Thought Collection: Does Variety Impact Weight Management?

May 16, 2013

Another debate on this lovely morning…

My aunt once told me that her mother ate the exact same breakfast and lunch every single day of her life. I can’t remember the exact meals, but I think breakfast was something simple like an egg with toast and lunch was a scoop of tuna over a tomato. She maintained her weight to a T for years. Clearly she was not much of a foodie to want to eat the same meals her whole life, but she must have enjoyed those foods very much.

Does being a foodie make weight management more difficult?

I feel the need to taste everything – particularly on dessert buffets! – because I can’t stand to miss out on a flavor. Often I think this is at the cost of my waistline. Foodie tasting > intuitive eating. I also feel as a blogger that I can get heavy handed with toppings just to make food look prettier. A little coconut for finishing – why not!?

Foodblog-2634 Foodblog-2692

Similarly:

Does being into nutrition actually backfire sometimes and cause overeating?

I am always thinking ahead:

Is this balanced enough to fill me up?

Should I add another protein/fat/whole grain to help with satiety?

Do I have enough fruits and vegetables in this meal?

It’s always about adding, which is a GOOD thing because so long as you’re adding healthy foods it’s for a great reason. However, can this come back to get you if you’re piling too much on your plate?

You know how they say you should always have a carbohydrate with a protein or fat at meals and snacks to keep blood sugar steady? When I might just reach for an apple, I also reach for a few almonds or a slice of cheese “for the nutrition” when really I might have just wanted the apple.

Foodblog-3230 Foodblog-2899

I guess it all comes down to listening to hunger and fullness cues. If you put those at top priority, neither should interrupt a weight maintenance or loss plan. But it has made me wonder if I should stick with the same oatmeal for breakfast and salad for lunch to simplify my life like my aunt’s mother did.

What do you think?

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 153 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut May 16, 2013 at 8:31 am

Well, as with all questions like this….it depends. If you are eating until you’re stuffed for the sake of getting veggies and fruit into your meal, then this probably isn’t the best way to manage your weight. However, if adding these items just helps you get more nutrients, I’d say it’s a good thing to be conscious about your eating.

I do, however, eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast everyday…nutbutter on toast. I just change up the nutbutter or bread when I get board or add things to the toast like cinnamon or jelly.

Reply

2 Katie May 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

There are so many more important things in life (at least to me) than maintaining my weight to a T, and this absolutely includes all the delicious food there is out there to try. Personally, I would never want to just eat the same thing every day regardless of it it prevented me from gaining weight.

Reply

3 Cristal May 17, 2013 at 7:28 am

I totally agree with you, Katie!

Reply

4 Helen May 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

There have been several scientific studies proving that variety leads to weight gain – I’m sure you have these in mind!

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/food-variety-calorie-intake-and-weight.html

Reply

5 Jeri May 16, 2013 at 8:39 am

When I lost 60 pounds 9 years ago, I stuck to the same foods 2 pancakes and a salad with meat and no other carbs all day. But I gained most if it back. I love food as well and I think you can lose and maintain if you learn how to eat what you like but fining healthier Ways to to eat it. Like because if you I do t buy sour cream anymore, Greek yogurt is the replacement.

It’s just so expensive to eat healthy. Fresh fruits and veggies shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to save my health.

Reply

6 Nicole May 16, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I know this is highly debatable but I absolutely disagree that it is expensive to eat healthy. There are healthy choices EVERYWHERE and, in fact, it is much more affordable to buy produce than most packaged or processed foods. We, as consumers, let the health “industry” try to tell us what we need and why we need expensive, speciality foods or vitamins, but most of what is being pushed is also processed/packaged.

Reply

7 Allison May 16, 2013 at 8:34 pm

That may be true some places, Nicole, but that is absolutely not the case in a number of food deserts in major cities around the United States.

Reply

8 Katharine May 17, 2013 at 8:28 am

The ny times did a huge study last fall, proving that inner city “food deserts” are esentially a myth. In reality, inner city markets tend to have a greater variety of fresh fruit and veg and other healthy items, than are available in most suburban markets, mostly due to ethnic variety.

Reply

9 Allison May 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

That is highly debatable, and the article itself admits as much. Being two miles from a grocery store means nothing if you a) don’t have a car, b) have unreliable public transit options, and/or c) work multiple jobs at irregular hours that prevent you from shopping during business hours. I perhaps misspoke when I only referred to food deserts in “major cities,” given that often people in rural areas also have a hard time getting access to inexpensive food sources. This site has a link to the Food Access Research Atlas’s list of food deserts across the country: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/03/13/174112591/how-to-find-a-food-desert-near-you

At the end of the day, people who live in these communities will testify that it is hard for them to obtain inexpensive, healthy food. I am personally always a fan of letting people speak to their own experiences, as they know better than outsiders do.

Reply

10 Moira May 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Allison, I totally agree. Food has never been more expensive or hard to come by than when I lived in Pittsburgh for my undergrad. My neighborhood had one poorly-stocked, insanely overpriced grocery store with next to no fresh produce. A trip to another store would require two bus rides on a day off, and would take two hours round-trip on a good day! Not something you can do multiple times a week.

Reply

11 Lindsey @ Pas de Deux May 16, 2013 at 8:50 am

I would find it painfully monotonous to eat the same exact thing every day! I love variety, and I have a hard time believing that anyone really wants the same exact meals on a daily basis… As for weight management, I think the key is to really listen to your body and to only eat as much as you truly need at that time–easier said than done, though! ;-)

Reply

12 KathEats May 16, 2013 at 9:06 am

You know, I bet the body craves diversity just because it needs diverse nutrients for optimum health. So if we do eat the same thing for a few days the body kicks in to want something else – not just flavor but nutrients too

Reply

13 Drina May 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

I think this is true to a point, but we certainly don’t need to eat everything. Look at the traditional diets from cultures around the world known for great health. The Japanese will eat rice, fish and vegetables everyday. The Greek will have spinach, tomatoes, feta, olive oil… healthy people tend to eat the same kinds of things everyday without worrying about what they’re missing. Yes, it’s important to eat foods full of nutrients, but we don’t need to eat them all.

Reply

14 Sarah May 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Another way to look at the “variety” question is day-to-day variety vs. variety in a single meal. I’m sure that having more food available at a single meal can easily lead to weight gain – think buffets and potlucks, where it’s easy to overeat. But there’s also day-to-day variety which is likely to lead to consuming a greater variety of micronutrients without necessarily overeating, e.g., eating a few different kinds of fruit with lunch throughout the week rather than just having an apple every day.

Reply

15 Kate May 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm

One of the strangest things I’ve learned as a nutritionist is that this isn’t true! Your body doesn’t actually crave different foods for nutrients. So sad, since it seems so intuitive. I swear sometimes I crave a big juicy steak ‘for iron,’ alas, probably just because it’s delicious. Facts can be so inconvenient! As others have mentioned, and as I’m sure you know, there is a whole literature discussing how variety leads to overeating.

You would probably like Sue Roberts’ book the iDiet, which stands for the instinct diet. In the science-heavy intro she talks about the 5 axis along which studies have found people to be influenced into eating (hunger, availability, calorie density, familiarity, and variety). I’m not into diets since they don’t work, but I went to Tufts where she’s a researcher and heard her give a talk about it (disclosure: I don’t know her, just went to a talk!). I ended up buying the book after realizing that the recipes were great: delicious, satisfying and very ‘foodie’ friendly for a diet book. She’s also a trained chef, I think? The intro talking about those factors ended up being really interesting as well.

Reply

16 Ashley May 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

I don’t really buy into the whole protein or fat with carbs to keep blood sugar steady thing, unless of course you are a diabetic or pre-diabetic. For someone with no problems with insulin resistance the body is good at keeping the blood sugar levels fairly steady. But for satiety, I see what you mean!

I could NEVER eat the same thing day after day. I love food too much! I saw a documentary lately that had a bit of advice I thought was good — don’t deprive, just eat the hell out of the good stuff. Increase veggies, water, whole grains, etc, and that will naturally decrease any less than ideal choices over time. I work in weight loss, and I tell my clients that one a lot :)

Reply

17 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! May 16, 2013 at 8:53 am

I think either method could make for a healthy person. Sure the one who eats the same thing everyday wouldn’t get to enjoy the fun and variety that food can bring (but maybe they are picky with their taste buds), whereas the person with variety gets to enjoy all the fruits of life but may have to be more mindful of what and how much they’re eating than the routine person. I personally am all about variety! It’s the spice of life after all!

Reply

18 Jessica May 16, 2013 at 8:54 am

I’ve been an R.D working in weight management for many years. Research does show people who limit variety are more successful with weight loss. Rena Wing has done some gret research on it. However, the bottom line is portion control. It’s harder to limit portions when confronted with variety…because we do want to taste a little of everything!

Reply

19 Kelly May 16, 2013 at 9:01 am

I think this all depends on personality. I could never eat the same thing day in and day out for a meal. I may for a few days, and then I get bored! I have a friend that eats the same exact things every day for breakfast/snack/lunch–EVERYDAY!—to me, it seems a little “disordered eating”????? I agree, that there are too many wonderful, tasty foods out there to miss out on! Spice it up!—as long as it’s healthy :)

Reply

20 Lisa C. May 16, 2013 at 9:01 am

I can see where both being a “foodie” and being into nutrition could factor in sometimes. I could never eat the same thing everyday. Food is just too enjoyable for that! I enjoy the process of planning, preparing, and eating. I hate being rushed through a meal or eating on the go because I like the idea of a pretty presentation, then slowly savoring the food (although this is always a challenge as a busy mom!).

I think having a basic idea of calories is a good thing as long as it doesn’t become too much of an obsession. That way you can still taste but still stay within reason with calories. Combining that with staying in tune with what I really need helps to maintain my weight.

Also, with breastfeeding, it is harder to stay full! So there is a lot more snacking going on. Now that my youngest is 19 months, while he is still breastfeeding, he is starting to cut back a bit. I am used to having a before- bed snack because I have been hungry in the evenings for quite a while now. But I recently realized that many nights I was eating out of habit when I wasn’t necessarily hungry. ;)

Sometimes I just want to taste something but am not truly hungry. I have been trying to make a refreshing drink instead- maybe some green tea with lemon or a little juice with some seltzer and a lemon wedge. Then I have a pretty and refreshing drink that satisfies the sensory experience without taking in many calories when I am not truly hungry.

