A Whole Foods Diet Does Not Have to Be Bound to a Clock
Meal plans are a hallmark of most diets. You are expected to get hungry on cue, and wait until a specific time to eat again. If you
are famished between meals, you might be allowed a small snack – probably not enough food to satisfy.
Meals are a human invention. These prescribed times to eat serve to carve up the day, leaving long stretches to be devoted to work. Everyone gets synchronized on pretty much the same rhythm. This may be good for societal functioning, but is not so good for your body.
Hunger is a fundamental instinct and need. Your ancestors, foraging in nature, undoubtedly ate when they were hungry and food was available. Wild animals, living as nature intended, will eat off and on the entire time they are awake.
Your naturally perfect body knows when you need fuel and nutrients. Our understanding of nutrition and physiological
functioning is still far from complete. To second guess your body’s signals to eat is a recipe for failure in the long-run, and often even in the short-run.
The Perfect Formula Diet eating plan urges you to eat when you are moderately hungry and stop when you are full. If you wait until you are famished to eat, you are far more likely to let your appetite get out of control. The end result is that you stuff yourself with too much food instead of exactly the amount your body wants.
Some people may conveniently get hungry at meal times and only at those times. If you fall into that pattern, go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Certainly there is no problem if you are following your body’s signals.
If you get hungry on your own schedule, then feel free to snack or graze throughout the day, or eat a series of mini-meals. As long as you are sticking to a balance of fruits, vegetables, beans, potatoes, and whole grains (cooked without added oils) you can eat all you want throughout the day and still be at an ideal weight. You need never be hungry.
My friends and co-workers are always surprised at the frequency of my not-meals. They may conclude my trim figure is due to a high metabolism or lucky genes. Not the case. I was overweight most of my adult life, and obese in college.
I did not permanently lose weight until I discovered a whole foods, plant-based eating plan. I love my current diet, which is profoundly liberating, fun, and delicious. Here is a typical day of not-meals for me.
6:30-7:00 am: Whole grain cereal (with low or no added sugar) topped with two tablespoons ground flax seed, lots of fresh or thawed frozen fruit, maybe some cinnamon, and chocolate or vanilla soy milk. On weekends, oatmeal instead of cold cereal.
9:30-10 am: Sandwich on whole grain bread (organic, without preservatives and other chemicals). Filling may be hummus, avocado, nut butter and jelly, black bean spread, tofurky slices, or whatever else is handy.
12:30-1:30: Leftovers from dinner the night before. Wide variety of choices, such as whole grain pasta with tomato-based sauce and veggies, ravioli, lentils with corn and/or brown rice, bean and veggie burrito, quinoa salad, soups of all kinds, baked or roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, etc. I almost always have a cup or two of cut up vegetables at the same time. This might include carrots, celery, cucumbers, red or green peppers, snap peas, green beans, red cabbage, or leftover steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus.
All afternoon: two to four pieces of fresh fruit, depending on what’s in season and how hungry I am.
5:30-7: Pretty much the same kind of food I had from 12:30 to 1:30. I might cook something fresh or continue the leftover theme. During the week, I often quickly assemble miso soup (so thick with veggies and beans that it’s more like stew), lentils,
frozen ravioli, or another easy option.
Later at night. I seldom am hungry, but will eat an orange or another fruit if I am. If dinner was small, I might want a piece of toast with tea.
For beverages, I stick to water, sparkling water, and green and herbal tea. Occasionally I have a decaf latte made with soy milk.
Mondays are dark chocolate days. This treat makes the start of the week fun.
Do you think you’ll be satisfied with this amount of food? See if this is your ticket to permanent, hunger-free weight loss success.
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Blog posting by Janice Stanger, Ph.D. Janice authored The Perfect Formula Diet, a nutrition book built on sustainable food choices. Enjoy six kinds of whole foods for permanent, hunger-free weight loss and health.