Weight Loss Support - Your thoughts on frequent small meals?




goodforme
05-13-2010, 04:37 PM
I gave up on it last week. I felt like I was grazing all day, and never felt satisfied. I would eat a container of yogurt, a couple hours later a string cheese, a couple hours later some veggies and meat for lunch, a couple hours later another string cheese, a couple hours later another cup of yogurt, a couple hours later dinner, whereupon I finally felt mentally satisfied with what I just ate.

This week at work I have upped myself to 4 bottles of water, one large-ish lunch, no snacks. Believe it or not, after the first day I felt so much better. I still don't physically feel hungry (a biggie for me) but also, not mentally hungry. My brain knows that at noon I have this great big lunch, I guess! However, I may need to add back the 4 o'clock snack, because unless SO has cooked, it's still a long time til dinner, and I'm pretty hungry when I get home.

Anyway, just wanted to share and see what others had experienced.


nelie
05-13-2010, 04:45 PM
I think everyone has to figure out what works for them. I like snacks but really what I put in my lunch box is what I eat during the day so it doesn't matter to me when I eat it.

Cherry in STL
05-13-2010, 04:50 PM
That grazing feeling is dangerous. And frequent small meals aren't much off of grazing at least to me. The WonderSlim program I am on means 5 shakes, 1 bar and 1 "real food" dinner to consist mostly of a protein item and non starchy vegetables. I am eating more often on this plan than when I ate whatever and whenever I liked. But, it's small amounts each time, so I don't really feel like I've eaten a meal until dinner, when I pile on the steamed broccoli and grilled chicken breast. It has been working so far, so I'm just telling myself to trust the program and the weight will come off. I don't need to feel "full" after each eating occasion, just not hungry.


PeanutsMom704
05-13-2010, 04:56 PM
Frequent small meals don't work for me. I have small breakfast (under 200 calories), a big lunch (anywhere from 600-750 calories) and a medium supper (300-500 calories). I will have a snack if I happen to be hungry, but I don't plan it into my day and most days I don't have one.

This is what works for me - I enjoy my big lunch in a way that I would not if I took those calories and split them into 3 small meals. And it's easier for me to not stop and eat so frequently. Plus I get a mental break from thinking about food - I think if I tried to eat every 2 hours, I'd spend all my time eating, preparing to eat or finishing up eating! lol!

Petite Powerhouse
05-13-2010, 05:00 PM
Frequent small meals don't work for me, either. I eat a big breakfast, a big lunch and a big dinner. I have tried everything else and this is what works best for me. I like eating big.

sotypical
05-13-2010, 05:05 PM
In the beginning, I ate a small breakfast, a decent lunch and a huge dinner. It worked.

After doing a bunch of reading I started evening out my meals and added snacks. It was fine. But now I am back to 3 big meals with a small snack in the afternoon so I don't starve before dinner is cooked. I want a big delicious lunch to look forward or a nice dinner. I would rather save the 200-300 calories from snacks and eat them somewhere else. I have only been doing this a few days but I am much happier. Also having more calories for lunch and dinner makes it easier for me to stay on plan. I don't get the feeling of being un-happy with my lunch, making me less luckily to give up and go eat out.

StuffedBunny
05-13-2010, 05:08 PM
Small meals is working for me right now. But I always was more of a snacker than a eater through out the day, now I just choose healthier options.

WarMaiden
05-13-2010, 05:11 PM
I eat 6x per day, but I also eat a lot more calories than most of you do. Currently I'm averaging around 2000 per day. Also, I eat a ton of veggies and fruit, so the volume of food that I eat is very large. Between that and the calories, I stay pretty well satisfied.

LittleElla
05-13-2010, 05:24 PM
I eat three meals and probably two to three snacks a day to regulate my blood sugar.

birdtostone
05-13-2010, 05:48 PM
Small meals are really working for me. I don't really count the meals I eat per day. I keep myself aware of what I am eating, and how much and that seems to be enough.

My portions are very small and I don't find that I get hungry anymore. I've constantly got something in my stomach, so I find I don't think about eating as often as I used to, even though I'm eating more often. Odd, but it works for me.

Shmead
05-13-2010, 06:11 PM
I prefer small meals, or possibly big meals spread out over several hours.

