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Eating the same foods week after week when cutting: why I do it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I received an email over the weekend that asked about my diet. The reader wrote (in part), “I was looking through your food logs for your current cut, and it seems that you eat pretty much the same foods from one week to the next. Why is that? Don’t you get sick of eating such a limited range of foods?”

Excellent questions!

Yes, it’s true that when I’m cutting my diet doesn’t have a great deal of variety in it. I actually do this on purpose, and this morning I’d like to explain the logic behind that choice.

Oh boy! Chicken breasts again?!

Oh boy! Chicken breasts again?!

First of all, 99% of the foods I eat when I’m cutting come from this list: chicken breasts, shrimp, fish, lean beef, egg whites, natural peanut butter, Nitrean protein powder, brown rice, oats, red potatoes, fresh vegetables, olive oil and almonds. Occasionally I’ll have an all-natural Quest bar if I’m stuck on the trails or in a meeting and need a quick meal on the go. I also use lots of different hot sauces, herbs and spices in my cooking.

Apart from a couple of cups of black coffee in the morning and a cup of Yogi Bedtime tea every night before bed, the only thing I drink is water.

There’s actually quite a bit of potential variety in that list of foods, but I do tend to stick to a lot of the same recipes and meal plans from one week to the next.

I always eat five meals per day. Let’s take a look at a typical week…

Breakfast: Most mornings I have egg whites, natural peanut butter and roasted red potatoes. I’ll have a Nitrean shake + natural peanut butter on the days that I do fasted LISS cardio (after cardio is done).

Lunch: Grilled chicken breast, a big salad with olive oil, and brown rice. I have this same lunch every day.

Mid-afternoon: On non-training days I have a can of tuna fish (yep, straight from the can) and almonds. On training days I have a Nitrean + raw oats shake right after training.

Dinner: On training days I have some form of protein + carb meal (chicken + brown rice, chicken or shrimp stir fry + brown rice, lean beef + red potatoes, low fat chili + brown rice, white fish + brown rice, etc.). On non-training days I usually have a protein + fat meal (salmon + broccoli, chicken ranch salad, etc.)

Pre-bed: Always a protein + fat meal. Either egg whites and natural peanut butter (on the side) or a Nitrean + natural peanut butter shake.

Now, to the crux of the issue: why do I eat pretty much the same meal plan from one week to the next when I’m cutting? The answer is pretty straightforward: a consistent diet makes cutting body fat easier for me. It’s predictable. It’s foolproof. I don’t have to waste time or energy thinking about what I’m going to eat. My mind doesn’t wander thinking about how good this or that might taste. My diet is… my diet. Period. I like that.

Also–and just as important–eating a consistent diet when I’m cutting literally changes how I view food. When I’m in “all-or-nothing” mode I don’t like thinking of food as something that brings pleasure. When I’m cutting or bulking I prefer to think of food in the exact same way that I think of gasoline for my car. Food is raw fuel to get me where I’m going, nothing more. Food is not the point, it’s a means to an end.

I thrive on consistency, and so when I’m cutting body fat I do everything in my power to smooth out the road ahead. My cutting diet may look boring to most, and I agree that it is. That’s the point.

John Stone Fitness Comments

7 Responses to “Eating the same foods week after week when cutting: why I do it.”
  1. Excellent post…one of the best in a while. You highlighted on such an important point that is missed by most when they try to lose weight. Sometimes the paradox of having great choice and variety ends up hurting people in their weight loss efforts. In my opinion, people are far more likely to eat healthy, lower calorie food and stick to their diet when they are able to specify in advance of their meal precisely what (and how much) they plan to eat during the day. This is such an important key. If you wait till you’re hungry to figure out what to eat, it’s a losing battle. And keeping your options limited helps to keep things simple and prevent cumbersome planning and cooking strategies that tend to sap people’s “mental energy” and focus.

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  2. That’s pretty hardcore John. 🙂 The only thing I’ve been able to eat daily for the last several years is my morning protein shake (3oz Strawberries + 3oz Banana + 1 scoop Elite Gourmet Strawberries & Cream Protein Power + 4 cubes of ice). I love it every single day. Other than that I get sick of the same stuff if I eat it more than three times a week. I guess someone needs to promise me a million dollars 🙂

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    • That’s cool, nothing wrong with that. The trick really is finding what works best for you. Personally, for the reasons I mentioned above, when I’m cutting I find that eating mostly the same diet from one week to the next makes things a little easier.

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  3. I was thinking about this the other day. Before I started my current nutrition plan, I was essentially eating identical foods every day anyway. Oatmeal for breakfast, some sort of sandwich for lunch and either a burrito from chipotle or chinese food from the grocery store.

    So switching to a nutrition plan wasn’t a big habit change other than actually taking the time to prepare healthy meals. I actually have more varierty in my meals than I had before I even started the plan.

    I guess that shows how boring my life is.

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