A Calorie Counting Success Story

The Amazing Shrinking Woman

Why Should I Eat Six Small Meals a Day? December 5, 2009

I think we’ve all heard this one.  Don’t eat one huge meal, or three normal meals, but rather six small meals a day.

In the past, on all my various diet debacles, I’ve flirted with the idea of Body for Life, and that is one of the programs that makes you eat 5 or 6 small meals a day.  I think the South Beach diet might also encourage multiple small meals.

Why is this?  Where did all this “eat six small meals a day” business come from anyway?

When I was growing up, I heard, as I’m sure you’ve heard, “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”  As I’ve said before, I don’t understand why the king and the prince aren’t eating the same thing, but no matter–you get the idea.

The point of the six small meals is two-fold: it keeps your metabolism from slowing down because there’s always a new supply of food, and it keeps your energy levels high for the same reason.

1.)  It keeps your metabolism high.

Remember the post not too long ago about reworking your metabolism?  Read it here.  Basically what I said there is that when you aren’t eating, your metabolism slows down.  The capability of our metabolism to speed and slow based on the needs of our body is actually really useful.  Well, it would be more useful if we were cave people, and maybe it’ll come in handy again after a nuclear holocaust.  But it doesn’t slow without a reason, and that reason is most often lack of new energy (food) entering the system.

Doesn’t this seem like a catch-22, though?  Think about it.  You’ve got to eat more to burn more.  It doesn’t really make that much sense, but that’s how it works.  I’m convinced that our minds are always thinking beyond our own reasoning, so when we realize that this is just the way it is, our “back burner” part of the brain doesn’t believe it, and that keeps us from really committing ourselves to acting on it.

Basically what eating six small meals a day does is convince your body that there is new food coming in all the time; there’s no need to worry–you don’t have to bank what you don’t use.  That way the body starts working with the energy you’re supplying to it much more efficiently.

2.)  Your energy level stays high.

This is the same idea as the metabolism.  When your body has a constant supply of food, your metabolism doesn’t slow and you don’t get that low blood sugar empty feeling that makes you want to tear through your kitchen like the monster in a godzilla movie.

Now I’ve often thought of scheduling my eating along these lines, but it wasn’t until last night at about 8:30 when I was standing in my kitchen griping about how I didn’t have anything to eat that I realized that the problem has a fairly easy solution.  Six small meals a day!

Why hadn’t I ever actually tried it?  Because it seemed like so much work.  I’m a busy person who doesn’t have time to measure out almonds with a pharmacy pill counter six times a day.  But last night the answer clicked.

Just divide your calories allowed by six!  Duh.  So if I’m allowed 1,758 calories a day, then each meal on the six-meal plan would amount to 293 calories or fewer.  Since it’s so close to a rounder number, I could shoot for 300 and go easy on the last one, or something like that.

So what I should do is this: get healthy food (because eating six Krispy Kreme donuts a day isn’t exactly a balanced diet), stock the Ranch with fresh fruits and other easy things, and then decide on the intervals.  Since I still like making real food and cooking, I’d probably combine two of the meals a day or so for supper.

The schedule would look something like this:

8-9:45 ish — breakfast of grits and butter

11:00 ish — a banana and an apple

1:00pm ish — sandwich

3:00pm ish — nuts or a slug o’ peanut butter  (I’d eat something here, but come in way under 300 so my supper could be a bit bigger)

5:00pm ish — fish, potatoes, and peas

9:00pm ish — popcorn (again coming in under 300 to give supper a wider buffer)

Honestly, that doesn’t seem so bad at all.  In fact, it will be good for me, and I’m almost sure it will speed up my rate of weight loss.  I’ve been ending many days with 700+ calories left to go, and while I’ve been losing weight for sure, I’m getting low blood sugary at times, and that’s a feeling I hate.

So if any of you are going to try this, let me know.  I’m sure some of you have done it before, maybe on South Beach.

Answer the poll about six meals a day if you’re feeling saucy!

 

Day 16 – The Triumphant Return of the Calorie Counter, and a Dog Bite November 19, 2009

Hello, hello, hello!  Or in the words of Ann Curry, “Good morning, good morning, everybody, in the news this morning, good morning.”  Oh what the heck, I’ll just let her say it.

Gets me every time.

So as some of you guessed, my prolonged absence was actually due to a misguided and ill-conceived attempt to grow a mullet like Tom Brady.  Now David Beckham is getting in on the weird mullet act.  Should such a beautiful man get a roadkill haircut?  And again, like Tom Brady and his lady, isn’t David Beckham like, married to Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, aka Skinny McPencil?

It may seem like I’m digressing.  I’m not.  Posh, who likes to be called Victoria, (it’s a compliment, she says… How is your name a compliment, unless your name is Damnyouresexy Jones?) recently said in an interview that she won’t lie–she eats lots of salads.  “Salad.  I’m not going to lie.  I’m not one of those people that says “Oh, I eat hamburgers.”

