I think it was Bob Green, Oprah’s previous trainer, who started the five small meals a day craze into our belief system when it comes to food. The thought process was that if you felt hunger pangs, then your body would go into starvation mode, your metabolism would slow down and you would gain weight. After a 30 day, juice only, cleanse, I’m here to tell you that starvation mode doesn’t kick in during the five hours between meals. I flooded my body with nutrition, but didn’t give it any fiber and I consumed approximately the same number of juice calories for 30 days. It wasn’t until day 14 that I noticed a metabolic slow down. My one pound a day weight loss came to a screeching halt and for the final 16 days, I only saw a total weight loss of 4 pounds. I wasn’t trying to lose weight. It’s just a natural part of the cleansing process, but I learned so much about hunger and metabolism.
Understanding that my metabolism wouldn’t slow just from experiencing normal hunger in between meals, I decided to ditch the 5 small meals a day program. Instead, I adopted a wild concept, 3 square meals a day with no snacking in between. Pretty crazy, right? I instantly felt better. More energized. I was enjoying my meals so much more and when it wasn’t eating time, I was being productive. Before, I felt like i was always hungry because none of my meals were big enough to really get me full and if they were, then the snacks were just adding unnecessary calories. Keeping my meals around 650 to 750 calories without consuming any calories in between, has been absolutely perfect for me. I eat at 7, 12 and 5. I wake up ready to eat and look forward to a big breakfast. By lunch, I’m definitely hungry and happy to sit down and truly enjoy me meal. Same thing at dinner. The rest of the night, I let my digestive system rest so my cells can repair themselves rather than my body spending all of its energy on digestion.
If you grew up pre 90s, chances are good that in the summer, you played outside all day coming home only when a parent called you in for meal time. We were busy having fun. We weren’t busy spending our entire day thinking about what we were going to eat next. It was fuel. We enjoyed it, but when the meal was over, we ran our butts back outside to play.
My great grandparents, like many, were farmers. When you worked the farm, there was no taking a cooler of snacks with you. You woke before the sun, had a well balanced breakfast and came home for lunch and dinner when you heard the dinner bell ring. What happened to these simple days? A lot of things… Fast food for one.. Using food to feed emotions rather than fueling our physical bodies for another and the list goes on. This is a massive topic with many twists and turns, so I’ll be blogging about it a lot this year.
For now, I just want to remind you of what it was like to sit down and enjoy 3 square meals and let yourself get hungry. Somewhere along the way, we’ve grown fearful of hunger… Physical and emotional hunger. Hunger is good. It drives us to get what we need. I’ll leave you with this, if it isn’t eating time, don’t eat. You aren’t going to starve. Yes, there are exceptions to this and instances where certain individuals may need to eat more frequently… diabetics, extreme athletes and body builders to name a few, but the average human functions optimally off of 3 squares. Yes, you may feel hungry, but fortunately for you, your next meal is right around the corner and water is most likely what you’re needing anyway. Try it. You just may learn something about yourself and change your body while you’re at it.