Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Anyone switch from 5 meals a day to 3?

04-27-2004, 05:26 PM
Iím wondering if anyone has ever gone from eating the standard recommended 5 mini-meals to eating 3 main meals? If so, was there any change in your weight loss.

For about 1 Ĺ years Iíve been doing a plan where I count calories (1500 per day), follow the food pyramid, & eat 5 meals a day. I havenít stuck to this religiously, but I have managed to lose about 40 lbs. & have 10 more to go.

Lately, Iím finding that I my mini-meals are just not filling enough for me. For example, today I ended up eating my breakfast, mid-morning snack, & lunch all by 11:00 a.m.! (btw, itís not what Iím eating either. I include carbs, proteins, & even some fats in my meals; I really feel as if theyíre well balanced). After that, I was still hungry at lunchtime, so I finally gave in and went to McDonalds. I got a fish filet sandwich & a small order of fries. I ate ĺ of the sandwich & all of the fries & I FINALLY felt satisfied. I havenít been hungry for the rest of the day. I like that satisfied feeling I get from eating a substantial meal, & Iím missing that w/ my 5 mini meals.

Also, another thing that makes me consider going back to 3 meals a day is that w/ all my snacks, Iím tending to obsess with food. I find that Iím constantly planning and journaling what snack Iím going to have, what meal Iím going to have, etc. Maybe if I just eat 3 meals a day, this will simplify things. Iím trying not to be too rigid w/ this since rigidity tends to set me up for failure. However, Iím wondering whether anyone else has made this switch & what your experience has been.

04-27-2004, 07:39 PM
I'm a five to six small meal a day person so I can't help you with the switch part of your question -- sorry! But when I read your post, my first thought was that the McDs 3/4 fish sandwich and fries finally filled you up because of the calories and especially the fat in them. Fat is well-known for being able to make us feel full and keep us feeling that way longer. That's why the low/no-fat craze of the 90s made most of us GAIN weight instead of losing -- we were always hungry eating nothing but sugar and carbs!

I took a quick peek at the McDs web site and got this nutritional info:

Fish sandwich = 410 calories, 20g fat, 41g carbs, 15g protein
Small fries (I guessed small) = 220 calories, 11g fat, 28g carbs, 3g protein

So your meal of 3/4 sandwich and fries was roughly 528 calories, 26g fat, 58g carbs, and 15g protein. The fat calories were about 234, so about 44% of your calories came from fat. And I'm guessing that's what gave you the full and satisfied feeling. The same thing happens to me if I eat something high in fat -- I'll stay full for hours and hours.

Why not experiment and see how you do with the three-meal idea? As long as you're tracking your progress, you're not going to go too wrong! You can always switch back if it doesn't work for you. I've found that things that used to work don't always keep working and a shake-up can be a very good thing. :)

If you still find yourself being hungry and/or obsessing about food after you try the three-meal idea, perhaps think about adding some more healthy fats to your diet? I don't know what % of your calories comes from fats now, but maybe there's room for a little more.

I'd be interested to hear how your experiment goes if you wouldn't mind coming back and telling us about it!

04-27-2004, 08:40 PM
Thanks, Meg. I'm going to start trying this tomorrow, and I will let you know how it goes as I do it longer.

You are so right about how things that once worked may not work forever. I think this is the main thing that is different now than on my many failed weight loss attempts in the past: I'm more willing to be flexible & realize that if something isn't working, that doesn't mean I should chuck the whole plan & dive into a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Thanks, again, for your feedback (your posts always make so much sense)!

04-27-2004, 09:51 PM
I'm more willing to be flexible & realize that if something isn't working, that doesn't mean I should chuck the whole plan & dive into a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

I think you hit on one of the great truths of weight loss. A lot of us are "black and white" thinkers: we're either on or off a diet (often way off), we're either good or bad, we're either a success or a failure. You're so right -- instead we need to be flexible and stop looking at everything as either/or.

I failed at diets a thousand times because as soon as I slipped up or broke one of the "rules", I figured I had blown it and did that dive into the B&Js that you describe. It took a major change in perspective for me to finally make it work. I told myself that this was the LAST diet. Failure was not an option, as they say. If I messed up, slipped up, or fell flat on my face, I would simply pick myself up and KEEP GOING. No more starting again "tomorrow" or "Monday" or "the first of the month". This was for the rest of my life, no re-starts, no do-overs. And that's the way it's been since June 1, 2001, and will be for the rest of my life.

So I think you're really on the right track here -- flexibility, change, moderation, and figuring out how to make it fit YOUR life. :)

04-27-2004, 11:45 PM
meg!!!! i'm following you around today!!!!! and v... meg is smart. and experienced. but don't be surprised if you end up at 3 meals plus a snack

there are lots of possible combinations between timing of meals and what you're eating, so go experiment. good luck!!!