And the sick thing is, I’m so glad she said that.  I never thought that she ate anything other than salad, except for maybe the occasional kilo of cocaine (jk, no one can pry the cocaine shipments from Kate Moss’s kung-fu grip), but I’m just glad that she finally publicly said something honest.  This helps take away the stigma from women in this country who DO eat hamburgers (guilty!) that we’re somehow inherently flawed because we can’t seem to look like Victoria Beckham.  I do like Victoria Beckham, because she let her son wear his astronaut suit out in public, because she seems to love her children and her husband, and because she’s not shoveling loads of bull at the average American.  For that, Victoria, (can I call you Vicky?) I am grateful.

Now enough about boring, skinny famous people.  Let’s talk about me!  I have been noticeably absent for the past five or so days.  Honestly I was working like a crazy person trying to get something ready for tomorrow.  Of course, I’ve wanted to blog so badly the whole time that I’m staying up way too late tonight as a trade off, but no matter.  Back in college I’d never go to sleep before 3am.  I was so nocturnal I thought I’d begun to grow a marsupial pouch.  (In reality I was just getting another fat roll on my stomach.  I blame Taco Bell for being open til 2am or later.)

During my absence, I did not let you down, dear readers.  I stayed within my calories and tracked them compulsively.

One thing that I really must work on is eating regularly.  I eat breakfast every day, because as reader Christine mentioned on her blog the other day, eating breakfast kickstarts the metabolism.  Now I’ll be honest.  There’s lots of dietary information out there that I think is total crap, but I’m a big believer in the metabolism.

Thyroid issues aside, I don’t think that some people are born with a fast one or a slow one.  I think we train ourselves into one end of the spectrum.  For instance, in high school I “ran track.”  (Translation: I did shot-put and discus on the condition that I never, ever had to run in practice–a condition to which the coach agreed because I held the county records and he needed the meet points.  Despite the common assumptions, shot-putters are not all Helga and Thor.  It’s all about technique, really.)  My friends were some of the distance runners.  Not surprisingly, they were very, very thin.  In the off season they ran cross-country.  In their spare time, they ran around their neighborhoods.  Meanwhile I was sunning myself in the backyard and biting individual grapes from a bunch I dangled from my hand.

It is my opinion that, (and I am by no means a doctor–I don’t even play one on the internet–so feel free to ignore this non-medical advice), a slow metabolism lives in a body that moves less, and a fast metabolism lives in a body that moves more.

The metabolism is what allows a bear to hibernate for months and wake up thinner but healthy.  His metabolism slows to a crawl and he stores all his fat.  His body works very efficiently on little energy.

That’s the same thing we do when we skip breakfast!  We send the bear into hibernation and our bodies start conserving fuel (FAT) because there’s no new supply.

Think about the first people on this planet.  I’m of the they-were-put-here persuasion, but you might be of the they-evolved-from-sea-monkies persuasion.  Either way, they didn’t have it easy.  They basically walked around (which is why walking is so important to a healthy lifestyle) looking for food, ate when they found it, went hungry when the didn’t.  That’s why our bodies can work much like a bear’s.  We were built for such occasional periods of hunger.  It’s not a flaw that we gain weight, it’s part of the intricate design of the human body.  This was all worked out long before Glen Bell ever dreamed of opening the first Taco Bell.  And even longer before someone realized that a drive thru meant never even having to stand up to get your food.

So the moral of the story is eat your breakfast.  Otherwise you’re just making weight loss harder.

In other news, I have a puncture wound on my right pinkie where the dog bit me when I was trying to take away a pecan tree branch that she wanted to bring inside and chew into sawdust.  I was very concerned about this at first, but then I realized that I’d be really ticked off if someone tried to take away my 7 Layer Burrito, and then I kinda see where she’s coming from.  However, that’s no excuse.  So I’m going to work on enforcing the rules with her more.  It’s been hard because I’ve been so busy, but she’ll be happier if she’s not biting me and getting a subsequent spanking.  The Ranch is a mess too, and the Mothership is coming to visit tomorrow, so I’ve got to get cleaning as soon as asap.  (My best friend used to say that.)

I promise I’ll try to keep updating regularly.  I’m also thinking progress photos once a week.  I know I said that earlier, so now I’m going to make good on it.

Today I ate:

-Breakfast-

Grits –130

1 T. butter –100

-Supper- (chicken soup)

chicken breast –220

1 small russet potato –59

rotini –239

rice–180

water

garlic

Calories remaining: 790 (TOO MANY!)

Should I buy some Nutella for situations like this, when I have almost 800 calories left?  I think I just might…

Oh and by the way, I had my “I feel skinnier” moment this morning!  I’ll tell more tomorrow afternoon or night.

Goodnight!