Reply

21 Amber May 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

Life is short- eat whatever “healthy” foods you want on any given day. I am a foodie too, but without the nutrition background, but naturally eat healthy foods because that’s what I enjoy. If you’re feeling like an apple, just have it. It can probably get you by until your next meal, it does have a little bit of fiber for fullness.

Reply

22 Tara May 16, 2013 at 9:07 am

I personally can’t eat the same thing everyday, after a while that particular food will become such a turn off for me. If you’re worried about adding too much food in for photos, you can start small and add your way up. It should be a little easier since you’re not taking pictures of every meal now. I think that’s the only negative about diary food blogs, sometimes you have to worry about your food more than just eating it. :)

Reply

23 Ericka May 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

Kath, I think this is a very interesting question. I find myself often doing what you mentioned – adding a handful of nuts with a snack of an apple, even if I really just wanted the apple! I do it because I’m constantly thinking about if I have the right mix of protein, fats, and carbs in every meal and snack I eat. There is such an overload of information in the media right now on the importance of achieving this perfect balance in your meals. I think this can steer people away from true intuitive eating.

That being said, I don’t think eating the same thing over and over again each day is a good solution. You are then only getting one set of nutrients, over and over again. Variety is a good thing in that sense. But it’s definitely a challenge to not go overboard and overeat with all the options out there.

Reply

24 Ray May 16, 2013 at 9:14 am

The answer to both of your questions is yes. Weight management is inherently at odds with the whole foodie movement which is basically a celebration of gluttony and excess. There’s a great new scholarly work out on foodie-ism that really casts a critical light on this conspicuous consumption. And other commenters have already mentioned the research on variety in ones diet.

Reply

25 Amy May 16, 2013 at 9:18 am

It’s funny to think about adding protein and fat to an apple when we don’t run for a hard boiled egg when we are eating a piece if cake for dessert! I’d worry way more about the unsteady blood sugar after eating a sweet than with fruit. Besides, fruit has fiber and lots of water which both ease the absorption of glucose. If you want an apple, then I’d just have the apple. You can get your fat and protein at another meal.

Reply

26 Sara May 16, 2013 at 9:20 am

Simple is best for weight loss and management. I have gained 10-15 lbs. since discovering food blogs in 2008. I love reading them and don’t see stopping anytime soon but it has contributed to my gain. I want to try new foods and eat what the bloggers are eating which isn’t necessarily best for me. When I lost 20 lbs. I ate basically the same everyday – with one “free” day a week. That was successful.

Reply

27 Rachel S May 18, 2013 at 11:57 am

I would have to agree. I discovered food blogs in 2008 also and have since gained about 15 lbs. I have loved discovering new foods, recipes and ideas through the blogs, but I think there is definitely something to be said about simplicity when it comes to really losing weight. I too find weight loss most successful when I eat the same things. The trouble is knowing the variety that is out there. I am also a a foodie and always have to try everything, which is my downfall.

Reply

28 Taylor May 16, 2013 at 9:24 am

Kath,

I totally feel you on this one! I am an RD with a MS in Nutrition, and sometimes I feel like being in the business and ‘loving’ food has made things more complicated and harder to maintain my waistline! I think the exact same thoughts about needing to balance carbs out with proteins and fats and sometimes I eat what I don’t really need but what I think I need! Maintaining weight has been a somewhat frustrating thing after having my first baby, and I think you hit the nail on the head.

Reply

29 Kelsey May 16, 2013 at 9:30 am

Everything in moderation including moderation.

I love trying new foods and also eating out with friends, which can lead to both overspending and overeating at times. I also love to cook and try new things in the kitchen! I try to limit my adventurous side to dinnertime, It’s just easier at during the workweek to eat similar breakfasts and lunches and snacks. Sometimes alternating my go-to easy meals. It’s also helps motivate me to get more creative at dinnertime when I’ve ate more simply the rest of the day. On weekends, breakfast and brunch is where I like to get more creative.

Loved this post as it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, too! My SO and I both love experimenting when eating out and in the kitchen, but sometimes I feel like it leads to overindulging. But I also love that part of us.

Reply

30 rosie May 16, 2013 at 9:35 am

I’d personally rather have a few extra pounds and enjoy life! :)

But I guess what it all boils down to is portion control. Or exercise…when I’ve been at my thinnest its always been when I’ve been working out a lot, not necessarily dieting.

Reply

31 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries May 16, 2013 at 9:36 am

Very interesting and good points! I think as a foodie, yes, it’s easy to get a little heavy-handed with the “extras” that aren’t always necessary. However, I bet with your nutritional background, you’re a lot healthier than your average person because of your extra knowledge.

Reply

32 Ashli - But What About Protein? May 16, 2013 at 9:40 am

I practice intuitive eating, and my weight fluctuates by around 3lbs. If I spend a couple days eating more refined foods, by body starves craving whole foods. I generally eat healthy foods though, because that’s what I enjoy.

Reply

33 Madison @ E&C May 16, 2013 at 9:44 am

Intresting post, Kath! I was thinking about this topic the other day, but in a different regard. I find that when I am on vacation I almost always lose a couple pounds or at the least I maintain my weight every time, despite the fact that I eat whatever I want and enjoy a lot of different foods. I know part of this is probably just being more active during the day when I’m on vacation (lots of walking and hiking and sight seeing). But I’ve also wondered if eating a wide variety of foods while on vacation actually helps keep my weight in check, the same way mixing up my exercise helps keep my body guessing. No idea of there is any science behind it or not!

Also, I work as a food editor in a test kitchen, so we are constantly surrounded by food and drink that is interesting and varied. It’s hard not to always take a bite here and there just to see what things taste like, but over time I’ve realized that in order to keep my weight in check, I have to just say no. Or use a spit cup, which is totally okay in our world. :)

Reply

34 Carla May 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Wow, you are the only person I’ve ever heard say they LOSE weight on vacation – good to be you! Haha

Reply

35 Sydney May 16, 2013 at 9:47 am

I have found that eating the exact same lunch every day has both simplified my life and improved my overall diet. I eat a huge monster salad with the same toppings (which include both carbs and healthy fats!) and dressing daily. I follow that with a smoothie. This works out perfectly because I know I am getting my greens and it leaves me full and satisfied each and every time. The trick is that you have to find that perfect meal that you’ll never get sick of. It is also easier… I don’t have to think and I can prepare 3 in advance. Time is of the essence when you’re the mom of a 7-month-old!
I generally keep breakfast pretty simple unless its a weekend. I use dinner (and dessert!) as my time to add variety, be creative, and try new things. I’m totally with you – I absolutely feel the need to taste everything! But I’ve found that it’s much easier to stay on track if my lunch remains constant. Maybe try eating the same thing for just one meal a day? It worked for me!

Reply

36 Karen May 16, 2013 at 10:02 am

In my opinion, regardless of any possible slight weight loss benefit of eating a narrow variety of foods every day, it’s too slippery a slope, leading very possibly to disordered eating and perhaps even a diagnosis of an eating disorder. While it’s an interesting question for sure and could lead to a provocative discussion, personally I shut out all the noise about this diet or that being superior and all the expert’s “tips” for getting a bikini body esp. prevalent at this time every year and just focus on eating healthy/balanced/delicious fresh food every day. I’ve come to learn that consuming oneself with losing a few lbs. is a complete waste of time and mental energy…living in a more moderate zone, in which I’m able to maintain a healthy weight and eat foods I genuinely love – foods that fuel me so that I am able to accomplish all I desire is where my head is at and I am determined to stay that path for the rest of my days. Ironically, my experience is that when I shift my attention away from weight loss, my weight just naturally settles into it’s set-point range, the same range that my body reflexively settles and has since puberty. In fact, in pondering your question further, If I were to focus on eating just a few select foods every day, just like with any restrictive diet, my body (our organs and cells crave a wide variety of nutrients and will be undernourished without that variety) and my spirit (boredom!) would rebel at some point and I’d surely get into a binge/starve cycle.

Reply

37 Drina May 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

What is the evidence for the idea that eating the same things every day lead to disorders? In the absence of research, I think the same could be said for feeling the need to have everything, nutritionize every meal…

Reply

38 Karen May 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I never claimed that this is a scientific fact, rather I’m simply expressing my opinion and experience that very restrictive diets in which one adheres to a specified regime day in and day out inspires a food prisoner mentality with one’s focus strictly on maintaining a certain weight. This is considered disordered eating in the broadest sense. While disordered eating is very common these days, an eating disorder is indeed distinct and a mental illness – which again, in my opinion could develop if one is predisposed and if one carries this food restriction to the extreme.

Reply

39 Rachel May 17, 2013 at 9:34 am

I agree completely, Karen. It’s such a waste of one’s energy to obsess about those last few pounds. I am finally free of that obsession after 15+ years. It took having a baby and nearly dying during delivery for me to appreciate my body as something more than just my aesthetic shell. Yeah, I have a few extra pounds now, and I’m sure they’ll come off eventually and my weight will stabilize as it normally does. I’m not going to spend my mental energy worrying about getting back down to 130. Kath, my advice would be to just enjoy food as you have been doing. Don’t worry so much about your weight. You exercise plenty and eat well, and just because you like desserts doesn’t mean you should start restricting. A mom who exercises regularly and enjoys eating without stress over weight gain is a great role model for your son.

Reply

40 Renee King May 16, 2013 at 10:07 am

Ok Kath, you are a dietitian at great at it, I know you do several posts about losing weight and eating healthy. I love the variety you chose everyday.

I am stuck though. James and I have been eating healthy for a little over 2 months. He seems to be losing pounds and I seem like I haven’ t lost any weight at all. I walk with Charlotte everyday, and I have given up all junk food.

What are some other things I can do to help loose the weight faster, and could it just be a portion control thing?

Thanks for posting about the tuna on a tomato, I wouldn’t have thought about that for a healthy lunch item.

Reply

41 Sashi May 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

We are huge foodies at our house and spend a lot of time in the kitchen as well as visiting food blogs and the occasional restaurant. Since last summer, I plan my lunch and dinner menu out weekly (lunches are usually leftovers of dinner) and there is rarely a “redo” of a meal from the past few weeks. 90% of the time, I would consider our dinners to be healthy and nutritionally balanced but not always. I need variety or I get very bored with cooking. That said, I have lost 60 lbs since last summer even with all the variety and occasional lack of healthful balance. :)

I had to stop eating anything refined or processed due to a food allergy. I am still taking in the same amount of calories as I was before but, surprisingly, having to get away from “light” and “diet” foods and eating things like butter and bacon in moderation has improved my weight and blood sugar levels.

