You probably believe that variety is the spice of life. We do, too. No one likes the same old, same old, after all.

But variety is usually not your friend when it comes to weight loss. The truth is, if you can adopt a sort of "Groundhog Day" mentality to what you put in your mouth it could serve you really, really well. Eating and drinking pretty much the same (healthy) things every day will make it a whole lot easier to lose weight and make sure it doesn't creep back on.

Here's what we mean: There's some good scientific research showing that thin people have some very specific habits and that being very consistent about those habits every day (or nearly so; some days call for indulging, otherwise, why be alive?) is linked to successful weight loss. Many people who've shed pounds, or who keep their weight steady over time, either eat the same foods every day, or similar ones (maybe you've heard about "mono-lunchers" who eat exactly the same lunch, day in and day out). Here are some other "eat and repeat" strategies that work:

Plan what you're going to eat.

If you want to do just one thing that will make it much likelier that you'll be successful in losing weight, this is the habit to start. Nothing is as important as this one. So maybe you take a 99-cent notebook and write down what you're going to eat and drink every day for a week—breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, and dessert.  Everything except water. (If you're not sure what foods should be on it, check out cooking and recipe sites. Make sure whatever you're planning to eat includes lots of fresh foods, fruits and vegetables, and some whole-grain bread, pasta, and rice, and lean protein. Cut out soda, sweets, salty snacks, and alcohol as much as you can, even if it's a bit at a time.) If you can really plan what you eat —which means you're planning for successful weight loss and healthy eating that will fuel your workouts—that's a home run. You can even stop reading this article. If you do this and nothing else, you're good.

Eat breakfast every day.

This is one you've heard probably a gazillion times. But it's true. A real breakfast will give you energy to start your day and helps prevent overeating later. Seventy-eight percent of people who've lost weight and kept it off in a national research program eat breakfast every single day. So just eat something in the morning already.

Stick with "eat and repeat" when you're eating out, too.

If only going to a restaurant were a free pass to eat and drink what you want. In fact, you have to be even more careful, since when you're not preparing food yourself there's no way to know exactly what's in it. You may feel pretty good about yourself when you order broccoli, but have no idea that it's been cooked in tons of butter and salt.  If you don't want to ask a lot of questions about the menu or request that your waitress put everything "on the side" (though both are great options), simply order smaller sizes (an appetizer instead of an entree) or split up your meal and take half (or more) home for later meals.

Don't try to make all these changes at once.

You'll have a much better chance at making them a regular part of your life if you do a little at a time. Then, as you master each one, "eat and repeat." You'll eventually hit on the meals, snacks, and drinks that work for you so you're losing weight; have enough energy for exercise; and don't feel deprived.  These are your "eat and repeat" foods and beverages. Stick with them.

The six articles in the Weight Loss section are designed to give you some of the most important, useful, scientifically sound, and safe information. We don't try to cover everything about weight loss (or anything else) on, but if you follow the advice in these six articles you'll have a great foundation for lasting weight loss.


Weight Loss: Track Yourself

Nutrition Swap: Less Fast Food...More Planned Meals

Goal: Run 1 Mile


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Photo by dmitrimaruta