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General Diet Plans and Questions General diet questions, support for various diet plans other than those listed below.

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Old 01-22-2014, 08:01 PM   #1
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Default Three meals a day versus many smaller meals

I discovered on my current road to health, my most successful by far, that eating three meals a day with some limited snacking has worked wonderfully.

For at least the last 20 years I had read over and over eat 6 smaller meals a day. It keeps your metabolism up and is the best way to lose weight. And for some I am sure this works. If it helps in lowering calories overall.

But I found it wasn't the best thing for me. And current research is questioning the many smaller meals viewpoint. I see food as fuel now. And of course enjoyment. I just enjoy different things and portions than before.

But I also see that along with the many benefits and necessity of good food it is still a chore for your body. You are introducing something that needs to be absorbed, the wastes taken away, and it is generally a fairly big task for the body to digest food. A big task but necessary of course.

But I have found my body works best when I am giving it breaks between eating. Ideally I eat only good whole foods (I fall short of this) and give my body breaks in between. I also, personally, find it empowering to go between meals not eating. It has aided my ability to control appetite.

I am not saying the many meals a day isn't good for people. Especially if it is working. But the newer studies are pointing that it at minimum is not necessary for getting healthy and might not even be as good as fewer, bigger meals.

Last edited by diamondgeog; 01-22-2014 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:25 PM   #2
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Personally I like three meals and a snack because I can have bigger meals and more time in between. The lots of tiny meals thing means I am hungrier for more of the day, and the little meals never quite satisfy. But it seems to work well for a lot of people.
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:40 PM   #3
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If I have many small meals a day, I'm never satisfied and I never feel hunger. I actually like feeling hungry and satisfying that hunger with a delicious meal. I'm a big foodie and really have a passion for cooking as well, so 3 meals a day works for me. I rarely snack though.
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:55 PM   #4
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I also prefer three meals. It's easier, and my hunger is more controlled if I eat bigger meals. Snacking or mini-meals only make my cravings kick in and I end up eating more. Also, personally for me, it's nice to only worry about food a few times a day vs. all day, and helps me to not obsess over food. Snacking or eating more than 3 times a day also isn't common in thin countries (with the exception of children having an after school snack). I can see how it could work for some people though, so it's definitely about what works best.
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:18 PM   #5
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Eating only small amounts, more frequently helped retrain my expectation for large portions. I never felt "full," but I also never felt overfull either. It really did help "shrink" my stomach and my appetite. It helped me see small portions as "normal."

Now I'm trying to eat fewer meals.

I think either can be successful, and both can be helpful, each teaching different lessons about food.

I think some people will choose one way, and be happy with it, and others (like me) will try and use both, depending on the circumstances and woe they choose.

For me, very low carb works better with small, frequent meals or my blood sugar plummets. Higher carb works better with structured meals, and middle-road plans I can use whichever works better for that day's schedule.
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:36 PM   #6
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I like 2 meals a day. Breakfast and a massive lunch. Saves time as I never had time for dinner anyways. Still don't.

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Old 01-22-2014, 10:15 PM   #7
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I've been eating 3 meals per day, maybe 1 snack. It is working well for me.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:12 AM   #8
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Right now I'm eating three meals per day and I let myself eat a snack if I'm really hungry. I've read that it is good to get your body accustomed to an eating schedule because your hormones will naturally prepare you to eat at certain times and help boost your metabolism. Speaking of which, it is time for a snack. :3
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by IanG View Post
I like 2 meals a day. Breakfast and a massive lunch. Saves time as I never had time for dinner anyways. Still don't.
^^ this, though I tend to have a massive breakfast and small dinner, no lunch.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:54 PM   #10
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I prefer to eat 3 meals a day, one small snack (usually between lunch and dinner) and a small portion of desert. I feel like I am more satisfied when I eat this way. Eating smaller meals throughout the day just leaves me wanting to just eat more.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:44 AM   #11
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2-3 meals for me. No snacks. Sometimes I consider breakfast a snack, no more than 200cal. I do best when I keep my eating window between 11am-6pm.

My mother swears by small snacks. She never eats a real meal but then again she's never not eating. She's always snacking on something. It works for her, but for me this drives me crazy. Being a food addicting I cannot allow myself to think about food all day long. I'm really enjoying the respite from food. After lunch it's a wonderful feeling to not have to think about food again until dinner time. That's several hours of doing anything else except eating.

I used to have a pretty severe hunger attack around 4pm. I found that by sipping on spiced tea (cinanmmon/clove/cardammom etc) that it squelches my need for a snack during that precarious hour.

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Old 01-24-2014, 04:00 PM   #12
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I can go either way.

On weekdays, I usually eat 3 snacks, a meal size dinner, and sometimes another snack after.

On weekends, I usually eat 2 meals and one snack.
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Old 01-24-2014, 04:14 PM   #13
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Two meals a day and a snack keeps me the happiest. More meals makes me feel food obsessed. I like a nice breakfast, an early dinner, then a small snack in the evening.

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Old 01-24-2014, 04:25 PM   #14
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I eat 2-3 meals (300-400+ cal.) and 2-3 snacks (50-200 cal.) between.

For me, snacking between meals is a necessity to stay on plan. I've lived in poverty and been "food insecure" at a few points in my life, and if I let myself go hungry between meals, I find that my brain goes into panic mode thinking I may not get to eat again any time soon, and the next time I do eat a meal I'm more likely to overeat or choose something high in fat and calories, because my brain is telling me I need to stock up while I have food available.

I've been out of serious poverty for 6 years now and this never changes.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:46 AM   #15
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I eat small breakfast and small dinner (200/300kcal) and always a big lunch (600kcal). I can't go through the day without feeling nice and full at least one time per day and small meals don't do that for me. I've tried it but found out that I don't lose much more weight and that it makes me feel weak and miserable.
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