The Myth of Variety
by Dave Herber
Americans want "variety". They don't want to be stuck eating the same thing day in and day out. That's why they don't plan their meals in advance. POPPYCOCK. American's don't want variety; they want the option to choose something different. But how often do we, when faced with the 3 or 4 panel menu at the fast food drive-thru, do we actually try something different? How often, when dining at your favorite pizza restaurant do you actually order something that isn't pizza? Chances are probably slim if not never.
Think about the last 3 or 4 times you've eaten fast food. Yes, you can admit you eat fast food, I do. Popeye's chicken, McDonald's double quarter pounder w/ cheese, Taco Bell Grilled chicken Fajita, or Burger King's bacon double cheese burger are some of my regular "in a rush need to eat" foods. No matter how nutritionally poor, high in fat, and calorically dense these meals are, they are fast and they taste the same every time. It's the consistency of these meals that makes them appealing. We get used to ordering the same thing every time we are face to face with the fast food drive-thru speaker.
Now think about what you had for lunch this week. Salad, again, everyday. And you paid how much for that salad? Was the lettuce fresh? How about the tomatoes? You probably could have made the same thing or something better at home for a fraction of the cost. If you had just planned to do so and made your lunches ahead of time.
Let's move on to dinner. Ahhh yes, that's a meal that's different every night of the week. But lets look at the past month, is Tuesday "Taco Night"? Fish, every Friday? And what did we have on Monday, Meatloaf. More often than not, we get into the habit of cooking certain dishes on the same night of the week; regardless of how many weeks in a row we have had that same dish. You call that variety?
When we make a commitment to ourselves to eat healthier, to become more fit, to lose weight, or to gain muscle we often forget to make the commitment of planning. And because we don't plan, we don't prepare, we end up in a rut. Whether it is a dieting rut or a training rut. To some, preparing the same dish and freezing it in Tupperware for consumption later in the week is boring, is monotonous, or is unrealistic. But for the rest of us, we know that forsaking "variety" is the key to fitness success.
Dave Herber, the author, is certified by the American Council on Exercise in Personal Training and Lifestyle and Weight Management Consulting. He has his MBA in Marketing from the University of Baltimore and is the program manager of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission fitness center in Washington, DC. He is the president of www.w8lifter.com a fitness consultant and personal training website.
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