Are You Stuck In an Eating Rut?

Menu monotony isn't always bad, but beware of boredom

By Leanna Skarnulis
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

It's so easy to fall into an eating rut. Having the same breakfast, lunch, or dinner day in and day out offers convenience and comfort: No need to think about what to eat or where to find it. There are no surprises when you pour yourself a bowl of the same old cereal for breakfast day after day.

The foods people get hooked on range from the ordinary -- burger and fries, chips and soda -- to the unusual -- pepperoni slices with mayo, popcorn, and chocolate, even processed cheese squirted from the can.

Rarely do you hear of anyone stuck on broccoli for days or months. That doesn't mean that eating the same thing again and again has to be unhealthy. One person who made an eating rut work to his advantage was Jared Fogel of Subway fame. In less than a year, he says, he lost 235 pounds on a diet of coffee for breakfast; a 6-inch low-fat turkey sub with extra veggies, baked chips, and diet soda for lunch; and a 12-inch veggie sub for dinner.

Still, many of us would be bored stiff by such repetitive repasts. The answer to whether you can happily stick to such a routine lies in your own personality.

Are You Stuck in a Rut?

You're probably the best judge of whether you're in an eating rut. Definitions vary. To one nutritionist, it's eating the same thing three days in a row. To another, it's not a rut until you've eaten the same food for at least 30 days.