Bella Hadid, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Aniston ate the same meal every day. Could you do the same to lose weight?

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In February, retired English football player David Beckham revealed that his wife, fashion designer Victoria Beckham, has eaten the same meal every day for 25 years.

“Since I met her, she only eats grilled fish, steamed vegetables, she will very rarely deviate from that,” he said on the River Café Table 4 podcast, on which chef Ruthie Rogers – co-founder of London’s famous River Café – talks to celebrities about food.

The former Spice Girl isn’t the only famous Brit with a routine diet. On most days, Queen Elizabeth is said to eat cereal and fruit for breakfast, and fish with vegetables or grilled chicken and salad for lunch.

Actress Jennifer Aniston ate the same lunch every day while on the Friends set, according to her co-star Courteney Cox.

“It was a Cobb salad … with turkey bacon and garbanzo beans … [If] you’re going to eat the same salad every day for 10 years, it’d better be a good salad,” Cox was quoted as saying in a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

And in December 2016, supermodel Bella Hadid uploaded a photo of a grilled cheese sandwich and French fries to Snapchat, with the caption, “My meal everyday [sic]”.

We all have our favourite foods, but could you eat the same thing almost daily, and be confident that you’re also fulfilling your nutritional needs?

Tom Ma can – the Hong Kong finance professional eats a whole rotisserie chicken every day. He says the meal saves him time and meets all his dietary requirements as he progresses through his weight-loss journey.

Depending on which restaurant he’s ordering the chicken from, he might also include a side salad and a small portion of potatoes.

“I don’t have time to cook during the week, so I opt for this easy chicken meal every day,” says Ma, who is in his 30s and has been living in Hong Kong since 2014.

“I divide the bird into servings that I eat over the course of the day. It’s good to have on hand while working from home – I’ll pick at it in between conference calls.”

Thanks to his daily chicken meals, Ma’s weight dropped from 70.3kg (155lb) to 65.8kg, and his body fat from 17 per cent to 14 per cent, in just under three months.

“I am motivated by routine,” he says. “This meal is as much a physical preference as it is a mental one, as it helps me set rules and boundaries for myself. Over time, I’ve found that it’s given me the best results and helped me stay on track with my weight-loss goals.”

Eating repetitively might be useful if you have a particular fitness or weight-loss target you are trying to hit. It’s convenient, making you less likely to eat foods that you’re trying to avoid.

By creating a personal eating “template”, you untether yourself from the task of looking for food options that are less supportive of your goals, says Ryan Charem, owner of Precision Fitness Hong Kong and Las Vegas, and master instructor for the US National Academy of Sports Medicine in Arizona.

Eating this way, even if for just a few weeks or months, can improve your health by helping you control your food intake, Charem says. Not having to think about what to eat frees you up mentally for other, more demanding tasks. This is important, Charem adds, because anxiety from feeling overwhelmed by meal choices tends to be a top reason many people fail to meet weight-loss goals.

If the thought of eating the same meal day in and day out puts you off, Charem suggests starting small.

“Even making 50 per cent of your meals the same can still lead to improvements with your health and weight-loss targets,” he says.

Generally, eating the same meal every day will not trigger health issues, as long as it meets your energy and nutrient requirements and, more importantly, includes variety.

A varied diet has been found to enrich the bacteria in our gut, improving our gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome keeps our digestive system functioning optimally and helps maintain the balance between good and bad gut bacteria. It also benefits our immune system and promotes better physical and mental health.

By contrast, an unhealthy gut microbiome may contribute to weight gain, cause fatigue and mood swings, and lead to the development of allergies and autoimmune disorders.

Hong Kong-based dietitian and psychologist Gabrielle Tüscher from Tüscher Nutrition adds that if you cut out certain foods for a long period of time – such as dairy or fish, for example – you risk developing an intolerance or allergy to the food, such as lactose intolerance, or a more serious allergy that may cause anaphylactic shock.

Some people are more susceptible than others to experiencing an eating disorder if they eat repetitively.

“This is, in fact, one of the first signs – the increasing suppression of identity and need to control one’s self and life, leads to control over the food, and by default the body, through maintenance of patterned, repetitive behaviours such as structured meals and the omission of particular food groups,” Tüscher says.

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“From a psychological perspective, some individuals who have anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, trauma, and other mental health disorders or addictive personalities are at a higher risk of developing an eating disorder through repetitive eating.”

Orthorexia, though not yet a diagnostic eating disorder, is an example. It often begins from a space of “righteous” eating, leading to an obsession with eating only “clean” and “pure” foods at every meal, under the premise that this is the healthiest way to eat.

Whether you eat repetitively for convenience, to achieve a weight loss or health goal, or simply because you like predictability and don’t want to have to think about your meals, Tüscher says to assess your reasons and decide whether this way of eating benefits your health.

Whatever the reason, she says not to omit any food groups and to enjoy a variety of foods.

Ma admits that eating chicken every day can get boring. He takes a break from routine on weekends when he eats out with friends, opting for hotpot meals and all-you-can-eat set-ups where he fills up on lean protein and greens – foods that still allow him to stick to his healthy eating plan.

He doesn’t worry that he might be missing out on important nutrients.

“My daily chicken meals allow me to hit my daily targets in terms of calories, protein and other macronutrients, so that I don’t have to calculate these for each individual meal every night before going to bed,” he explains. “Besides, I always remind myself to listen to my body. If I feel like I need extra fibre, for instance, I’ll add it.”

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.