I love the movie Groundhog Day. It’s one of those movies that I can watch over and over. And when I came across a term “groundhog daying” a meal, aka “automating” your meal, I knew I needed to address this. Why? Because I only recently recognized that my success in health has come from practicing this.
Benefits of automating your meals:
-eliminates mental stress associated with deciding what to eat
-develops a habit, and habits are more likely to be sustained to maintain healthy weight
What science says:
-It takes 2 weeks of repetitive actions to make an action a habit
-behavior changes are CRUCIAL for a healthy lifestyle
-research shows that thin people typically have specific habits that they consistently follow every day (or nearly so, since some days everyone needs to indulge!)
-those who are successful at achieving a healthy weight have done so by eating the same foods, or similar ones, every day
-research terms this “habituation”- basically less variety leads to better health; for example, have you ever been at a restaurant and had a large meal, and exclaim “I can’t eat another bite”….and then the dessert tray comes by, and suddenly you’re “hungry” again?
How do you get started?
1. Plan ahead: choose 2-3 repeat meals for the following: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages, and desserts. I’ve included some recommendations (many are what I practice) at the end of this article.
2. Don’t try to implement these changes all at once. Start with your problem times (typically lunch or dinner), and stick with this for at least 2 weeks.
3. Eat out a lot? Keep up the habit at restaurants as well!
4. Eat and repeat for other meals!
5. Finally, remember that the purpose of weight loss is to gain health and improve quality of life!
Steel cut oatmeal with 1 Tbsp protein powder, 1 Tbs walnuts/pecans/hemp seed/almonds, ½ cup berries, 2 tsp shredded coconut or 1 tsp grapeseed oil or avocado oil
Protein smoothie: frozen fruit (1/2-3/4 cup), unsweetened almond milk, 1 tsp grapeseed or avocado oil, 1 scoop protein powder (I like Sun Warrior brand), 8 drops (or 1 packet) stevia
Hard boiled eggs (2)
Chicken sausage with ½ avocado and sautéed kale or spinach.
Baked sweet potato (with skin) mashed up with ½ avocado and chicken/turkey (1/2 cup ground, meatballs, or 4-6 oz marinated chicken breast)
Soup (e.g. turkey chilli or tortilla soup) with salad (mixed greens with 1-2 hard boiled eggs, topped with balsamic vinegar or lemon/lime juice, with ¼ cup goat cheese or feta)
Turkey meatloaf with pureed squash or sweet potato
Bison/chicken/vegie burger on Ezekiel brand English muffin (or on a bed of lettuce) with carrots/celery on the side
8 oz homemade bone broth (see blog post on benefits of this)
Fruit (fresh, not dried) and ¼ cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews preferred)
½ cup hummus with carrots, celery or Beanitos (chips made out of beans instead of corn)
Unsweetened Yogurt with cinnamon and 1/8 cup of nuts
1 oz. dark chocolate with 1 orange or apple
Fruit ice cream: frozen fruit of choice blended to a consistency of your choice, with almond/coconut milk and a few drops of stevia (sweetened to your taste)
Apple (fresh or baked) topped with cinnamon and nutmeg
Unsweetened sparkling water (e.g. Perrier or LeCroix)
Green or herbal tea, with lemon/lime/orange slices
Fruit or herbal infused water (e.g. lemon, lime, cucumber, rosemary, parsley)