Reply

42 Lea May 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

What I’m reading into this is that your thought process comes with a lot of “shoulds”: I want an apple, but I *should* throw in some additional nutrients and eat something with it too. I’m having breakfast, but I *should* cover it with extra toppings just to make it look pretty. I’m about to eat something, so I *should* calculate whether it will last me until X o’clock.

None of this makes for intuitive or mindful eating. And all these “shoulds” add up and surprise, you’re not managing your weight the way you thought you were.

Looking back over your posts, it seems to me that you crave visual and textural variety in your food items, not necessarily variety in actual food type–like all the toppings you put on your breakfasts and salads. It makes them a riot of color and texture, but it’s not… mindful, you know what I mean? That behavior is more like you’re trying to disguise something you don’t want to eat. It’s hard to be in the moment and aware of your food when you have so many elements competing for your senses’ attention… there’s a difference between gourmet and gourmand.

Why don’t you try a month of *not* doing what you’ve been doing? Don’t calculate whether a snack will “fill you up” now or tell yourself that you *must* eat this type of food with that type of food for maximum benefit. Try to enjoy your food as unadorned as possible. Maybe unbundle your meals–rather than piling everything on the plate, have some of it now, set aside the rest as your snack later.

Reply

43 Beth @ Mangoes and Miles May 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

I find myself doing the same thing! I’ve been getting better at it. Sometimes I’ll sneak in something carby if I’m having eggs for breakfast, or something protein-filled if I’m having something carby for lunch, etc.

I don’t think I’d want to eat the same thing every day though. I feel like that’d just be so boring! I like a little variety in my life (and my food!). :)

Reply

44 Lauren @ The Highlands Life May 16, 2013 at 10:14 am

I try to live by the everything in moderation rule. I absolutely cannot go where there are desserts up for grabs and not taste a bite (or two) of each thing. Actually, I have dessert everyday and I love it. I’ve maintained my weight (I’m a nursing momma and runner too) and just reign it in if I start to feel a little puffy or sluggish and it seems to work fine for me so far. I just think everyone is different.

But as for the same breakfast and lunch, I could totally do that but I love having variety for dinner.

Reply

45 Aisling May 16, 2013 at 10:16 am

For me, eating the same thing every day wouldn’t be sustainable. I do go through phases of enjoying particular foods but I try to have a lot of variety in my diet to ensure I include a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients. As a foodie (like you) there is just too much food fun to be had out there. Keeping to the same dishes wouldn’t allow me to cook as much as I love to, or to experience all those different tastes.

I think I’ll stick to an unrestricted diet. Keeping body weight under control has so much to do with conscious eating and planning of meals. I’m not an expert on that yet but I try my best!

Reply

46 Elle May 16, 2013 at 10:22 am

I think if I practiced intuitive eating, all I would ever eat would be sugar and carbs! I pretty much eat the same thing for breakfast, lunches and snacks during the week, because I find it easier to make healthy choices that way and not having a lot of variety on hand saves us some money. I save the variety for the weekends when I have more time to cook and eat. After a 15 lb weight loss a year ago, I’ve been able to maintain my happy weight by paying attention to fullness cues and indulging in moderation.

Reply

47 Kelsey @ Fueling Strong May 16, 2013 at 10:23 am

I find myself eating the same breakfast at least 5 days a week, but that’s just because I really love it that much. If I change things up I find myself craving my usual. I also find myself a creature of habit with my lunches. I usually eat tofu with spinach, corn, and black beans. Simple, I know, but I’ve been craving it lately.

I can’t say I do it because I’m trying to make my weight stick where it is, I do it because it’s healthy, and I love it. I do change it up on weekend and for dinner, but I won’t lie I’m such a creature of habit. My weight does stay pretty steady, but I am not sure if its because I eat the same things. I think it’s because I just watch calories in vs calories out. That’s the key to maintaining a steady weight.

Reply

48 Marie May 16, 2013 at 10:36 am

It might not necessarily mean that eating the same foods everyday is the key to maining weight, it may very well be helping since they are eating the same amount of calories everyday that maintains their weight. Maybe having variety, you lose track of the calories more unlike when its monotonous.

Reply

49 Alyssa @ Road to RD May 16, 2013 at 10:37 am

I’m not sure if it’s my addiction to peanut butter or just the fact that it’s a good source of fat and protein, but I feel the need to add it to almost everything. I can’t just eat a banana or apple because it’s not balanced enough, and I can’t eat just yogurt because it’s lacking a variety of texture. I try to balance out my calories by eating smaller, more frequent meals so that I can dress up my food with carbs, protein, and fat.

Reply

50 Tiffany May 16, 2013 at 10:42 am

I found that once I stopped thinking so much about the food, nutrients, etc I started enjoying life more (with three kiddos I don’t need extra stuff to worry about) and lost a few pounds. I eat healthy most of the time and eat what sounds good. If I’m at an event I enjoy the food. My body tells me what I need. My weight fluctuates about 2lbs throughout the month. Some days I want an apple with peanut butter and then still feel like I need something. Then the next day I just want the apple, so I eat that. I don’t over think it! Honestly that gave more problems- always thinking about food and hanging on to ~ 5 extra pounds.

Reply

51 Alissa May 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

Hmm. I think about this question quite a bit– so much depends on the individual. I eat the same breakfast every morning (3 eggs scrambled in coconut oil) and agree with the previous poster who indicated that if you find a meal you never get sick of you’ll still be satisfied. I’ve struggled with my weight, and I had to admit that I was using “superfoods” and whatever new “health” food was available at TJ’s or Whole Foods as an excuse to overindulge. Like, “ooh, this organic dark chocolate bar has antioxidants and this fancy yogurt has calcium and these chips are free trade heritage corn and I’ll wash it all down with this cool chia seed kombucha”. Food marketing is pretty subversive and really it was all just dessert and junk food. Maybe some of you are better at moderating with this kind of stuff but for me, if my focus was variety and trying the latest food trend I ended up eating cleverly disguised junk food on the regular. So we cleaned it up at home (helps to have a husband who would take food in pill form if possible). Eating the same thing for breakfast along with a rotation of simple, unprocessed foods for lunch and dinner makes things more efficient from both a routine and cost perspective, with the added bonus of weight maintenance. I still enjoy what we prepare at home so it’s not a sacrifice; it just might not be my source of excitement for the day. When I go to a restaurant or a special event I eat whatever tempts me and enjoy it all, no guilt.

Reply

52 Nate May 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

I think you need to look at your food in two ways fuel and satisfaction the two are almost unilateral.

Reply

53 Drina May 16, 2013 at 11:10 am

Some science bits…

There is some evidence (from both correlative and controlled experimental studies) that reducing variety reduces food intake. Within a meal, sensory-specific satiety plays a role. But there’s also evidence for long-term habituation over days and weeks. People who successfully lose weight and keep it off also tend to report that they eat the same foods every day.

And personal bits…

If I have too much variety, I overeat. I want to eat EVERYTHING. If I don’t include something on my plate I feel like I’m missing out on something. And add to that the fact that having food around triggers cravings for them. It’s definitely best for me to keep things simple. As for nutrition, my personal opinion is if I’m eating mostly natural, minimally-processed foods, I don’t need to obsess about getting each meal “perfect” or maximizing nutrients. I used to do that… I couldn’t eat yogurt without piling tons of things on it (“chia seeds, gogi berries, walnuts, flax, coconut, what am I missing?!!”) and it drove me dangerously close to a kind of orthorexia. No more of that for me.

Reply

54 Tessa May 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Thank you Drina for bringing up the point of orthoexia. I think it’s creeping into our culture in a scary way. My husband noticed a bit of orthoexia in me, and called me out on it. I started to be more conscious of my food habits, and realized that the idea of ‘health food’ was starting to control my life. I wouldn’t go out with friends if I didn’t think there was something ‘healthy’ on the menu or I wouldn’t eat enough at a get together if there wasn’t something ‘healthy enough’ for me. Sad. I missed out on a lot of great company, because instead of enjoying time, I was wrapped up in being way too hungry… I would end up leaving early due to my hunger and then go home and eat ‘my own healthy food.’

I’ve done some hard work, some soul searing, and have changed my life… thank God for my husband’s advice.

If you want to know more about orthoexia, a great site: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442471029

Smiles:)
Tessa M.

Reply

55 Karen May 17, 2013 at 7:09 am

After reading your comments, Drina, it occurs to me that we are arriving at the same conclusion but coming from different directions – likely based on our own respective personal experiences. I agree that an eating disordered mindset could conceivably develop from all sorts of strict food regimes taken to extreme – both over analysis of nutritional density as well as an overly narrow selection of foods, in which all “off limit” foods are essentially feared. I also agree that simple is best as is avoiding over thinking one’s choices. Moderation, non obsessiveness, simplicity, predominantly whole, fresh foods (in my opinion) wins in the long-term.

Reply

56 D May 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Orthorexia is EVERYWHERe in the blog world..a great book to read is “Health Food Junkies” by Dr. Stephen Bratman…

Reply

57 Caroline May 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

I’ve been thinking about the same for a few weeks now.
On one hand I’m really happy about the fact that I know so much about nutrition, on the other hand it makes life sometimes harder. For example, if I have lunch in the cafeteria and they don’t have anything else left than rice and veggies, I’ll already be concerned about my protein. And then my afternoon snack will have nuts, even though I don’t know if I really want nuts or just my simple apple. So I add a lot of extra food and I’m sure it its not the best for my weight management. So, I guess I should not be so obsessive. You don’t have to have the perfect snack, lunch or whatever. You should eat something that you like and is not bad for you.
Always eating the same makes it easier to maintain/loose weight at the moment, but it will backfire and you will eat all the stuff you missed at once.

Reply

58 Tessa May 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm
59 Mia May 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

Kath, I find that I am often consumed with the same thoughts that you share. I am sure though that most of it has to do with the (future) RD in me. We are ingrained with this information throughout our education and reinforce it on a daily basis to our clients and patients. How can it not possibly circulate through your head when you go to eat yourself? My husband laughs since I make such an ordeal about meals. He says, “I’m going to eat what I want to eat because it tastes good and fills me up, not because of its nutritional value.”
I eat mainly whole, unprocessed foods 85% of the time, but still leave the wiggle room. For example, I know I SHOULD have x amount of vegetables and fruits per day, but honestly some nights I just want a bowl of popcorn and a smoothie for dinner. Or last night, I knew I SHOULD have fruit for dessert, but I wanted sherbet on a cone. I had the sherbet.
In regards to being a foodie… It is so hard to eat out or enjoy yourself at a party if you are always consumed with the ‘shoulds’. Last month my H and I took a trip to Asheville for a weekend getaway. Rather than focusing on including a veggie or protein with my meals, avoiding fried foods, etc, I simply ordered what I wanted, ate until I was full, and enjoyed every moment. I know that I didn’t get the veggies in that I SHOULD have and instead savored every bite of that ‘Quintessential Chocolate Cake”.
Has my weight been difficult to manage? For the most part no, simply because I enjoy healthy foods majority of the time, eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, and get in regular physical activity. Sure there were times in my life when my weight got away from me (first year of marriage) but that was due to me overeating, being lazy, and not caring.