GlamourGirl827
05-13-2010, 06:15 PM
Although I'm on hold until I have the baby (come on any day now!!) when I am dieting (and I hope to follow the same schedule after the baby) I have a small to medium breakfast, a small to medium lunch and a medium to large dinner. I don't have carbs with dinner. Just a piece of lean meat and a LOT of veggies, so I can eat a big dinner without realy loading on cals (or points) before bed. I like to be full at night.

I find I need a very small snack to make it from lunch to dinner. I don't eat a morning snack because that's my "busy" time. Cleaning, going out to the mall, working out, errands, trips to the park, play group, my son's karate...and then we come home for lunch. It works out well.

I tried the small meals before and always found I was having to plan for the next time I ate. Not like now I have breakfast and don't have to be like "ok let me pack like two more little meals for the next few hours out and about. " I felt like my whole day was consumered by what and when I was eating next, because meal time was like ever 2 hours.

caryesings
05-13-2010, 06:25 PM
I eat both ways. During the week when I'm sitting at my computer all day with access to my kitchen, I eat small amount every 2 hours. On the weekends, I eat closer to 3 normal meals as I'm too busy to break up my eating. My calorie range is 1200-1900 with average @1600

Interestingly, I do eat more calories on weekdays, but I also eat healthier, i.e. more likely to get in all the recommended servings of fruit, veg, and dairy. On weekends I eat less calorically but also fall way short on those food groups.

PinkHoodie
05-13-2010, 07:00 PM
I eat 3 meals with 2-3 snacks. It is working for me. I never feel hungry, I have a ton of energy in the afternoon. But I also don't eat sugar or carbs, so I mostly load up on veggies and fruits or nuts for snacks.

jendiet
05-13-2010, 07:11 PM
this is NOT good for those with hyperinsulinemia or any tendency for blood sugar spikes. Especially if you have reserves to burn. The reason being is because with a steady supply of blood glucose and even glucose not being ushered into your fat cells for energy by insulin--you will never burn up stores. You will just be using a steady supply of blood sugar.

i would eat when you are hungry. eat small meals, and eat healthy foods. I have found the BEST weight loss comes from intervals of 4 hours between meals or snacks.

WarMaiden
05-13-2010, 07:25 PM
this is NOT good for those with hyperinsulinemia or any tendency for blood sugar spikes. Especially if you have reserves to burn. The reason being is because with a steady supply of blood glucose and even glucose not being ushered into your fat cells for energy by insulin--you will never burn up stores. You will just be using a steady supply of blood sugar.


Sorry, but that's simply not true. You've got the science wrong. Frequent meals is highly recommended for hyperinsulinemia and blood-sugar control specifically because it eliminates hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia; eating small, controlled quantities of protein and carbohydrate together leads to lower production of blood glucose, thus lower production of insulin.

goodforme
05-13-2010, 07:31 PM
I eat 6x per day, but I also eat a lot more calories than most of you do. Currently I'm averaging around 2000 per day. Also, I eat a ton of veggies and fruit, so the volume of food that I eat is very large. Between that and the calories, I stay pretty well satisfied.


:oI eat 2200 normally :o but in trying to go down to the next level I'm thinking giving up the 100 cal yogurts and the 50 cal cheese sticks, I can have more bang for my caloric buck at mealtimes.

Maybe I just wasn't doing it right? Only eating 100 or 50 at each snack guaranteed I was hungry again 2 hours later. Of course, for me, the big question is mental or physical hunger?:dizzy:

WarMaiden
05-13-2010, 07:40 PM
:oI eat 2200 normally :o but in trying to go down to the next level I'm thinking giving up the 100 cal yogurts and the 50 cal cheese sticks, I can have more bang for my caloric buck at mealtimes.

Maybe I just wasn't doing it right? Only eating 100 or 50 at each snack guaranteed I was hungry again 2 hours later. Of course, for me, the big question is mental or physical hunger?:dizzy:

What are you eating, specifically, at your meals and snacks?

kaplods
05-13-2010, 07:54 PM
I was very prone to blood sugar problems (spikes and drops) before switching to more frequent, small meals (or snacks, depending on how you want to look at it).

