“Studies show people who eat 4-5 meals or snacks per day are better able to control their appetite and weight.” Eating very little during the day or nothing at all, and then overeating at night is one of the most common eating patterns seen in this country and this behavior is associated with obesity and heart diseases. You may not feel hungry all day and then feel starved during the evening and overeat. The next morning you may not feel hungry because you may still feel full from what you ate the previous night. Overeating at night may become a vicious cycle, resulting in no weight loss or even in weight
gain. Also, not eating all day may turn off the body’s signal of physiological hunger (feeling hungry when not eating for more that 4-5 hours). It is almost impossible to control food portion size at night, when you have not eaten all day and the urge to eat is high. If you don’t eat during the day, you will be less likely to have enough energy for exercise in the evening because you may feel fatigue and tired and less likely to exercise and more likely to overeat.
Eat small frequent meals during the day:
Have three meals and one snack a day within a minimum of 4 hour apart or 5 to 6 small meals/day within 2 to 3 hours apart. Do not stay more than 5 hours without a planned meal or snack. Have half of your calories for the day before the evening (4pm). Keep your calorie goal for the day spread between your 3 or 5 meals a day. Example of a 1,500 Calorie Diet:
3 meals – 1 snack within 3 to 4 hours apart:
9:00am 12:00 3:00pm 7:00pm
breakfast lunch snack dinner
300 cal. 400 cal. 300 cal. 500 cal.
8:00am 12:00 4:00pm 8:00pm
breakfast lunch dinner snack
400cal. 400cal. 400cal. 300cal.
3 meals/day within 5 hours apart:
8:00am 1:00pm 6:00pm
breakfast lunch dinner
400 cal. 600 cal. 500 cal.
5 small meals/day within 3 hours apart:
8:00am 11:00am 2:00pm 5:00pm 8:00pm
Breakfast lunch snack dinner snack
300 cal. 400 cal. 200 cal. 400 cal. 200 cal.