Reply

60 Danielle May 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

I think this is my second or third comment in 4 years, but this struck a nerve so a few thoughts:

I find the more time I have to THINK about food, about my “nutrition”, the “balance” of my meals, etc- the more I eat, and thus I gain. The busier I am, the less I obsessively plan out each and every meal, the less I eat, and I start to lose. Yes, many times I am eating the same meal over and over – but it is out of necessity. I don’t have time to lug a different complex breakfast to work each day – so the huge carton of yogurt and tub of berries I brought on Monday will have to make do for the week. Don’t get me wrong- I love food like the next person. But I’m working full time, breastfeeding a 7month old, trying to run 4-5 days a week with a husband who travels extensively. I simply do not have the time to think too much about the variety of my meals. I’m not trying to say you aren’t busy, so I’ll also provide another example. There have been years that I’ve marathon trained where I’ve obessively counted my calories – calories burned, calories eaten, make up of carbs/fat/proteins/etc- in those years, I gained weight. Years where I’ve marathon trained where I’ve taken the whole thing a bit less seriously – just lived my life with the addition of all this crazy running and eating what I wanted, when I wanted – with less of a perscriptive attitude towards it – I would finish the race 7-9lbs below where I started.

As others have commented, studies have proven variety feeds into additional calorie intake. I don’t know if that is your challenge though. I know you have cut back from daily food blogging for a number of reasons – but maybe it is time to put even less thought into your meals. It sounds like you feel pressure to document “pretty” meals -and as a result you are “adding” more ingredients. As you consider a ‘simpler’ approach to your meals – that also may be more repetitive, I also think you might need to consider cutting out any type of food documentation for a while.

Anyway – just my 2 cents. I rarely ever comment so take it for what its worth.

Reply

61 Alissa May 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm

You said this so well! Food can be exciting and interesting, but ultimately it’s sustenance and we have the *privilege* of the time, energy, and economy to pursue that interest and (over?) ruminate on nutrition and weight. I’m guilty of it too, and also find that the times in my life where I’m very busy or passionate about a project, I’m less focused on regulating my calories/carbs/sugar/blahblahblah and managing my weight becomes second nature. But then, I still love to read these blogs so I’m never totally disconnected. :)

Reply

62 Anne May 16, 2013 at 11:22 am

I noticed that once I started following blogs like yours a few years ago (“healthy food blogs”) I actually gained weight. Rather than eating my same toast & milky coffee for b’fast I thought, “I should add nut butter, or a second piece of toast, or fruit, or…”
Ultimately I have a healthy diet and strive to balance the day not the meal. I eat lighter meals but tend to have substantial snacks. It all balances out, even if the meal itself looks a bit scant.

Reply

63 Food Girl May 17, 2013 at 1:35 am

I can relate to this actually.When I first reading food blogs, I wasn’t eating anything like the bloggers themselves and obv their meals impacted mine and I started eating more. I did gain a little weight initially but it all kind of balanced out again when I stated eating what I wanted instead if planning my meals.

Reply

64 Shana May 17, 2013 at 6:14 am

This is funny to me because as I entered the blog world, I was bombarded with pictures and information about how healthy nut butters are and I found myself CRAVING it all the time (I never ate much of it before). Well six months and 10 pounds later proves the power of suggestion!

Reply

65 trisha May 17, 2013 at 7:43 am

I did the same thing and consequently gained 15 lbs as well!

Reply

66 Whitney May 17, 2013 at 9:10 pm

So reading healthy living blogs is now the culprit to gaining weight? Interesting…..

Reply

67 Shana May 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm

I wouldn’t consider blogs as the culprit to weight gain. I am just personally very suggestible and seeing all the deliciousness made me crave foods I wouldn’t normally eat. I gained weight because I ate more-I don’t blame blogs at all. Blogs actually contributed to a more healthy attitude towards food!

Reply

68 Sandrine May 16, 2013 at 11:23 am

Good question! I love this post! On the week, I usually have the same lunch at work, because it is more convenient. I bake 5 chicken breast, do a large quantity of brown rice and put everything in 5 differents lunch box (adding spices, diced mangoes…). It’s about saving time! On the week-end I’m waaaaay more creative and I indulge more!

Reply

69 nuttmegs17 May 16, 2013 at 11:34 am

I hear you on this one. I say this as a foodie myself and as someone who likes sugar (but knows I should control it!)…whenever I read stories like these (“she ate eggs for breafast, tuna for lunch and chicken and potatoes for dinner and lived to be 190!”)…What stands out to me is not the lack of variety (although truely that is obviously part of it) but that people like that tend to eat unprocessed foods with very limited sugar. Their breads, pastas, cookies, etc are kept at a minimum, while real whole unprocessed foods make up the largest percentage of their diet. KISS (keep it simple stupid) is probably the thing to keep in mind when it comes to food.

As much as I love the nutbutters..I try to control how much I eat of them. Its too easy to eat 1-2 tablespoons (at a 100 calories a pop!) wo even thinking about it. Put it this way: if you were out in the wilderness on your own and stumbled upon some almonds…it would take several minutes to break them out of their shell and eat even just a few of them….eating those nuts would be rare and the act of getting to them, would require work…today we too easily can get unshelled bags of almonds, or nutbutters and then consume them without thinking about it. Thats a TON of calories. Thats okay on occasion, but we tend to snack on almonds or nuttbutters all day or at every meal. Even if the nuttbutter you eat only contains 2 ingrediants (nuts and salt) that fact that its a butter means its processed.

I say limit processed foods to rare occassions and stick to whole, unprocessed real foods whenever possible. You can change up the variety to avoid boredom but just KISS and limit processed foods. I’m trying to stick to that myself (it ain’t easy!)

Reply

70 nuttmegs17 May 16, 2013 at 11:39 am

updated to add: if you eat seasonally and limit it to unprocessed whole foods, you would have a lot of variety and maximize nutriion. Eat what is local, what is sustaniable, what is unprocessed and you should have some wiggle rooms to have a day or 2 here or there to have other things

Reply

71 Becca May 16, 2013 at 11:44 am

Two things: 1) Our metabolisms slow as we get older, so eating the same thing every day might not ensure zero weight fluctuations. 2) I’ve read studies that say we crave things that we eat more frequently. I’ve also read studies that say eating a lot of trigger foods can actually lower the food’s appeal and make you crave it less. For me though, I max out around 3 days in a row of eating the same thing. That said, if I eat something say, M/W/F, with breaks for something else T/Th, I usually have a higher tolerance and if I really like the food, I’ll find myself craving it again after just one “break” day.

Reply

72 D May 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Your metabolism really only slows about 2-3 % with each passing decade..this is some facade. You’re only as old as you feel and I hate that people always say “oh I’m older, my metabolism is shot”..NOT TRUE…

and on another note: reading food blogs has brought into me 1) binging , 2) feeling bad for my choices and eating habits and lack of exercise…I’m gonna have to call kaput on all blogs….too overwhelming

Reply

73 Tiffany May 16, 2013 at 11:48 am

I definitely understand your point. I think variety is important for many reasons. If we don’t expose ourselves to variety we might get bored and binge on the foods we crave. Also, I think variety is important for nutrition too! We only live one life so we should make the most of it. Everything in moderation is key :) but I do understand that some people need to stick to certain lifestyles of eating the same foods and I think that’s okay too. It’s important to do what works for your body.

I do agree with you, sometimes I just want a piece of fruit but ill add some nut butter too just to aid in satiety. So maybe we should try and cut the fruit in half and eat that half slowly and listen to our hunger cues and see if we are hungry for that second half. A good way to practice intuitive eating.

Did you hear about the young girl who only eats ramen noodles everyday. She was addicted to the noodles…so sad. I can just imagine that her body is screaming for nutrition :(

Here’s the link:
http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/teen-s-strange-ramen-addiction–165713286.html

Thanks for a great and thought provoking post. I am looking forward to reading everyone’s comments :)

Reply

74 Lisa @bitesforbabies May 16, 2013 at 11:59 am

Being a food blogger myself I always contemplate this! Having said that, MOST of what I make is healthy so I only pig out on it if I wanted to! On the up-side too is the fact that the more things I cook, the less I feel like eating them! For example when making a new recipe I taste it a million times so by the time it’s lunch/dinner I’ve had my fax (and probably end up eating less in the process!!) ;-)

Reply

75 Samantha @ Sweetly Striving May 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I definitely agree with you! I am studying nutrition and going to school to become an RD. It’s so funny that you bring this up because I just finished finals this week and that information was really stuck in my head and caught myself doing exactly what you’re talking about! I think it does make managing your weight harder but I would much rather have all those little tastes of goodness!
Sometimes though I do catch myself and think , no I really am not that hungry for that extra fruit or extra piece of cheese. Most the time I’m hungry enough that I can fit in everything I should but sometimes little extras sneak in.

Reply

76 Rachel May 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I saw a similar story on one of the morning shows about “the Boredom Diet”, which is reminiscent of how your grandmother ate. There probably is something to eating the same thing everyday and maintaining weight, but eating the same thing everyday is also something you do when you have an eating disorder. You start to think of some food as “safe”, and that not a good thing. Any diet that emulates symptoms of an eating disorder is never a good thing. You may lose weight but it is not healthy in the long run. Especially since if you eat the same thing every day you may be missing out on nutrients. (Note: Please don’t think these comments are referring to your grandmother.)

Reply

77 Tonya May 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Hi, there

I totally get what you’re saying (and there are a lot of good comments on this post btw Drina’s point about international diets for example) but I think maybe in terms of older people from previous generations, eating the same thing everyday had less to do with an eating disorder and maybe more to do with–hmm how to say this–priorities?

That is, food has definitely become a luxury these days and we spend a ton of money on it. Certainly more than what Grandma may have had to spend. Especially now that we’re educated enough about nutrition and buy a lot of foods that are good for us but unfortunately carry a hefty price tag. Perhaps Grandma lived through the Great Depression and “tuna on tomato” was economical and satisfied her hunger and that was good enough for her.

