Creature of habit

Monday, November 28, 2011 Permalink

In my other blog I’ve said I’m sometimes like a 5yr old in that I have ‘comfort’ movies or TV shows that I’m capable of watching again and again. And from the moment the familiar opening scenes appear on my screen I can breathe a sigh of relief; one of contentment as I know that all is well in the world.

I’ve realised I’m a bit the same with food.

Joe Ledbetter Creatures of HabitSure I have my favourite treats which I eat non-stop for months on end (corn chips, caramello koalas, popcorn… and at other stages of my life: lolly cigars, M&Ms etc). But I’ve realised I’m even capable of eating things that I don’t ‘love’ day after day. Out of ease or habit, perhaps.

For five or six days a week for the last few years my breakfast has been the same: two pieces of Country Life Low GI gluten-free bread (toasted), with one piece of 99% fat-free bacon zapped in the microwave in a little dish for about 30 seconds, then an egg cracked on top of it and microwaved for about 30 seconds. When the egg is still a bit runny I smear the yolk on my toast (in lieu of butter) zap it again briefly so it’s not too runny, then I put the bacon and egg between the toast and cut it in half. And eat it. Of course. ALMOST. EVERY. DAY. (And no, before you ask, I don’t suffer from OCD!)

And I never get sick of it. Very occasionally I’ll have an egg with some baked beans or with bacon, or cereal and yoghurt. But, particularly when I’m rushing off to work, the bacon and egg sandwich satisfies me day after day, month after month, year after year. And once prepared I eat it as I check my emails or write my blog before work. I tell myself I have it because it’s quick and easy. But, I think it’s more than that.

I pondered on this last night as I prepared my lunches for the first few days of the week. In winter while at work, I ate microwavable soups. EVERY DAY. I alternated between two flavours, but essentially, five days a week for three to four months I had soup. Colleagues would see me microwaving it and ask how I managed to eat the same thing day after day. I’d shrug.

Again, I think a lot of it was about efficiency: I was dieting at the time, the soup (though not inexpensive) only had between 160-190 calories. I bought them in bulk and didn’t have to prepare anything. Again… it was just easy. I didn’t have to ‘think’ about it. In addition, ‘treats’ at work aren’t something I crave (I’m only prone to binge-eating or over-eating in the privacy of my own home!). To me eating while at work is a necessary evil. Not something I enjoy. It was more so when I was off diet coke… I was rarely hungry. Rather, I often had to remind myself to eat and regularly ate lunch as late as 3pm. And even then I only had something because I knew I should.

Of course, now it’s Spring with Summer around the corner, I’ve had to find a new lunch to satisfy myself. So like every 21st century gal, I sent out a Twitter SOS, saying I was contemplating the notion of beans (the round kind, not the green kind). I’d never really made bean salad, or eaten it, but I knew it was a healthy gluten-free option and I like legumes. A virtual and training buddy, Miss Mia, tweeted me a simple recipe and I went from there. And… once again, I’ve now lunched on the same thing (at approximately 200 calories a serve), day after day for the last couple of weeks.

I suspect, if I could, I would also eat the same dinner night after night: fillet steak, with potato (MAYBE some other veges as a token gesture towards healthiness) and a peppercorn sauce. Occasionally I might mix it up and cook my potatoes differently… but I must confess I’d be quite happy with that. EVERY DAY. Instead I probably have it two to three times a week. Interspersed with fish and chicken. On rare occasions I’ll have minced beef in the form of spaghetti bolognese or similar. But… in essence, I eat the same thing ALL OF THE TIME!

