enjoyable for you. The meals that you’re going to eat over and over again should be tasty. They should be the sort of meals you never get tired of eating.

What are some of the benefits of eating the same meals over and over again?

  1. It’s easier. It’s easy to stock up on the ingredients, always buy the same things, make the same recipe, and prepare it in advance. It’s just easier to know that what you’re going to be eating is, to some degree, predicable.
  2. You can get health benefits. Why? Because if you carefully design those meals to be consistent, you can eat roughly the same number of calories, include certain foods that are very beneficial for health (like blueberries and flax seeds) that you would normally eat only occasionally.
  3. You eat less. Variety leads to over-eating. When we have more options, we eat more. When we’re in front of a buffet we eat more then when we have only one option. When something is new, it’s exciting. A dog will prefer a new kind of dog food than the old one simply because it’s different, and will eat more of it as a result.
  4. It’s less expensive. When you’re eating the same foods, you can make sure that you’re including foods that are less expensive and therefore you have less waste. You can include ingredients that are cheap and it’s just easier planning that way.
  5. It becomes a habit. When you always eat the same things, it’s just part of your life.

So, how do we keep the consistent diet enjoyable? There are certain meals of the day that can be repeated over and over again.

The most obvious one is breakfast. Breakfast should be simple. It should be the same thing pretty much all the time. Why? We don’t expect breakfast to be exciting. We just want to eat some food to get our day started. Lunch could also be a fairly predictable affair.

Dinner is where we seek some variety. If we eat the same dinner meals over and over again, we’re going to get bored. Only a very few people can do it. However, you can still rotate some of the same dinners that you prefer and let’s say once or twice a week introduce something new; that way you’re eating something different every day. If you want to make it even simpler, use that system and make your lunch simply leftovers from dinner.

What are some good examples of meals that I personally like, and are simple, nutritious and made easily?

Breakfast

I essentially rotate two or three breakfasts (rotate once every couple of weeks). Essentially two or breakfast meals are:

  1. The Green Smoothie: I pretty much make the same green smoothie for days or weeks in a row. An all-time favourite consists of some almond milk or water, one or two bananas, two scoops of flax meal, some frozen or fresh berries and a whole bunch of greens (either an entire small head of romaine lettuce or a bunch of spinach). If I have any other fruits lying around, I may throw them in as well. This is a great super food smoothie that I love.
  2. The Oatmeal Breakfast: I like the oatmeal breakfast because it keeps my energy sustained for a long time and it’s also very cheap and easy to prepare. I have a Japanese Zojirushi rice cooker that has the feature that you can program it in advance. So I will throw in the water and oatmeal in the rice cooker and program it for the morning; that way, when I get up, my breakfast is ready. What is my typical oatmeal recipe? I take hot oatmeal, I mix in some frozen berries (that way they thaw in the oatmeal), and I top it off with two scoops of flax meal and a little bit of maple syrup. Simple, delicious and very sustaining.

In my next article I will discuss some of my favourite lunches and dinners.

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

9 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Leila says:

    At last, having got breakfast and lunch down to the same, enjoyable ingredients, I have found the ultimate non-boredom-making dinner – a big salad. I’m sure I ‘m not the first to find salads infinitely variable.

  2. Laurie says:

    So true, so true. And I DO believe that the operative word is consistency or predictability, because it’s a cinch to keep it from being “boring”. I’m lucky enough to have an old DOS-based food journal program (ancient! just around the time that CD’s were invented because the program is on a CD), and people who still have VMware and can access them know that they can be MUCH faster than online based food journaling programs. With this program, in addition to the food databases that it came with, I can add individual foods or create recipes, all with full nutritional data.
    Almost every day (probably 5-7 days a month I’m going to special events and may choose not to journal those days) I start by copying my journal from the previous day, which takes a few seconds. Then I go through it and decide on the current days’ plan, either omitting recipes that I have fully consumed, changing proportions of individual foods or recipes that I plan to eat that day or adding a new recipe that I have put together. I’d say that about 75-80% of the foods that I eat the following day will be similar/same as the prior day. The real constant is the huge raw salad that I have at dinner every evening (although the individual veggies and amounts will change from day to day), but when I cook up dishes typically I might have that particular dish anywhere from 2-5 days in a row, or might freeze some and have it intermittently. I have never been less “bored” in fact, and really look forward to planning out my daily meals. When I buy a lot of different vegetables I often look for new or creative way to make a dish that I will eat for a few days, and will savor that, adding it to my recipe collection that I go back to often and revise and try to create with a different type of twist.
    Using this method of eating I was able to finally reach my goal weight a few years ago and have never had more than a +/- 5 lb change in weight since then, including vacations and cruises!

  3. Becky says:

    Love the article on” boring”it was great to see others doing this.
    Love the foods in your menu,looking forward to your other meals.

  4. Anna says:

    I agree that it helps for all the reasons you mention but I have developed food sensitivities from eating the same things all the time.

  5. Luis Medrano says:

    This is the case too when combining it with fitness goals. The easier your meal plan, the higher chance of success you will have.

  6. You said “They should be the sort of meals you never get tired of eating.” – there is no such thing for me. I can get tired of the best stuff too, if I eat it too often.

    Another issue I have is with salads, which although tasty and you can create infinite variations to keep you from being bored of them, I find that there is a lot of work eating them. It takes me at least 20 minutes to eat a big bowl of salad and that’s just too much time and my jaw gets tired and sometimes I just feel tired over all from eating for so long. A long meal is more boring to me than a repetitive meal.

  7. David says:

    Hi Frederic, you said you were going to continue this subject in your next post, but you seem to have forgotten. I think this post is pretty close to people’s hearts, if not their stomachs, so can you give us your assurance you will continue with boring choices for lunch and dinner?

  8. Hello,
    I,ve tried this method and I succeeded.
    It takes some time. Remember it is the amount of food that makes you fat and check the calories.
    It is a good program.

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