Outside of a very privileged group, I can’t imagine most of our elders having the time or money to put as much thought into breakfast as we do today.

Great topic, Kath.

Reply

78 Tessa May 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

A simple thought: I think that sometimes our culture can be pretty aggressive about what needs to be in each meal. Heck, the government even gives us a model of a plate in order to describe healthy eating. I believe that it’s okay to just have an apple if you’re hungry for just an apple. Like you mentioned on a earlier posts, it’s about a curve between days. One day’s nutrients do not need to equal a completely square diet… but over the week, month, year we should strive for balance. Some days after a particularly heavy night on the town (ex nachos, beer x 2, and an ice cream cone:), I really just want fruit and veggies for breakfast & lunch. I used to get really caught up in making sure things are paired at meals, but then I started feeling like a slave to food… and I noticed that every year I’d gain a bit of weight. Now that I try to listen to my needs, I have a much easier time losing/maintaining. On top of that, I feel more at peace when I’m not trying to make sure I have something to fill every slot.

A really neat post I recently read: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/09/19/why-are-americans-so-concerned-about-protein/

She sums up my thoughts pretty eloquently.

Thanks for posting such a great discussion,
T

Reply

79 Jennifer @ Eat With Knowledge May 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I’m a RD too and have thought the exact same thing!! I went through a period of being very hard on myself and very rigid saying “I need to get this many servings of ___, etc per day” but it wasn’t very healthy in the end because I was slowly losing intuitive eating cues. Once I got back on track and let go of the “Dietitian mentality” it was much easier to lose weight because you are eating with your stomach and not your brain (but of course keeping healthy nutrition in check). I also find that leaving food on my plate is another skill you have to have in order to lose weight- making peace with that is key to true intuitive eating.

Reply

80 Christin@christinjoyful May 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm

That’s a very interesting topic Kath, and i’m glad you brought it up! I find that I like to have some everyday staples with room to try a few new things. I usually have the same breakfast, but I vary my snacks, lunch, and dinner sticking to a calorie range for each. I try to get the recommended amount of fruits and veggies, but also get paired protein and healthy fats in throughout each day.

I track my foods for the day every once in awhile on myfitnesspal to make sure i’m not going too overboard (in either direction). I kinda figure as long as I stick to a general calorie, protein, fat, and carb profile with lots of plants on most days, the scale won’t change too drastically either way. But I definitely don’t try to maintain an exact weight…that would be waaaay too tedious for me!

Reply

81 Jill May 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

My mother and my mother -in – law eat the same thing every day for breakfast and lunch and both have weighed the same all their adult life. I have recently started just eating until full without adding extra protein/carbs to balance out my meals and dropped 7 pounds so I am sticking with it. I think I was always trying to make sure I was getting “enough” of everything nutritionally and therefore overeating.
And my mil eats whole wheat toast with 1/2 a grapefruit for breakfast and a 1/2 turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato and a banana for lunch. My mom is an english muffin and a bowl of cheerios for breakfast and cheese sandwich or fried potatoes with beans for lunch. My mil is 5′ 5” and weighs about 115 and my mom is 5′ 2” and weighs about 120.( And neither snack in between lunch and dinner.)

Reply

82 Emily @ The Sunny Studio May 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Hi Kath! This is a great topic of discussion. As a foodie and someone who is passionate about nutrition, I have food on the mind a lot! I am constantly planning my next meal based on the carbs/protein/nutrients I’ve had so far that day, or I’m thinking about what I should buy at the grocery store for meals in the coming week. I do so naturally – mainly because I want to be healthy and I love food!

However, this sort of mindset does not always match up well with intuitive eating. I’m just so excited for the next bite, I sometimes wonder if I actually need it. Your example of the apple snack is great because I do the exact same thing. I worry that my snack isn’t healthy or balanced enough, and then I end up eating more than I need to.

Similarly, when I’m going to be out of the house for a long period of time, I worry about getting hungry! I will pack a snack, or even eat it before I go out, “just in case” or “to keep my blood sugar up”. But do I really need that snack? Perhaps I’m actually thirsty or just craving something to chew on. In addition, is there really something wrong with being hungry for a couple hours? Coming home after a long day and fixing a meal that you are really hungry for is a great feeling! (Note: I am not pregnant or nursing, which I know requires serious consideration of snacks and staying satiated).

Reply

83 queensami May 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I am agree with you.. I think also that, we can take simple breakfast to save our time and job..

Reply

84 Lori May 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I am a total foodie and eat just about everything, but during the week I tend to eat a lot of the same stuff day after day. I work in an office, so it’s just easier this way, plus, I really enjoy the stuff I eat. I maintain my weight really well. I eat plain oatmeal 5 days a week. Ezekial toast with peanut or almond butter with sliced banana on top when I get to work. Usually eat the same lunch for 2-3 days in a row – salad or one dish meal with good mix of veg, protein, fat, …all the good stuff, usually plant based. Snack of plain yogurt with chopped apple, maybe homemade granola or nuts. Dinner is always different. And I tend to follow sort of the 80/20 rule. I eat really healthy during the week and slack a little on the weekend – Fri pizza night and such :) Anyway, it works for me!

Reply

85 Ella P May 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Dearest Kath,
the golden rule is portion control.
“Eat it all with your eyes, but only HALF of it with your mouth”.
Try and enjoy only two third (or even just half) of the “original” serving you had in mind/wanted so badly ;)
I find it easier when I opt for small plates/bowl, most of all if they come in dark colors.

Tsemppiä!
Ella

Reply

86 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner May 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

How cool–I love that concept!

Reply

87 Karen May 17, 2013 at 9:31 am

Similarly, I love the healthy lifestyle/calorie control habits underlying the Okinawan culture…Hara Hachi Bu – translates to eating til you are 80% full – a personal mantra which I try to keep in mind.

Reply

88 jodea @ chillichocolatelove.com May 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm

My first instinct on reading this post was ‘No, I must have variety!’. Then I realised I pretty much have the same breakfast every day and it does make life simpler and help me keep cravings under control. It’s a very tricky question. I think keeping things simple makes it easier not to over-indulge, but what’s life without some treats?

Reply

89 Ellen www.blithetraveler.com May 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I’m someone who has eaten the same brekkie for the past 25 years (yogurt with grapenuts) and it so happens I weight exactly the same then as now. I would argue, in my case there is no relationship. I have a genuine love of yogurt and grapenuts; I don’t hesitate to eat other foods when we travel, and if I’m making waffles or crepes for the children, I’m eating them too … but at the heart of it, I am always delighted with my simple, crunchy, sweet yummy breakfast.

Why do I still weight the same? Good genes (I’d call that “good luck”), and then after the birth of my second child when I was 40, portion control, thoughtful eating, and regular exercise. Breakfast never changed, though. :-)

Reply

90 Kris May 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Haha, DH has eaten yogurt with Grapenuts for breakfast for the past 29 years. Forty years later he weighs exactly the same as he did when he graduated from college.

Reply

91 Shel@PeachyPalate May 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

For me getting in to food blogging help me overcome the final hurdles of my eating disorder (having suffered for 12 years…). I began to let go, embrace different foods and felt inspired by blogs, such as yours. I learned that variety was good for the body, just like exercise I think it’s good for the body to experience different foods, get a wide variety of nutrient, some days eat more, some days less….it’s the peaks and troughs that keep the body guessing as well as in tip top condition.

Reply

92 Kinsella May 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Kath you’re doing a great job being a Mom and you’re fit and healthy and look beautiful. But you should be kinder to yourself and not worry so much about what you eat. Don’t feel pressure that you “need to taste everything” because you are a “foodie.” You like to eat sweet things, and when you see a dessert buffet you want to eat all of it. That’s not being a foodie. Everybody likes to eat sweet things. Also, don’t worry about piling on toppings to make your meals look pretty. The reason I like your blog is because your food looks like something I would make. There are blogs I visit for awesome food photography, and that’s totally not your niche. Just be yourself–that’s who your readers like.

Reply

93 KathEats May 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I don’t Don feel pressure that you “need to taste everything” because you are a “foodie” – I WANT to taste everything because I can’t stand to miss out on something good!!!

Reply

94 emily May 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Wow, backhand full of knuckles in that compliment, eh Kinsella? I think Kath’s photos are gorgeous; my meals usually aren’t as pretty as hers.

Reply

95 Kinsella May 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I’m sorry if I came across like a backhanded compliment. I was just trying to say that there are food blogs I read for the great-looking photos and recipes, which are way beyond me, and then there’s Kath Eats, which I like because it seems like a Mom like me still learning how to use her camera and not having great meals all the time. I have enjoyed this blog for a long time and just felt bad that Kath feels pressure to be a foodie or add toppings to make her food look better. Or come up with reasons why she’s way too tempted at dessert buffets! Who isn’t? That’s all. I’ll go back to just reading and not commenting now.

Reply

96 Hope May 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Maybe it’s because all of my pictures are from my iphone, but I don’t think Kath’s photography looks like she’s still learning to use her camera.

Reply

97 Whitney May 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Kath, I personally think that your food photos are the best of any blog I read. Please do not take to heart these comments!!!!

Reply

98 Irena May 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm

The point of Kath’s blog for me is not her photography. It is content. The pictures serve the purpose, they are clear and illustrate the point… that’s it. But they are not highly styled (and let’s be honest beautiful) food shots you find at say Tartelette or White on Rice food blogs. And it is OK. I do not think that Kath herself will think that her photography is her main asset – it is what she is saying and how useful we find it.

that said, I actually think that Kath eats almost the same things for breakfast and lunch – oats/french toast and large salad. There is some variety in toppings, but over the years I noticed that she is pretty consistent. I think that talking about weight management during breastfeeding is very different from weight management when you are not. Each body deals with breastfeeding uniquely. I lost weight when BF while eating like a lumberjack and not really exercising. I actually gained back some weight after I stopped. Some people gain weight BFing, some hang on to a few last lbs, some loose a lot, etc. If this is a general discussion on variety vs. mono-meals, controlling for BF, then it is one thing, but if Kath is trying to loose weight while still BF a growing infant under 12 mo, it is kind of pointless to figure out the strategy, as things will change completely when she stops.

Sorry, just my two cents.

Reply

99 Lisa Marie May 19, 2013 at 4:44 pm

I agree with Whitney – I love how natural and REAL your photos are. Sprinkling nuts and chococlate chips around a batch of cookies is pretty but not relatable.

