Whew! What a Monday! I can’t even complain — it’s crazy but I like it.
Today I ate a bunch of mini-meals because I frankly didn’t have a lot of time to make bigger meals and, as it gets hotter, I don’t have a big appetite. The fitness experts tell us we need to eat 5-6 meals a day to stoke our metabolic fires. Skip your snacks, they warn, and you’re libel to overeat. Well, I overeat even when I have my snacks, so what about people like me?
The trouble with eating 5 meals a day is… what if you’re just not hungry? What if you eat a meal that leaves you pleasantly full and you’re just not hungry for half a banana and 28 almonds 3 hours later? I think that the idea is, if you’re restricting calories, you will be hungry for 5 meals a day. The advice to eat frequently and eat small meals is so universal that it has become Conventional Wisdom. Conventional Wisdom raises big red flags for me because it is this wisdom that tells us to finance large homes with 80-20 mortgages because real estate values will keep going up. It tells us to get a master’s degree using non-dischargeable government loan because you’ll more than make it up with a salary increase. Or eat a low-fat diet with lots of carbohydrate. You get the picture.
I’ve traveled a bit (not as much as I’d like). No other country I’ve been to (Italy, France, England, Switzerland, Peru) has a snacking culture like ours. Oh sure, flabby tourists can buy snacks to stow in their fanny packs, but you won’t see Italians sitting down to nosh a mid-day protein and vegetable snack at their desk. In France, the national snack seems to be nicotine and sulky manners (I kid about that last part. Um, sorta). And you don’t see them measuring meat with the palms of their hands. They just… eat. They seem to stop when they’re full. I don’t know how they do it.But they’re a lot less fat than Americans are with our constant supply of food that prevents our bodies from going into full metabolic-meltdown.
You can always tell when I have wine with dinner. My posts get a little hyperbolic and ramble-y.
Some people argue that there really is no support for Conventional Wisdom as it pertains to snacking. Yes, lots of bodybuilders eat egg whites or chicken breast with broccoli 6 times a day and they are quite lean. Note: If you ever see me eating broccoli at breakfast, you have permission to beat me with sticks. Unless said broccoli is mixed with eggs and liberally dosed with cheese and pie crust.
I’ve eaten both ways and, truth be told, unless I’m eating according to my own internal hunger cues, no prescribed eating plan seems to work well for me. When I listen to my body and eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m not, sometimes I eat 3 meals a day and sometimes I eat 12 meals a day. And my pants fit the same either way.
Tell me your experience: Do you feel better with 5 meals, 3 meals or do you lose count and just eat when the urge strikes you? And do you eat broccoli for breakfast?