Eat like a King for breakfast,
Eat like a Prince for lunch,
Eat like a Pauper for dinner.
I’m not sure where the phrase came from, but I know that the advice is based on getting your metabolism going early in the morning and allowing your body to digest the heavy meal whilst you are active during the day.
Does it work? I really don’t know. I have only heard this advice from people who do not follow it. For example, I have heard this from people who I have seen eat very large dinners! I can only remember hearing the advice from overweight people.
Before someone sends me an email with evidence of a thin person who follows this rule I won’t state that I believe that it is possible.
Meal times and sizes are only one piece of the weight control jigsaw
Personally I have found this 3-2-1 method of meal portion sizes NOT to have worked. When I wake up I simply don’t feel very hungry. By forcing myself to eat when I am not hungry I am not following my own advice of listening to my body. I am also creating or reinforcing a HABIT of eating when I am not hungry.
Also, a simple glass of water or small snack will get your metabolism going. Even the process of waking up and moving around gets your metabolic rate up.
I suppose that if you had a set amount of food for a day, for example 2200 calories of food, and then ate:
1100 calories for breakfast
700 calories for lunch
400 calories for dinner
STRICTLY …. Then maybe you would lose more weight as more calories would be available during the day than at night …. Maybe.
I don’t know about you, but to only eat 400 calories from lunch time through to the next morning would be very difficult. Especially as this will be the opposite to what everyone else is doing. You will weaken in the evening. Your big breakfast will often be repeated in the evening.
Another factor to consider is that large meals stretch your physical dimensions of your stomach
A huge breakfast comes under the category of “bingeing” in my humble opinion.
What about the other way round? A 1-2-3 where you eat a small breakfast then a medium sized lunch and a huge evening meal? You will likely go to bed with indigestion, and many of the calories will get stored as fat. Going to bed on a full stomach can negatively affect the quality of your sleep as well.
What is best? There are different tactics that are far more effective than 1-2-3 or 3-2-1.
Eat similar sized meals so that you get used to feeling full at a certain stage of the process. This is a good habit where you never feel bloated. Never feel ravenous after a tiny meal. You will be less likely to snack. A good rule is to limit food consumption to between 11am and 7pm. This way you don’t go to bed on an empty stomach, and it is easy to last until 11am with your lack of hunger for the first hour or so, then your busy ‘get ready and go to work regime’. By doing a 2-2-2 between 11am-7pm you will limit the amount of time you are likely to feel hungry.
They call this ‘grazing’. It is where you have 6 mini meals, enough to satisfy your hunger. Scientifically this makes the most sense as you will never feel bloated of struggle to digest your food. Your energy levels will stay higher as your digestive system doesn’t slow you down. You don’t stretch your stomach dimensions, you don’t get indigestion. You limit blood sugar spikes to a minimum and your body gets a spread out constant supply of nutrients. Also, you will never feel very hungry because its always almost time for another meal!
While the 1-1-1-1-1-1 makes most sense, 2-2-2 works best for me. Both of these are infinitely better than 3-2-1 or 1-2-3. You want to avoid bingeing, whether it is food, alcohol, or anything else.
Oh and another thing…
If you want to lose weight, don’t be afraid of 2-2.
Just 2 medium sized meals. I often do this, if you are avoiding or limiting carbohydrates then you won’t have the cravings after your blood sugar crashes. Going all day without a meal can be quite easy. Listen to your body, if you are hungry then eat. If you eat a medium sized meal at 11am then have a busy afternoon it is easy to wait till 6 or 6:30 for another meal. Don’t think that if you don’t eat 3 meals a day then you will wither away!
There is evidence to suggest that fasting works. If you go a whole day or even a few days without eating you will be fine. I have read that fasting can help your body ‘reset’. If you imagine our ancestors in the winter, or desert, or after a bad harvest … fasting for short periods would have been common. Our bodies are ‘designed’ for it.
Apparently, after a day the hunger goes away. I have friends that often “forget to eat” until the evening, I used to think that they were mentally ill. Now I have got myself under control it is easy for me to miss a meal.
Disclaimer: Fasting for a day, or eating ‘only’ 2 meals IS NOT the same thing as anorexia which is a serious problem beyond the scope of this book. If you or someone you know makes themselves sick, or eats very little day after day please get help!
Disclosure: I personally have never fasted for a whole day, nor do I plan to!