Reply

100 Lauren May 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Creating a career around food, like you have, Kath, does not allow you to “forget” about meals and snacks and hunger like so many people do. I imagine you put a lot of thought into both deciding what you will eat next and how it rates on your scale of nutritional knowledge. All of us, in any field, take our work home with us and you seem to be doing just that. Sometimes, knowing can feel like burden, because we can not unknow or care less than we do.

In terms of weight control within the food industry, I hear you. It is HARD. This is my stance though, and I understand that many people might think it is unreasonable, but it is my opinion.

Sugar is an addictive substance. It is unfair how good it is. We are all (some more than others) at a disadvantage every. single. time. we eat it. Sugar alone, takes you out of your own ability to make food based decisions that you assume and hope and expect yourself to make. And we beat ourselves up about it. We can not imagine saying no to a dessert buffet because the deprevation feels overwhelming and makes us feel like we are not saying YES to life.

BUT.

If you actually wean yourself off sugar, if you are able to through discipline and sheer luck to some how put enough days between the last time you ate sugar (I mean all sugars that are not grown in the soil) and today, you will notice HUGE changes in all of your food choices. The back and forth mental struggle of shame and wanting to participate in life is…. gone. You are given back your own head space because you are NOT planning, craving, worrying about your next fix (because that is what it is). You are actually just living and breathing and recognizing that your body mind connection is stronger than you could imagine and getting stronger every day.

I am someone who avoids sugar. When my coworker brought in cupcakes today and offered them around I did not eat one. What did I feel? Absolutely nothing. Was I leftout? No. I did not want one. I really, really, did not. And hours later, I am feeling the same as I did when I woke up this morning. I am not in the cycle everyone seems to be in. I am, for now, outside of it and it feels like freedom.

Reply

101 Denise May 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

No single food, no matter how processed, will deteriorate your health or save you. What matters is how you eat over time. Homemade cupcakes will always be healthy in my dictionary. “I shall not eat a single slice of white bread or a sugar cube” might be healthy physiologically but very unhealthy and obsessive emotionally. Health is way waaay broader than the numbers on a scale.

Reply

102 Lorin May 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Whenever there is more variety of foods (potlucks) I always end up eating more. I normally eat the same thing every day. Yogurt for breakfast, pb banana sandwich for lunch and a salad with toppings for dinner. Sometimes it changes, but I keep it the same. It’s cheaper, quicker, and easier for me to eat this way. I also don’t have a car to go to the grocery store, I bike. I am also a college student so I need something that will fill me up but that can last awhile in my backpack and not be messy for lunch. I enjoy having a variety of foods, but it never really happens. I remember in high school I ate a pb and J and an apple every day for two years pretty much.

Reply

103 Emily J May 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Excellent questions! I think my knowledge might sometimes cause me to consume more. I do sometimes ADD to a meal to be sure I’ll be satisfied and not hungry later. Not enough fat? I’ll add a little scoop of nut butter. Which may be more than I needed, but I’m usually fuller longer!

Reply

104 Ashlee@HisnHers May 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I’ve always thought that too! I ate the same things and simpler snacks/meals before blogging because I didn’t have to worry about being not being boring. Also the foodie in me often wants MORE flavors, MORE sides, etc. I tend to over order at restaurants a lot for that reason.

Reply

105 Ashley May 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I’ve been thinking about this myself lately. When I first started eating strictly whole foods, I was eating the same thing every day.. Oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, a slice of hemp bread with almond butter or avocado, veggies and fruit and dinner was a veggie-filled salad bigger than my head and I snacked on raw almonds all day long so I don’t know if I was snacking on the almonds because I was eating enough but I was definitely 5lbs less than what I am now. Ever since I started learning more about nutrition and all these fun healthy foods, I started eating much more and I don’t know if that is the cause of my extra lbs.. But I still fit into the same clothes as I was wearing 5lbs less ago so I’m not too worried about it. But sometimes I do wonder if I’m eating too much than what I need to or spending too much on all the extras that I don’t really need and I start questioning myself when I go shopping for food, asking myself if I really need it or if i just want it for looks or a little extra flavor.

Reply

106 Myshak May 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Interesting question. I do not think that being foodie does not make weight management harder because you are consuming more nutrition from different resources. Also, you are exposing to different cultures to make ones life more enjoyable. Eating the same food leads to poor nutrition, I think. Like you said, listening to your body is the must. Food is part of life, so I think adding extra topping in daily breakfast would make your food more interesting and enjoyable. Of all, I am inspired by your food presentation and your approach to food – eating “real” food.

Reply

107 Diana @ Eating Made Easy May 16, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Well, you do eat a lot of oatmeal ;) But seriously a great discussion!

Reply

108 Annie May 16, 2013 at 7:20 pm

at the end of the day, isn’t it calories in/calories out? So you can eat the same thing every day or eat something new every day, or both, as long as you stick to your caloric limit

Reply

109 Rachel May 16, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I have long since been inspired by your comments–your intuition is perfect for you and many others. I think your food approach is natural and delicious. No need to check nutritional values as your meal choices are clean, yummy and seasonal. Rachel from Ontario, Canada

Reply

110 Jane @ Not Plain So Jane May 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Hmm interesting ideas. I think you seem to have a healthy nutrition knowledge. You don’t let your nutrition background hinder your food choices, you are a true foodie. I don’t think grabbing a few almonds with an apple to keep you more full is necessarily a bad thing. Your body may want the extra almonds an hour after eating the apple if you hadn’t of had them in the first place. Variety in a long term case isn’t harmful to weight management (I don’t think) since eating a variety of foods is fun & healthy but may be more so in a short term acute setting like a buffet. Presented with multiple options, we want to try more which could lead to overeating.

Reply

111 J @ Chocolate Covered Chickpeas May 16, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I think being a foodie does make weight management harder. I’m always seeking out new products and trying things I haven’t tried before. The upside is I end up eating a variety of foods, but the downside is it’s hard to control portions when there’s so much variety!

Reply

112 Eileen May 16, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Restricting yourself to the same breakfast and lunch day after day would a.) kill your blog and b.) be a terrible model for Mazen. I know plenty of moms and grandmas who eat that way, and whether it’s for control (which is upsetting) or economic sense (which is fine, and I should probably take a lesson from them) I find it totally joyless.

I have three kids, and believe me, they are creatures of habit, yet part of my job as their mom is to try to have them eat a WIDE variety of healthy foods, with treats thrown in here and there. I will NEVER model a way of eating that I don’t want my kids to adopt.

Reply

113 KathEats May 17, 2013 at 6:07 am

I’m not actually thinking about doing that by the way : )

Reply

114 Chrissy May 16, 2013 at 10:27 pm

You know what cracks me up? Everyone here seems to be either a “foodie,” a Registered Dietician, a Nutritionist, or someone going to school to be one of the aforementioned. I feel like an outcast because I love Cheetos, cheap wine, and sugar (the more, the better!). Kidding, of course. That said, I have a husband who has basically eaten the very same breakfast and lunch for the entire 20 years we’ve been married. Seriously. In that time, his weight has stayed within a very narrow range and let’s just say that mine, uh, hasn’t.

Reply

115 Michele Sparrow May 16, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Hi Kath! Since you are asking what we think, here goes! :-) I work as a certified nutrition consultant. I got my certification from Bauman College in Santa Cruz, California so the way that I approach food with my clients is different from the standard model that is given to an R.D. Having said that, in my own personal experience, which mirrors what I was taught, is that fruit should always be eaten on an empty stomach because it is digested so quickly that when you throw a protein or a fat on it, it ferments and makes it hard for all three macronutrients to digest. Think of a garbage can…if you have leftover cheese sandwich, chicken and bacon grease and then throw the fruit it and close the lid, the fruit will ferment. Fruit should be eaten at least 2 hours away from other foods. I will tell you that all of my clients and myself included had much greater success with weight loss by simply adding this one practice into their diets.

I do believe we need variety, hence the food that grow with different seasons and have different nutrients for our bodies’ nutrient needs at that time of year: watermelon in summer; cooling. Sweet potato in winter; warming, etc. I also think that sugar in general is addicting, so while you may feel you want to taste all the flavors of that food, it is also an addictive substance which makes you come back for more. Likely, too, if you are consuming it as dessert, after a hearty meal, it is not being utilized as energy but stored as fat. There are a lot of things you could do that I see by way of tweaking that I think would ramp up your weight loss but not sacrifice your variety or inhibit you from enjoying food. I find that in this country, we have made food entertainment. It is not. I am not saying you cannot enjoy a meal with loved ones, but the moment we find that we are excited more about our food than other things, something is out of balance. Btw, I am not saying you view food as entertainment, but making a general statement about the American diet in general. Listening to our bodies does not mean that when we crave a brownie and ice cream that we should eat it, even in moderation. I don’t believe that is intuitive eating. I think we need our bodies to be clean first, free of all processed foods, etc. before we can really know what our bodies are telling us. Otherwise, there are too many mixed signs based on addiction.

Sorry for so many words! :-)

Reply

116 Emily @ Life on Food May 17, 2013 at 5:31 am

Those same questions are always running through my head. Yes, I would say it is detrimental to my waistline. I need to very conscientiously think about my hunger and watch portions. I also add more exercise when I know I have over done it. For the most part I always eat healthy for the reasons you stated above but it is the eating too much I have a problem with. I think by eating the exact same thing would really cut back on my food intake. Of course life would not be nearly as enjoyable for me.

Reply

117 Evelyn May 17, 2013 at 5:41 am

Have you considered your age as part of this equation?
When I was 25-26, I could easily “get away with” eating copious amounts of nutbutters, shredded coconut on seemingly everything, bread with every meal, beer on a weekly basis, etc…
Not anymore.
I had my first baby at 30 and had to be really honest with myself about what (and how much) I was eating in order to finally lose the weight. It was easy to say to myself “I’m a great mom, I just had a baby” for a while, but when he turned 6 months, I was like, “OK, it’s now or never.”
I am so happy I re-examined my eating habits and kicked up the intensity of my fitness routine before my second pregnancy. It gets trickier with age to maintain weight.

Reply

118 KathEats May 17, 2013 at 6:08 am

I’ve never been able to “get away with” eating anything. Hence the reason I had to lose 30 pounds at 22.

Reply

119 Grace May 17, 2013 at 8:04 am

I’m the same way… I treated my body terribly through my teens (awful fad diets) and that, combined with a naturally slower metabolism and a family hx of obesity, means I’ve never been able to “get away” with eating, even when I was young.