I own lots of cookbooks. Many MANY years ago when I did Weight Watchers I kept buying their cookbooks. I’ve marked a zillion recipes – thinking that I’d try them. And, I have tried a few…. stir fried chicken with a diet tzatziki dip for example, but I keep coming back to the same old things.

emersonI like cooking for myself. In fact, the last round of this weight loss program was the first time that I felt satisfied with quickly-prepared fodder like scrambled eggs, and I suspect that was only because for several weeks I had to exercise after work and meet my Real Estate agent and was just too exhausted to care much about food. Or perhaps it was a mindset thing. Perhaps I’d (albeit briefly) gotten to the ‘food is fuel’ point, evolving from my usual ‘food is my life’ mentality.

I can’t help wonder if it’s just a comfort thing – in the same way I crave the same ‘comfort’ foods all of the time – that I find solace in the familiar. And I also wonder if that’s okay, as long as I’m getting SOME variety in my diet, does it matter that I’m not being more adventurous and trying new recipes and stepping out of that comfort zone. Finally… in true ‘me’ style; perhaps I’m just bloody overthinking the whole thing.

So, I wonder, does anyone else have the same problem, or even see this as a problem?!

12 Comments
  • Karen
    November 28, 2011

    I have a post planned about this. I’m a creature of habit and often eat the same things. IMO, it is whatever works for us:)

    • rockafellaskank
      November 28, 2011

      Thanks Karen… I hope so! I figure I mix it up a little bit (plus have quite different things for brekkie / lunch / dinner) so hope I get enough variety that way.

  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    November 28, 2011

    I do the same thing Deb – right now I’m alternating between apricot and chocolate protein balls for morning and arvo tea then I’ll move onto something else. I have eaten the same breakfast for the last five years. I see no reason to stop as I still really enjoy it 🙂

    • rockafellaskank
      November 28, 2011

      I feel a bit the same about my brekkie. I do have something different on weekends (usually scrambled eggs on toast – so a slight variation)… but occasionally will have cereal or baked beans. GF cereal is a bit of an anti-climax! Calorie-wise my brekkie has less than 300 cals (not exactly counting at the moment so don’t exactly recall, but from memory the sandwich is about 285 calories or so).

  • Marion
    November 28, 2011

    Hi Deb! I watched an entire PBS (Public television) show on this topic. It’s called “automation.” It’s actually supposed to be a great food strategy because if you eat the same foods often, you know you’re going to have more the next day, and feel less likely to feel like overeating it.

    🙂 Marion

    • rockafellaskank
      November 28, 2011

      Sounds about right Marion. I know that YEARS ago I read a self-help book for binge-eaters that suggested buying MASSES of your favourite binge foods… cos the rationale was that if you knew you could always get more you were less inclined to binge in the first place!

  • Miz
    November 28, 2011

    and there are so so many studies out which say those who eat the same stuffs repeatedly lose more wt and keep it off!

    Dr Oz is a big fan of this approach too.

    • rockafellaskank
      November 28, 2011

      Good to hear. So far the overwhelming response is that I’m not weird or strange for eating the same things often….!

  • sweetopiagirl
    November 28, 2011

    Reblogged this on inspiredweightloss.

    • rockafellaskank
      November 28, 2011

      Hi there. I saw that and will come by and have a look. Thanks so much for visiting!

      Deb

  • Runa Martinson (@Lose4Good)
    November 28, 2011

    Hi Deb!! I agree with the other comments here. I am also a creature of some habit. I probably change up a bit more than you, but I do like to stick to some of my comforts for quite awhile. When I notice the scale is just being too darn stubborn, then I will really change it up or, like right now, as the seasons change and I really want to challenge myself to continue to lose weight (especially with all these holidays coming up) I will overhaul my eating regime to different comfort foods for awhile to see if I can jar my body out of “complacency” and get going on continued weight loss. But, overall…I like what I like and I don’t stray too much away from it.
    Runa

    • rockafellaskank
      November 28, 2011

      Hi Runa… I must confess when I need a ‘kick-start’ I tend to cut out my carbs at night which really helps, but I stick with my favourites. Am thinking I might make a concerted effort to mix up my lunches a bit more… though need to think of some other options first!

      Deb

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