I do best (physically) when I don't ever eat enough in a sitting, for most folks to call it a meal. Eating every three hours (but never eating an actual "meal") works very well phsycially (especially when I'm eating relatively low carb).

Mentally, I'm still working on the concept of "no meals." I have to remind myself that I don't need to fill a plate (even with low-calorie foods).

I do well about 5 days out of 7. It's not always the weekends, but usually at least twice a week I want a "real meal," and it's the real meals that are slowing down my weight loss. If I could give up the idea of meals entirely, or redefine a meal to be always under 200 to 250 calories, I think I'd do a lot better.

mkendrick
05-13-2010, 08:05 PM
Ugh, I HATED the frequent small meals. That being said, I usually have four "meals." I have a large breakfast, small lunch, large dinner, and then a few snacks in the evening. I know a lot of people discourage night time eating, but personally, planning two or even three snacks in the evening keeps me from going off plan. As a calorie counter, I don't really think it matters when I eat the calories, just so long as they're counted.

Here's what has worked best for me:

Large late breakfast: Usually something carby like cereal or oatmeal around 10am
Lunch: Small lunch around noon, maybe a small turkey and veggies wrap and small cup of soup
Dinner: Biggest official meal at 5-6pm. Usually just protein and veggies. Big chicken breast and 2 cups of steamed veggies
2 or 3 Evening snacks: Between 7-9pm, maybe yogurt, fruit, Skinny Cow ice cream bar, peanut butter on a grahm cracker, etc.

Certainly wouldn't work for everyone, but it keeps me happy and satisfied and on plan everyday :)

luciddepths
05-13-2010, 08:50 PM
the reason your not feeling full.. is because of what your eating..
6 meals a day... small meals.. but they have to have a "complex" carb and a protein... when you mix those 2 they are generally very low in calories but higher in nutrition and give you that feeling of being full.

rockinrobin
05-13-2010, 09:06 PM
Fortunately, there is more than one correct to lose weight. What works for one won't necessarily work for another. It is up to us as individuals to find out what does work for us - and what doesn't.

I do like to eat often, so for me, frequent small-ish meals and snacks works really well. I am never stuffed, though always satisfied and *not hungry*. I like knowing that before you know it, more food is on the way. Really helps to keep me on plan. I also really need/want to avoid ever getting hungry. And eating frequently is how I do that.

mkendrick
05-13-2010, 09:10 PM
the reason your not feeling full.. is because of what your eating..
6 meals a day... small meals.. but they have to have a "complex" carb and a protein... when you mix those 2 they are generally very low in calories but higher in nutrition and give you that feeling of being full.

Eh, not really. For me it's a mental thing. I could eat 3lbs of protein and complex carbs and still be obsessively waiting for my next meal if I ate every few hours. It's not a matter of being full for me, it's just the fact that I was eating every two or three hours which led me to constantly watching the clock for my next meal. I was living from snack to snack, and I couldn't think about anything but my next mini-meal.

I now eat larger less frequent meals on a regular routine and that leaves me full, and not constantly waiting to eat the next snack.

duckyyellowfeet
05-14-2010, 01:44 AM
I eat a smallish breakfast, a medium lunch, a larger dinner and occasionally a small evening snack.

Honestly, this works better for my day. My eating needs to fit in with the rest of my lifestyle; i can't be snacking during classes, so I can't add in a four pm mini-me and I don't wake up early enough to justify breakfast AND a snackl. I don't think there is any one "right" way, just the best option for each person.

ange82much
05-14-2010, 03:15 AM
my theory is that small meals mean your stomach is small since it never has to cope with too much, therefore it feels full on less, therefore its easy to stay satisfied all day (guess the tricky bit is if you're just starting the process, you're going to feel hungry all the time whilst your stomach adjusts)

the drama's with small meals as others have said, is that it doesn't fit well into 'normal' peoples routines!

rockinrobin
05-14-2010, 05:26 AM
the drama's with small meals as others have said, is that it doesn't fit well into 'normal' peoples routines!

Luckily, I've no need to be *normal* anyway. ;)

Eliana
05-14-2010, 09:37 AM
I feel best on six equal meals per day. Small snacks are like appetizers. :rolleyes: I can no longer eat a "big" meal and that's fine with me!!

I am/was insulin resistant and this works best for my blood sugar. No more spikes.

