Phase Eating: Why It May Work for You
Taking the Guesswork Out of Choosing Healthy Meals
Courtney Cox told the Los Angeles Times that her run during ‘Friends’ involved eating a Cobb salad “doctored up with turkey bacon and garbanzo beans” every single day. While I’m not suggesting you do the same, having the same meal regularly may help you lose weight. When you’re making a major change in your diet, what to eat can become an overwhelming question to answer every meal of the day. While you recognize you need to make a switch, you may find yourself consumed with finding healthier choices. Still, some of the meal plans available online or with workout DVD’s can be information overload. Take it one meal at a time, literally. New research suggests it may help you eat less and give you a better perspective on weight loss.
Meal Monotony Leads to Eating Less
Eating the same meal every day may scream boredom, but that may help you lose weight. A term known as long-term habituation deals with presenting the same meal until it becomes less desirable. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition studied the effect of eating a serving of macaroni and cheese daily or weekly as a reward for a computer task. An equal amount of non-obese and obese women took part in the study. Those who ate the macaroni and cheese daily ate 100 calories less after a week, whereas those who ate it only once a week, ate 30 calories more after 5 weeks. The results were the same between obese and non-obese participants. According to the study, slower rates of habituation are related to great energy intake, therefore, their findings suggest the benefit of eating less is only effective when the same meal is eaten every day.
Bread is the Devil, a new book by Heather Bauer, R.D., C.D.N., suggests eating the same meal for breakfast and/or lunch daily for a set period of time. The idea is to set two or three go-to options for each meal of the day. While Bauer doesn’t suggest eating the same dinner frequently, she encourages occasionally repeating your favorite prepackaged meals. After finding meals that meet the nutritional and caloric requirements for your goals, at least one meal out of your day will be a no-brainer. Not only will phase eating make it easier for you to log your daily calories, but it will also make eating healthier less daunting. As you gain confidence in choosing healthy food, you can revamp your meal choices or add new ones.
Planning Your Meal Routine
After you resolve to eat the same meal for breakfast or lunch, it’s time to pick what you’ll eat and plan how you’ll incorporate it into your routine. Choose a healthy protein like Greek yogurt, egg whites, or tempeh. Add a starch such as oatmeal, baked potatoes, or brown rice, and vary the meal with a fruit of your choice. Add a raw veggie like baby carrots or celery and a healthy fat for a hearty lunch. Keep each meal item together in your refrigerator to cut down on meal prep time. Switch up the menu at least every two to three weeks. To make sticking to phase eating easier, go grocery shopping on the same day of each week.
CONTEST! Do you practice 'phase eating?' Tell us what foods you eat consistently every day to help eliminate the guesswork in our comments section below. One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Heather Bauer's new book Bread is the Devil! (Comments accepted until January 5th, 2012, 5 pm EST)
…and our winner is: shelbydionne! She will receive a signed copy of Heather’s book as her mentality is very much in line with our philosophy that nothing is the devil in moderation. Congrats Shelby! And thanks for playing all, there will be a next time...