Boring diets work wonders! But if I were to tell you that a boring diet was the answer to all your weight-loss problems, you probably wouldn't believe me. Don't worry, I'm used to people not believing at the beginning and I'm also used to convincing them otherwise too.
Why Boring is Best
The best diet for any individual is the diet you can stick to... long term.
Besides creating a caloric deficit, everything else pales in importance compared to being able to stick a diet. High carb, low carb, low fat, high protein, cabbage soup, vegetarian, vegan, whole foods... none of that stuff matters if you can't stick to the diet long enough for it to have an effect. When you find a diet that allows you to achieve your health and fitness goals AND that you can keep doing week after week... then you've hit nutritional gold.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record: No matter what your goals are; fat loss, muscle gain, better health, performance enhancement... consistency is key! It really doesn't matter how "good" your diet or training is if you only do it one day a week. It needs to be something to you can do (almost) everyday. And sometimes, to make something practical for everyday, it tends to get a little bit boring.
Obama, Zuckerberg & Steve Jobs had it right!
Despite being some of the most successful men in their respective fields, none of these trailblazers will ever be remembered for their fashion sense. When you think of Obama, you'll think of him in a blue suit with a red tie; if Zuckerberg comes to mind, he'll be wearing blue jeans and a grey t-shirt and when you remember Steve Jobs, you'll remember the black turtle neck that he wore every day.
Now, nobody could ever claim that these men lacked imagination so why did they rarely change their outfits? It all boils down to a concept in psychology called "Decision Fatigue". Basically we all have a certain amount of finite willpower that we use daily when making decisions. The more decisions or the more we have to think about a certain "problem" the more fatigued we become and the harder it becomes for us to make decisions.
Think about it, if you were the leader of the free world and the entire economy of your country or the lives of people abroad depended on the decisions you made, the last thing you'd want to do is tire yourself out deciding which shoes best match your outfit.
The exact same thing applies to your diet (and even your approach to training): the less decisions you have to make about your food, the easier it is to maintain your diet long term. Reducing the amount of variety in your diet (making it boring) is the exact same thing as Obama, Zuckerberg and Jobs do with their clothing choices: they stick to the same basics that work, almost every single day.
When you think about it, you probably already do something similar... for breakfast. First thing in the morning, when your brain still isn't operating at full capacity and the last thing you want to do is think about what you're going to eat... you probably just eat the same thing that you eat every, single day: cereal, toast, yogurt, eggs... something quick, easy and tasty.
Boring does not mean Bland!!!
It is really important that you understand what I mean by a "boring' diet:
What a boring diet is not:
- A diet with boring, bland food
What a boring diet is:
- A diet with regular, predictable meals
- chosen from a small selection of
- easy to prepare and
- DELICIOUS options
The worst thing you could do to a diet is make the food un-enjoyable. Seriously, who would like to eat boring, bland food, day in, day out? For a diet to be successful, long-term, you really need to enjoy what your eating and you can do that by sticking to a few reliable and tasty meal options during the week.
"Ain't nobody got time for that"
I feel I'm lucky because I absolutely love cooking and I love trying out new recipes and ideas for meals... but I don't have time for that every day. So, instead of eating some novel and completely original diet-friendly creation every single day, I actually rotate the same 5 or 6 dishes (that I love to eat) over the course of a week. And doing that has helped me to get into the best shape of my life with with no stress or excess time wasted in the kitchen and more importantly, it's helped me develop an much better relationship with my food: I love what I eat and don't have to worry about it being healthy or not... I already know that it is.
Below I've listed out some of my most common meals, which I rotate during the week.
Protein-Oats with Raisins
Protein Yogurt with Berries
Low-fat Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Potato Wedges
Lean Beef, Chicken or Beans
Italian Tomato Sauce
Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Chinese Style Sauce
Wholegrain Pasta, Gnocchi or Beans
Italian Tomato Sauce
Instant Soup "Sauce"
Omelet in a Wholegrain Roll
- You'll notice that quite a few of these dishes appear a number of times in different meals
- All of them are very simple
- Many use pre-made/bottled sauces for added convenience
- All are damn tasty
So this is my "Boring Diet"; my small list of predictable, healthy and tasty meals that has helped me to easily lose (or gain) weight while enjoying what I eat and saving time (and mental energy). This isn't the only food I eat all week but it does make up a good 80% of what I eat and that consistency is important.
Interestingly I use the exact same meals when losing fat, maintaining weight or gaining muscle. All I do is change the quantities of my carbs while keeping my protein, fat and vegetable amounts (mostly) the same. That means that I don't have to go about creating a new set of recipes when I change from a muscle-gain to a fat-loss phase. It saves a huge amount of mental energy and stress.
Make Your Life (and your diet) Easy
A boring diet doesn't have to mean a bland diet. You shouldn't have to feel like your suffering on your diet and craving delicious food. Instead, make your diet easier to manage and maintain so that you get long-lasting results. Do that by figuring out your own, personal, "boring" list of "go-to" recipes that you can use again and again to keep you happy, well fed and achieving your fitness goals.
Boring means regular
Boring means easy
Boring means quick
Boring means tasty
Boring means success
Eat well, folks.
Have you been working out? You're looking good!
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