It might seem counter-intuitive, but having less variation in your diet is actually associated with lower levels of body fat. We think this is because of the long-term habits we form when prepping our meals in advance.
As ‘decision fatigue’ is taken largely out of the equation, we’re much more likely to actually stick to a diet when we don’t have to think about it every day.
Pulling another container out of the freezer is exponentially easier than actively thinking ‘what should we have for dinner tonight?’.
Example: Steve Jobs + Mark Zuckerberg
Let’s consider Steve Jobs & Mark Zuckerberg, they wore the same thing every day so the selection of a t-shirt didn’t get in the way of completing their valuable goals!
The theory of ‘decision fatigue’ states that we only have the mental energy to make a certain number of decisions each day.
Each time we make a decision, we use a little bit of our battery, that is our capacity to make decisions.
Decision Fatigue & Your Diet
The same concept of decision fatigue applies to your diet, the more effort you put into selecting a meal every night, the more this drains your ability to make decisions.
As you’re likely already mentally fatigued from a hard day at work, you’re much more likely to ‘default’ to ordering takeout or buying a quick ready-made dinner from the supermarket if you don’t already know what you’re going to eat. This leads to the consumption of more processed foods, as opposed to whole foods, which in turn means we take in more calories.
As processed foods are more ‘calorie dense’, we can be much more satisfied whilst eating fewer calories, through the consumption of ‘whole foods’.
The Benefit of Eating Whole Foods
Whole foods are essentially foods that haven’t been processed or foods that have been processed very little. When foods are processed, the elements that tell our stomach we are ‘full’ are often stripped away.
For example, to feel full, we could consume 600 calories worth of a “butter chicken, rice & spinach” dish. To feel full from eating packaged potato chips, we would likely need to consume around 1600 calories (and we would feel fairly rubbish afterwards).
This gives you an idea of the effect calorie density has on our well-being. No one really ‘overeats’ until they literally feel like they will burst, the difference is in the types of foods we consume, and their calorie density.
The single biggest cause of obesity, in my opinion, is the regular consumption of processed, calorie-dense foods that lack nutritional value.
Humans will eat until they are full! The issue is that some people eat foods that aren’t very good at telling them when it’s time to stop.
How Meal Prepping Can Help your Diet
Meal prepping well in advance has been linked to sustained, healthy levels of body fat, and this is the super important part!
It’s not directly ‘eating the same thing every day’ that has an effect on your body fat levels, it’s the effect this has on your ability to maintain a diet that keeps you satisfied with your food, whilst eating fewer calories long term.
Learn More: Meal Prepping for Beginners
The Clean 5: What Is It and How Can It Help You?
Bachelor of Science (Physiology)
Masters of Exercise Science (Strength and conditioning)
Nutritionist & Exercise Scientist at The Clean 5
The Clean 5 is an Australian meal planning and training program that helps young Australian’s lose weight and build muscle by creating healthy meal prep habits.
We help young Australians keep fit by helping them eat the same thing more regularly!
Through our app and website, we provide users with 2 new meal prep recipes each week, a 5-day training program and a “meal planner” that allows them to calculate their daily calorie goals based on their needs, then tailor our recipes portion sizes to suit their goals.