Petite Powerhouse
05-14-2010, 11:03 AM
Eh, not really. For me it's a mental thing. I could eat 3lbs of protein and complex carbs and still be obsessively waiting for my next meal if I ate every few hours. It's not a matter of being full for me, it's just the fact that I was eating every two or three hours which led me to constantly watching the clock for my next meal. I was living from snack to snack, and I couldn't think about anything but my next mini-meal.

I now eat larger less frequent meals on a regular routine and that leaves me full, and not constantly waiting to eat the next snack.

This is exactly my experience.

WarMaiden
05-14-2010, 12:07 PM
Luckily, I've no need to be *normal* anyway. ;)

I couldn't agree more. Being "normal" (like everyone else) led to me weighing 289 pounds!

MissKoo
05-14-2010, 12:15 PM
My doc told me the small/frequent mini meals were a good way for me to go. I will let myself eat a regular dinner in order to sit down w/my hubby or family - that's very important to me. I have to say that, depending on how I feel, I can go back and forth. However, it was the frequent meals that helped me stay away from my nighttime binges when I first began healthy eating (dieting). I used to eat way too much right before sleep - my doc called it the "sumo" diet! Not happy he compared me to a sumo but I get his point.

Renwomin
05-14-2010, 12:52 PM
I used to try to eat five or six small meals a day because at one time there was a school of thought that eating more frequently boosted your metabolism more than larger meals. Since then I've read a lot of research to the contrary and thank goodness since trying to eat five meals a day was driving me crazy!

I think the hardest thing for me was to make sure each meal wasn't too big and to always have snacks on hand wherever I was. I personally prefer to have three meals a day and add snacks on a as needed basis. It helps me to keep my calories down and teaches me to really "listen" to my body and its needs.

I know that snacks or small meals works for some people and that is great! I know that when we are too hungry sometimes we can make the wrong decisions. We all have to find what works for us!

goodforme
05-14-2010, 01:00 PM
I thought small meals were perfect for me because I love to eat, and I want to eat all the time. Well, maybe my "snacks" were too small to be satisfying or either it just isn't the way it works *for me* this time around.

Robin, a typical day I would eat breakfast around 6:30, a couple eggs and some spinach or broccoli, maybe a strip or 2 of turkey bacon. Then around 8:30, a 100~ calorie yogurt cup, then around 10:30 a hard boiled egg or a string cheese, then lunch smaller than normal chicken/steamed veggies or mixed green salad with tuna, then around 2:30 and 4:30 more of the same snacky stuff. Dinner is usually whatever the family requests, more calories and more volume than my "small meals" at breakfast and lunch, but I'm eating a TON of calories daily.

Trying to stay away from bread/crackers/pita/tortillas and rice/pasta/potato. The only sweet things I was eating was my (artificially sweetened) yogurt, and it was spinning me into binge behavior, so I have GOT to find some good quality unsweetened greek yogurt to replace it with.

Thanks for your responses, everyone! I guess in my mind what was supposed to be a good thing as far as satiety and psychological bennies turned ugly and made me feel like I was grazing all day, checking the clock to see if it was "time" to eat again, instead of sticking to one of my goals this time, which is only eat when physically hungry (to avoid the mad/sad/happy/bored stuffing I am famous for).

For the record, this whole week the only "bad" day was Tuesday, 1st day back at work with no scheduled snacks. If I do get hungry and it's not lunchtime, I will of course dig into the sack, but so far I haven't had to. Afternoons I have a feeling I will need the 4/4:30 snack because dinner is too far away from lunch. . .

A work in progress!:cool:

jcatron243
05-14-2010, 01:01 PM
I'm diabetic. My nutritionist has me eating 6 small meals a day watching my carbs.

a normal day for me is~
1~~Yogurt
2~~Protein shake
3~sandwich with whole grain bread and lean meat
4~small apple and cheese
5~~Veggies of some sort, my fave right now is red peppers and carrots.
6~Dinner lean meat and veggies.

luciddepths
05-14-2010, 01:05 PM
I thought small meals were perfect for me because I love to eat, and I want to eat all the time. Well, maybe my "snacks" were too small to be satisfying or either it just isn't the way it works *for me* this time around.