04-28-2004, 08:08 AM
Yep, Meg is a smart cookie....

Experimenting is the best. My experiments over the years have lead me to 5-6 meals /day... having only 3 meals for ME just makes me ravenous! Way too much time inbetween meals for me...

Instead of having gone to McDs for unhealthy foods having a large salad and a whole wheat bread sandwich at Subway would have filled you up in the same way but with alot more nutrients... I'm NOT judging by any means of your choices, because, hey, I have made my share of mistakes...

Good luck if you try the 3 meals... Let us know...

04-28-2004, 08:11 AM
Oh and dang I forgot to mention, that if suddenly you are hungrier than usual it could be because your muscles, I'm assuming you are exercising, are just building and you just need more food for a little while... This happens to me all the time when I have heavier workout than usual...It usually adjusts it self... Good luck!

04-28-2004, 08:33 AM
Ilene -- instead of a smart :cookie: , could I be a smart protein bar or a smart Brussels sprout? :lol: Cookies and I have a love/hate relationship: I love them and they hate me (at least they pack on the pounds, right on the old posterior :D ).

If I don't eat every three hours, I get so hungry that I make very poor food choices (see cookie reference, above). Eating the five to six small meals a day is a big part of what made it work for me, I'm convinced. BUT ... we're all different and experimenting is a very good thing. :)

About the increased hunger due to muscles and exercise: that is SO true and I found that out in a big way this week. I was out of the gym for almost three weeks due to surgery and as soon as I went back to my usual cardio and weights, my appetite shot up through the roof! The worst is after Leg Day, right? :hungry: What kills me is that the guy I work out with tells me all about inhaling entire large pizzas after we do legs and I'm looking at my salad and chicken breast ... and thinking :devil: thoughts about guys and their metabolisms ... :lol:

04-28-2004, 02:00 PM
Thanks, ladies, for your input. There's a lot of wisdom here, & I'm more than happy to take advantage of it.

jiffypop, you may be right about the snack thing. I think the part that I'm just burnt out w/ right now is the endless planning of snacks. Maybe I just need a break from that.

Lanaii, you're certain right about the subway, but McD's was closer!!--LOL :)

Oh, also, yes, I am exercising. The really odd (& pleasing) thing is that this time around, exercise isn't a problem for me. I actually don't mind it. I do an hour of cardio 4 days a week, 2 days of strength training (though, Meg, I don't think I train as intensively as you do--I'm a relative weakling); on one of my strength training days, I add on a 1/2 hour of cardio (I'm an apple shape, so I find I really need to keep up the cardio). I do know that if I do any sort of Interval Training, that definitely makes me hungry.

Meg, I can totally relate to your trainer's comments about the pizza. My husband was genetically blessed w/ a great body & a great metabolism. He does yard work & isn't lazy about doing work around the house, but he never actually "works out" & he eats WHATEVER he wants. When he makes an omelet, I'll bet he uses 1/4 inch of olive oil in the pan to fry it in (I'm not kidding).

Today's my first day trying the 3 meals, & I'm doing well so far. I'll let you guys know how it goes in the longterm.

05-01-2004, 01:13 PM
Hey, Vmelo -- anything to report on your experiment? ;)

05-02-2004, 03:11 PM
V-mello -- Yes well when it's a toss up between McD and SubW and you're hungry, well a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do! SW was just a suggestion...
Exercising IS a wonderful thing, I too, have NO problem exercising... I LOVE it, I'm a bonafide gym rat like Meg...

SOOOO, how IS it goin' girl? Enquiry minds wanna know! :lol:

05-03-2004, 07:21 PM
I've tried 3 meals, and 5 - 6, and I must say, I feel much better and have no problems getting hypo with the 5 or 6 plan. But I must admit, it's a right royal PITA to have to take the time to plan it out, and I end up not being hungry at all, so I almost have to force myself to eat. But on 3 meals, it's easy for me to miss a meal, because if I don't eat for, say 5 hours or more I stop feeling hungry, my body shuts down my appetite, and it goes into "starvation mode" and hordes calories. Not to mention getting hypoglycemic and risking a migraine.

I hear you about wanting to feel full, and the volume of food does matter. I have had good luck with Subway, as Lanaii suggests, when I'm out on the road, especially. Their salads and sandwiches really fill me up. I took a clue from the "Glucose Revolution" book, and put lots of vinegar on the SW stuff. For some reason, that seems to slow digestion and really helps the food stick with me.

But I can't eat just before I work out, that makes me feel sick. Often it's just logistically tricky to work in the right food at the right time. So for sheer convenience the 3 meal plan is way ahead, but for overall health and a steady insulin/blood glucose balance, the 5 - 6 plan may be better. Maybe it's time to carry a lunchbox with healthy snacks in it that I've already journaled, that way I can just munch when I need to. Also a watch with alarms to remind me to eat. Could that work for you?