Habit 1: Eat 3 or 4 Meals Without Snacking
Welcome to Week 1 and Your First Habit!
I use to think about food all the time. I probably spent half my day eating, preparing to eat or planning my next meal.
Now I spend most of my time helping others to eat better – so technically I’m still thinking about food but in a different way.
Change is hard. Your body really doesn’t like change.
So I understand how challenging it is to get started making changes in your life.
But guess what? You already started by committing to this program.
At times you might feel like I’m asking you to climb Mt. Everest. But remember you’ve already taken the hardest step…
The first one.
Plus I’m not going to throw a bunch of changes at you all at once. We’ll start with one change and keep it simple.
Eat 3 meals a day without snacking.
Your goal is to eat only these 3 meals – with nothing in between.
Try to plan out your meals so they are evenly spread over a 12 hour period.
For now, don’t worry about what you’re eating or how much. Focus on 3 meals – maybe 4 depending on your schedule – without snacking.
Here’s an example of how this could look if you eat 3 meals a day:
Here’s how this might look if you eat 4 meals a day:
If your work schedule means you go 7 or more hours without food, a smaller meal will help you get through it without causing excessive hunger and over doing it with dinner.
**It’s important that your lunch is appropriately sized so you’re hunger for the mid-afternoon meal AND that the mid-afternoon meal is sized to allow for hunger to return before dinner.
If you exercise intensely after dinner, you may benefit from a shake or snack rather than going to bed without any post-workout nutrition.
What To Do This Week
Plan 3 or 4 meals evenly spaced over a 12 hour period – there may be some adjustments needed depending on your schedule. Your goal is to eat only these meals and nothing in-between.
Items that are not considered a snack and can be consumed in between meals:
What is considered a snack:
You can still enjoy a glass of wine, but plan to have it with your meal. A black coffee with a small amount of milk mid-morning is not considered a snack.
How To Scale This Habit
Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? The turtle won with consistency. That smug rabbit was all over the place. The key to making real changes that last for the rest of your life is consistency.
Too much change, too fast, won’t last.
Be honest with yourself. If you’re not ready to do this habit consistently, then adjust it until you’re confident you can do it every day. All the habits we practice can be adjusted to meet you where you’re at in your health journey. Pick a level on the scale below that you are confident you can do every day. If you have any questions or need help scaling this habit send me an email.
If you have no idea how many times you eat per day, start keeping track so you can put a number to it. So if you currently eat every hour – constantly grazing – pick a number of meals and only eat at those meals. This will help you establish an eating routine and practice sticking to it without snacking. Once you’re successful at only eating this many times per day, move on to the next level. Remember, I’m not asking you to reduce how much you eat or what you’re eating. Just focus on meal frequency for now.
Eat 1 less time every day. If you currently eat 6 times a day, go down to 5 meals without snacking. Once you’re comfortable with this change, take away another meal until you’re down the the habit goal of 3-4 meals per day. Again, don’t worry about how much or what you’re eating for now. Focus on meal frequency until it feel natural.
Why You Should Do This
A day into this habit and you may start wondering what possible reason could there be for this madness?
Sure, some people can graze all day and not gain weight. You probably know someone like that and were tempted to smack a bag of chips out of their hands on more than one occasion.
Below are reasons why you should do this habit.