I did find, however, once I hit 30 my metabolism slowed down even more. It was pretty dramatic and now at 33 I have to be very careful to regulate even “healthy” foods like eggs and nut butters or else I’ll gain. So I think Evelyn has a really good point; even what you think of as a “good” diet now has to be reconsidered and readjusted as you age if you don’t want continued weight gain. If you are interested in weight loss (or even maintenance) you may have to cut back on high-calorie foods: high fat nut butters, bread with every meal, beer, etc. Here’s an article showing the science to support not only fewer calories but less variety as you age: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16601270

But on the flip side: you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, you walk regularly (which is shown to be good exercise, you don’t need to be running marathons to be in good shape), you don’t smoke, you lead a healthy lifestyle. If your true indicators of health (BP, cholesterol, etc) are good, 10 or even 20 lbs of extra weight will make no real difference in your quality of life, except superficially.

Reply

120 Evelyn May 17, 2013 at 8:24 am

I think you kind of missed my point :(

Reply

121 KathEats May 17, 2013 at 8:28 am

I get your point about being honest with yourself, but I was just addressing the top part. It seems that you were suggesting that I could eat all of that without noticing anything before. My response was just that I had to watch it all then and I have to watch it now.

Reply

122 Victoria B May 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

But are you really watching it – or just thinking you’re watching it? There is a difference and I will agree with everyone else you eat a lot of bread, sugar and high-calorie nut butters. This is not to be disrespectful at all so I ‘m sorry if it comes across that way. I just don’t think you realize how much sugar you’re actually eating. A cupcake from Sweethaus is no more virtuous than a Snickers from the Chevron. Sugar is sugar.

Reply

123 KathEats May 17, 2013 at 9:24 am

Yes, I’m well aware of the sugar in a cupcake!! I haven’t gotten serious with weight loss yet and am giving it about 60% effort. I’m giving myself time to enjoy motherhood and just making small changes to lead to a gradual loss rather than going all in. I want to be able to enjoy the cupcakes of life more than I want to look amazing in a bikini right now. Remember I’ve done this before so I know what it takes! I imagine when M is a little bigger the desire to be my fittest will be more important than the desire to enjoy every moment of life. It’s really just vanity pounds at this point.

Reply

124 Grace May 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

I think you’ve got a good attitude – there’s no need to have a perfect bikini body when you are healthy and enjoying life! And for what it’s worth, I also lost weight in my early 20′s and then again recently (in my early 30′s) and it was a LOT harder – SO much more work, calorie counting, cutting back on even “good” stuff (like what I mentioned before), lots of high intensity exercise, just to lose 20 lbs. It may be because I’ve got a kid now and a tough job (vs. when I was in college and had a lot of free time!), but I think it’s just tougher losing weight with an “older” metabolism.

Reply

125 Kelsie May 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

I’m a little confused by your reply that you’re not super focused on weight loss at this point, as by your last few posts on the subject it seemed to not only be quite a major focus for you but also a source of frustration that you haven’t been seeing the results you’d been hoping for. I don’t see all of these comments as criticisms, but suggestions – readers perhaps seeing the same message as I did from your recent posts, and offering up their thoughts on why you’ve maybe not seen the scale respond the way you’ve hoped?
You obviously know how to lose weight, but it’s important not to underestimate the metabolic shift that comes with being a little older this time around. It’s unfair, but it is what it is. The others are definitely right, that even with the “good” stuff, the reality is that you may just have to eat a lot less of it than you’ve been able to eat before. I, too, have noticed how much more bread, nut butter, and sweets you tend to eat now than in the early days….there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s what you want and it makes you happy, but if we see you trying to work out why you’re having issues, I think we’re all likely to see the increase in those particular foods as the bigger issue.

Reply

126 Kelsie May 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

And Kath, I also have a question I’ve been meaning to ask for a while (this seems as good a time as any! :) ). From your archives, I noticed that while you were actively losing the bulk of your weight in the past – mainly in your older blog format – you included a lot more “diet” type foods (smart balance, light ice cream, a bit of a reliance on kashi-type bars as snacks, which have a sort-of built in calorie restriction). Have you ever actively tried to lose a similar amount of weight without those types of foods, and have you had the same type of success? I’m just curious as I, personally, don’t lose as well if I don’t make some concessions on the “real food” front – when it comes to something like ice cream, for example. I know there’s something to be said for a small, measured portion of an ultra-rich, full-fat ice cream vs. a larger portion of a light ice cream, but in my case I find a lot of the lighter ice creams taste really good and it’s more satisfying to be able to have a larger portion for the same calories. Just wondering what you think…..

Reply

127 KathEats May 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I was still learning and developing my food philosophies back then, and I probably wouldn’t buy most of those types of foods now. But I do think you still have to be careful with real food – things like almonds, bleu cheese, nut butters and olive oil all add up very quickly. I wouldn’t buy a fat-free ice cream now, but Breyers Vanilla (which is 120 calories per half cup with a pure ingredient list) is a better choice than say a 250-calories-per-half-cup brand (like delicious Jeni’s!) if you’re trying to lose weight.

Also I think for a while it was just easy to get swept up in the latest new products in the blog world – perhaps it was the peak of health foods in packages. I remember trying out bars and wraps full of added fiber and processed protein and after a while decided that they just weren’t satisfying or real food as I learned more about nutrition in school. On the one hand I’m a lot more of a purist now when it comes to buying foods but on the other hand I am also more relaxed about my diet than I used to be.

I haven’t had to lose the scale of weight I did back then to know if I could do it without diet foods, but I’m sure I could. I lost less than 5 pounds a few times before having a baby after a lot of vacations and it was always without counting and eating real food.

128 Brenda May 17, 2013 at 11:59 am

If this is your outlook- this is totally fine! I don’t think anyone would begrudge you just wanting to “enjoy the cupcakes of life” right now, or at any point in your life! I just think it’s a little confusing to your audience, and maybe indicates some personal conflict (?), because you seem to be bothered that you want to taste everything, that you can’t lose the last X pounds, that you dont’ want to do High Intensity exercise. Yet in the comments you then say you’re happy with where you are and you want to enjoy life. I currently am tied between these two ideas as well, but as some point you have to “pick a side”- either truly buckle down and focus on your eating and fitness, while staying goal oriented, or just decide to stop and eat the cupcakes, enjoy life, and not think about the last X pounds. Doing both is confusing.

Reply

129 KathEats May 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I hope that’s not how this post came across – it wasn’t about me or my weight loss but more a blog topic I’ve been pondering for a while in the greater backdrop of my life. The high intensity exercise post was about exercise, not weight loss :) If I’ve seemed to be inconsistent in the comments, it’s probably just because my efforts and attitudes change from week to week. I wouldn’t say that I’m “completely happy with where I am” because I still do want to lose, but I’m mostly happy and have chosen not to stress about weight loss at this time. That doesn’t mean I’m not trying to lose – for what it’s worth I have lost a handful of pounds already – but I’m going to try a lot harder when I am finished breastfeeding and am ready to put the mental energy there.

Reply

130 Carla May 19, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Well, I want to add a big THANK YOU for doing these styles of posts and hope the less than stellar replies you’ve received don’t discourage you from doing them in the future. I’ve got what you’ve been trying to communicate, I haven’t been confused, and I really appreciate these style posts you’ve been doing lately as they reflect what many of us have probably at some point wondered, and give excellent food for thought.

Reply

131 Karen May 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

Good for you, Kath. You’re ever the sensible/moderate one when it comes to weight/food. Plus, don’t discount the fact that you are still breastfeeding. You may find that the few extra vanity lbs. you desire to lose naturally fall off without any formal effort, and really – ensuring breastfeeding nutrition is much more important at this stage, as severely restricting calories could compromise that number one priority.

Reply

132 Karen May 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

Oh also – it looks like you were successful in resolving the previous posts/comments/ad situation! :)

Reply

133 KathEats May 18, 2013 at 10:01 am

I’m pretty sure it was an ad! Whew.

Reply

134 Jerry May 17, 2013 at 6:09 am

Veg & protein (chicken, Tuna, eggs etc) for me 5 days a week……then similar at the weekend with wine & occasional ‘dirty food’ (pizza, curry etc) and my weight has pretty much stayed the same with the same % of body fat.
I have tried to add more ‘dirty’ the last few weeks but it just doesn’t seem to make a difference!
I do eat a lot of veg!

Reply

135 Live Love Yum Well May 17, 2013 at 6:17 am

Yep, nutrition rules….are nonsense. Honestly, you need to just listen to your body. Or just eat. When you’re hungry. What you want. Then go on. It’s just food!!!!! So so much more of life to live. Eat a bowl of oatmeal or an egg with toast. No need for this doctored up prettify action and analyzing it to death….

Reply

136 Katie May 17, 2013 at 6:43 am

What an interesting question! :)

Personally, if I ate the same thing everyday, I would end up binge eating. I adore food and a big variety of it. However, my boyfriend, while he also loves trying new foods, is more of a “food for survival” kind of person. He could easily eat the same thing everyday. I think it really depends on your personality and how much food plays a roll in your happiness.

As for the nutrition and weight management aspect, personally, I have found it’s super easy to “keep weight off” (FYI, I don’t weigh myself – we don’t even own a scale!) by eating until I’m satisfied and staying active. I think part of it, also, is being in tune with your body and what it’s telling you. If it tells me A, B, and C are what gives me energy and makes me feel good, then I’ll continue to incorporate that type of food into my daily diet. :)

I love reading what works for some people and what works for others. Every body is different, which is absolutely beautiful!

Reply

137 Cilla May 17, 2013 at 7:07 am

from my own more than 10 years experiences and experiments with food: yes, variety does impact weight, because you unintentionally eat more. Until 3 years ago I used to eat the same meals during week days. I was easily keeping skinny figure without ever thinking about food (this lifestyle was the easiest, because I was really busy/didn`t have time to prepare food or even think about what I am going to prepare). then i moved in with my bf and things changed (I started cooking new recipes …) and now, i am here with some extra kilos. I am actually thinking about going back to the rituals, to lose them without diet… eating the same meals is far from eating tasteless food and with some thinking about nutrition can mean getting everything that body needs.
maybe, having cravings for something means that your body needs that, but majority for my cravings are for sugar and you can`t convince me that my body needs it :)

Reply

138 trisha May 17, 2013 at 8:03 am

I think that as long as you’re not restricting or removing food groups in an effort to achieve a goal then it’s ok. Life is meant to be lived and food is such an integral part of that, in many cultures. Thinking too much about the food choices we make and put into our mouths can cause additional stress we just simply don’t need. I always heard the 85/15 or 90/10 rule. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to “taste” or try something. Food is delicious and fun and is a way to appreciate someone’s art! When i’m elderly and looking back on my life I don’t want to remember a restricted life (I’ve done that for far too long already!), I want to remember a life of rich experiences, including food!

