In addition to getting myself to bed earlier, I've been trying an "everything old is new again" tactic the past couple of days:
Eating three meals a day.
I know! How old school.
For years and years and years, I've been doing what the gurus have said and eating every 2 to 3 hours.
How's that workin' out for me? Not that great lately.
So to goose my hunger, satiety and fat-burning hormones, I started eating three 500-calorie meals a day. That leaves 100 calories of wiggle room for calorie discrepencies or abject arm-chewing hunger attacks.
I've read about the return to "three squares" in many places:
- Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness: International Journal of Obesity
- Snacking between meals could be what's causing your belly fat: Prevention
- Myth: Constant grazing boosts your metabolism: JillianMichaels.com
- The benefits of three square meals a day: Xpose Entertainment (Irish TV show)
- Three square meals best for weight loss: Fitness Rx
- Eat more often, gain weight: Dr. Joel Fuhrman
But Dr. Fuhrman explained it best on a recent episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," oddly enough, illustrated with a golf cart.
Watch this video HERE -- he gets into the science behind leaving more room between "eating occasions" at the 2-minute mark.
The upshot: Your body never gets a chance to burn any fat because it's busy burning the food that you keep sending down the pie hole every couple hours.
Makes sense to me. But of course I could scour the Internet and find just as many articles saying frequent small meals are the key to weight loss.
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, author of the new book "The Diet Fix," takes a "do what works for you" approach in his article "How often should you eat?" He cites the studies that show three protein-rich meals a day can be more satiating, but notes that he prefers to add in healthy snacks.
Lemme tell ya, getting to 500 calories is hard when you eat at home! Eating at a restaurant, getting to 500 is pretty darn easy. In fact it's hard to stay below that, even when you order a "healthy" entree.
I'm not shoveling down Pop-Tarts or ice cream bars to get to 500. Instead I'm adding a fruit, yogurt, a healthy baked good or extra protein. Empty calories are a lousy way to fill your day and will only make you crave more of them.
Breakfast on Monday, for example, was two eggs cooked in a half tablespoon of butter, a piece of Rudi's gluten-free raisin bread, a navel orange and coffee with a couple tablespoons of half and half. Total calories: 380. See? I couldn't even make it to 400! And did you notice, no diet foods were harmed in the making of that meal.
Even though I didn't hit 400 calories, that meal at 8 a.m. powered me through an hour at the gym, errand running and a dentist appointment and I didn't eat lunch until 1:30.
Haven't weighd myself yet to see how the plan is working but I'm noticing that the compulsion to eat between meals is slowly ebbing away.