Robin, a typical day I would eat breakfast around 6:30, a couple eggs and some spinach or broccoli, maybe a strip or 2 of turkey bacon. Then around 8:30, a 100~ calorie yogurt cup, then around 10:30 a hard boiled egg or a string cheese, then lunch smaller than normal chicken/steamed veggies or mixed green salad with tuna, then around 2:30 and 4:30 more of the same snacky stuff. Dinner is usually whatever the family requests, more calories and more volume than my "small meals" at breakfast and lunch, but I'm eating a TON of calories daily.


are you eating 1 or 2 eggs? i use a cup of egg white and man i'm FULL after. For the first snack what i usually have is a protein shake made from one scoop whey isolate and a cup of orange juice (i use doles orange juice has less cal's/sugar/carbs) and 6 carrots (.5 cup). For snacks you want some sort protein mixed with a complex carb, the protein is what will make you feel full. So say for your snack if you had the yogurt AND the hard boiled egg.. that would leave you better off. Also spacing is key...most say every 3 hours.. i personally do it every 2.5 ish...it really helps me watch what i eat at supper because like you thats when the bigger meal comes into play, i used to just LOAD UP my plate but now i'm not really hungry! so its' helped with over eating and specially when eating out!


Really eating small meals a day CAN be done, I just pack up my lunch kit :) nothing not normal about that, it just looks like i've got a small grocery store in there but :P who cares!

mandalinn82
05-14-2010, 01:12 PM
I'm another one who does small, frequent meals during the week and larger, less frequent meals during the weekend. It works best with my schedule. My workouts are pretty intense, and with my schedule, I find it hard to give enough time to digest when I eat enough in the morning to be able to fuel that workout AND get me through to lunch, so I need a mid-morning snack to carry me over from the smallish breakfast I can digest before my workout. We eat dinner pretty late, so I usually need something to carry me from lunch to dinner, especially if I do my weight lifting in between. And I do eat dessert, because it's a big mental thing for me. So that's 6 times a day during the week.

On weekends, my workout schedule shifts so that I have plenty of time to digest a larger breakfast, so that carries me into a late lunch, which then carries me to dinnertime with no problems.

MosesMom1
05-14-2010, 01:50 PM
I've been eating 3 meals with 2-3 snacks throughout the day (eating every 3 hours.)
At first I was feeling hungry and didn't have very much energy.
Then I added a little more protein in there and I feel satisfied and have more energy.
I think eating the right balance of carbs, fat, and protein make a huge difference, but you should do what works for you. :)

Onederchic
05-14-2010, 03:24 PM
I think everyone has to figure out what works for them. I like snacks but really what I put in my lunch box is what I eat during the day so it doesn't matter to me when I eat it.

I agree with that. For me, I eat about 6 times a day and usually it is low calorie, healthy foods that I can have in large volumes.

ubergirl
05-14-2010, 03:32 PM
Frequent eating, in general, doesn't work quite as well for me. I'm a former grazer who used to eat about every ten minutes all day-- little of this, little of that--

Eating three times a day and only at meal times was helpful to combat that.

susieyarb
05-14-2010, 03:35 PM
I agree that everyone needs to figure out what works for them.

For me, eating a ltitle something between meals has been my saving grace. I never get too hungry. If I'm out and about and forget to pack a snack, I get really hungry and then I want to go Off Plan. But even if it's just some almonds or a string cheese, I feel in control.

For my husband however, it didn't work for him. He had to stop doing the snack thing and just eat when he got hungry.

goodforme
05-14-2010, 03:42 PM
Frequent eating, in general, doesn't work quite as well for me. I'm a former grazer who used to eat about every ten minutes all day-- little of this, little of that--

Eating three times a day and only at meal times was helpful to combat that.


Yes!! This is me (formerly) and I felt like I was going back in that direction.

yoyoma
05-14-2010, 08:15 PM
I like eating four "mini-meals" a day. Grazing more often didn't work really well for me. I spent too much time figuring out what to eat next and dealing with it, even if individually not much prep was required. I was never really in a food-free frame of mind, and I was never *really* satisfied.

OTOH, if I try to each just 3 meals a day, I end up getting too hungry between meals and either eat dinner too early or risk binging if I eat late. So, it seems four meals is the right number for me!