I do also feel that having more knowledge can be more of a hindrance. . . End up living a life of “shoulds” and dissecting every morsel put into your mouth ( I know I do!)

Thanks for raising this point!

Reply

139 Meghan May 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

As a mother of a two year old who eats what we eat, it would be unfair to him, and his developing palate, to serve him the same foods daily. We focus on local, seasonal foods as well as an absence of refined sugars. This typically eliminates the food guilt.

Reply

140 Claire @ Health Nut Claire May 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

Very good questions to ponder. These points resonate with me because I am both a foodie and a nutrition major on the road to RD. However, I can’t deny that I’ve struggled with disordered eating in the past and still struggle today. I think that with my interests and future profession I’m in a position were I am constantly thinking of food! That makes me sound crazy but I suppose it’s the life I’ve chosen and realistically I LOVE it because I LOVE food – good food at that, haha! Long story short, I see what you mean and in the end it all comes back to intuitive eating with a side of foodie nutrition, right? :D

Reply

141 Clare @ Fitting It All In May 17, 2013 at 11:02 am

Great post Kath! I wonder that all the time. I know it’s good to educate yourself, but sometimes I think it does more harm than good that I am thinking about what I “should” have instead of what I’m truly craving!

Reply

142 Hope May 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

My cousin lost a large amount of weight by eating the same meals at breakfast and lunch everyday and eating a variety of foods at dinner. She’s kept it off for years and still eats kind of the same way now. She may change up the kind of cereal she has in the morning but on most days she eats the same amount of cereal with milk. It’s worked really well for her.

Kath- You are healthy and look great. You eat mostly healthy foods and like to add in an indulgence here and there. To me, your food looks like a great balance. Much better than my current stress eating diet. ;)

Reply

143 Liz May 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Just my two cents here. I don’t know what is better… but here is what I know:

CRAVINGS ARE MEMORIES. To me, thats a fact!. I live in a small town in Colombia. We didn’t have any McDonalds here until last year. I have never craving a McDonald burger in my live (never have had one). Neither their milkshakes or fries. We don’t have Starbucks here. I have never craved any of their sugaries coffees. We don’t have DunkinDonuts or any kind of Donuts. I have never craved for a Donut in my life. If you have tasted something good then you build in your body a new branch of things you crave. If you liked a burgers that you have some times, then you feel you crave for a McDonalds burger, a BurgerKing burger, any burger, even a healthy burger.

We are humans, we taste food, we see food. If we see a yummy pastrie it bring us memories on how good one of them was then we say ‘why not, I want to remember that flavor’.

Since we were little mom never gave us a soda. Because in Colombia is not that common to drink a soda. We usually have fresh fruit juices. Im 32 and I never crave a soda. I might have tasted a Coca Cola once and I just don’t remember cause wasn’t appealing to me.

In my country we don’t have the varieties you have in America. We don’t have pancakes for breakfast. We don’t have bacon. We don’t have a packed orange juice. Or any packet juice (here is an insult to get a juice from a box or bottle). Here we don’t have big bakeries. Buy a bread in supermarket is a joke for us. We have local fresh bakeries. No one buys a bread that was baked the day before. I learned what a cupcake was like 2 years ago. Even so we don’t have a single store that sells a cupcake. American chocolates like MilkyWay, Mars, Snickers, are so expensive here that they are fancy. I might have 2 or 3 in my entire life. When I started to read your blog 2 years ago I read for the first time the concept of PeanutButter!! I didn’t know what it was. We have now in super market a brand from USA, but never feel to buy it. And I can say is not popular.

What do we have left? tons of vegetals, an imaginary ammount of fruits, we have beef and chicken and eggs… But I have to admit we keep all very simple. Coffee with milk, fruits and bread for breakfast. A large lunch of vegetals soup, salad, rice, fish or chicken or beef, a home made desert made of fresh fruit, and a juice made from fresh fruit. At dinner is a coffee with milk and a piece of bread. Out snacks are coffee…

In conclusion I would say varity really affect our bodies. And is ashame in America you have so many variety of food. Well is great. But at the same time, simple is better.

Reply

144 isis May 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Hi Kath. This might seem interesting, but I find your food much more appealing when you use little to no toppings at all. However, it’s just a matter of personal taste, and it doesn’t mean anything but that- I think the pictures are always amazing anyway.
Now, I haven’t been through all comments yet, so someone else might have said something on the same lines, but I think that many of these behaviours related to food variety preferences (either lots of it or none at all) have a lot to do with memories and social/family constraints. I was thinking about my granparents and their eating habits, as they are staying with me for a few days. They could eat the same things over and over again, and that wouldn’t represent anything at all. They think of food as a necessity and not much more. If I cook something special for them, which I try to do often, they really appreciate it, because it is, for them, a kind gesture. It amazes me that what is important for them is actually not variety, but the time and effort put to favor such variety.
That being said, I was just trying to use my grandparents as a mean to explain your aunt’s grandma’s point, as they are all probably within the same age frame. My grandparents grew up during hard times. They survived a war, living on a strangled economy that involved food rationing: when food was available, it was something to be thankful for. Even the unchewable chickpeas or the lentils that were half lentils-half stones- they ate that because the needed to. And there were many other things missing as well, not only food: family, friends, education… When better times came and they had full access to all of these “commodities”, I think they had already learned how to treasure them and never felt overhelmed by any of them in particular. After all, they knew them all from their childhood, and remained within them as good memories; and at some point, due to social constraints, they were removed. When those things were given back to them, they were already familiar.
Maybe not war, but hard times, could be the reason behind your aunt’s grandma’s eating habits?
I find this topic very interesting, because I am aware those times I crave variety, it is likely that such variety ends up overwhelming me when making food choices, only because I am familiar with variety as an option that implies stress because one has to make choices at some point

Reply

145 Erin Shmidt May 17, 2013 at 8:44 pm

I honestly would not sweat what you are eating if you are still nursing or postpartum. It usually takes your body around 18 months to return to normal and I always keep an extra 10 pounds on until I finish nursing. This is my third and like clockwork every time I run 20-25 miles per week, workout, eat right and still keep the weight until I wean. Enjoying this sweet baby time is the best. We celebrate Ryder’s 1 birthday this month. Done nursing! :)

Reply

146 D May 17, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I have a very very bad habit of eating what I think I “Should” versus what I want…its lead me into orhtorexic thinking, binging, and a lot of IBS.

I think OVERTHINKING is a huge problem . Really. If I’ve been on vacation, I could eat utter crap for days and days and my body will just be at some kind of natural, normal set point, because I’m eating naturally , etc…otherweise, every single day I’m eating forced (i.e. eating the “shoulds” and binging late at night)….it is confusing and I know if I can get away from food and instead focus my attention on a completely different subject, then my overthinking will stop. I think that’s the big thing. To stop overthinking it. To stop making so much of the day wondering and worrying or whatever.

You are caught in a bind cause you have ..a food blog. Exactly why I could never start a food blog. That said, I see people like “PB Fingers” who TRULY seem to eat intuitively and totally not obsess or anything over it, normal set point, eats junk and good, happy girl with complete lust for life…not sure where this strickes a balance.

Good luck.

That said also, my mom is pretty much a creature of habit (B = 2 toast + butter + jam, a bowl of quaker oatmeal , + orange juice….she’s inactive and eats that big breakfast every day and she’s older…not too big and not too small, and never exercises ever..just raised her kids and got a job later in life…I really think she’s just settled naturally cause she eats what she wants and doesn’t obsess or overthink it…she indulges trust me and actually eats a lot…she does eat variety, but her breakfast tends to always be the same simply cause she’s addicted to it, not cause she wants to “manage her weight”).

Reply

147 robin May 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

What I think is I need help in figuring out to shed some major weight. I have heard the less variety the better. I have seen with my own eyes people at work shed alot of weight by eating the same foods daily. And theyve kept it off too. What is the answer??

Reply

148 Maya May 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I think that over-indulgence is the culprit for being over-weight. Variety may prove as a tempter, especially if it is beautifully presented, after all a lot is influenced by the presentation. I too love to try out new food and flavors. My breakfast is usually the same thing except weekends when I have breakfast together with my husband and we are not rushing somewhere. Self-restraint or moderation is the key.

Reply

149 Christine May 23, 2013 at 8:49 am

I’m kinda late to this party, but wanted to just say that while some people require variety, others find more comfort in routine. Unless it’s an unhealthy obsession, I don’t see any problem with eating the same meals each day. And this was Kath’s aunt’s mother, so it could be generational. Her mother may have been an immigrant from another country or lived through the depression, where you were lucky just to have food and taste had very little to do with it. Tuna on tomato might very well have been a luxury!

Reply

150 Neil Butterfield May 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Tough one Kath, I too love sampling everything. I think the trick is to limit one’s portions to avoid over eating.

Reply

151 Sarah Hartley May 28, 2013 at 3:53 am

I tend to go through food “ruts” (very pleasurable ones though!). I will wake up and crave the same breakie for a few days/even weeks, and then go off it for a while. At the moment I am totally in a porridge for breakie and mega salad (e.g. grains, nuts, cheese, roast veg. galore) for lunch. But always want a different dinner! How strange?!

Reply

152 Mirinda @MakeMyPlate June 3, 2013 at 10:30 am

Im a nutritionist and foodie/sweet tooth so totally understand what your talking about – I’m big on eating a variety of foods even if your not a foodie I believe its a healthier way to get a variety of essential nutrients from different sources. Having said that my sister also eats the same most days and that works for her to keep her weight in check – so I say there is no black and white answer every body works differently the main thing is filling our plates with nourishing nutrient rich foods :)
ps I’ve been loving intuitive eating and have found its helped me actually loose weight over the past year its just come off slowly and unintentionally!- as Im less obsessive about eating my almonds with my apple to get protein in etc!

Reply

153 Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile June 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Hey Kath! I’m really glad I discovered your blog. It looks great and I can’t wait to read more of your posts :) I have thought about this topic a lot too…..I go through phases where I eat the same thing every day but lately, I’ve been mixing it up. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal to experiment with. I’ll have a fresh green juice, oatmeal, a smoothie, pancakes, a homemade muffin, yogurt….there’s so much you can do! I find that the more I vary my meals, the more I tend to eat because I have no routine. When I know what I’m going to eat for each meal every day, I’m more apt to stay on track. But I love trying new foods too!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: