I’ve been writing a lot about losing weight eating one meal a day but it’s clear from some to the responses I’ve been getting that it might not work for everyone – and I absolutely agree.
I want to be clear that I think almost any diet can work as long as you have the right mindset and attitude and 2 meals per day might be perfect for you – but as with everything… thinking about it won’t achieve it and talking about it won’t achieve it, only doing it will.
I chose to eat just one meal a day because:
1. It’s simple
2. It fits with family life
3. It’s sustainable
4. It accommodates my weaknesses (<– This is the important one for me)
But I started my diet eating only 2 meals
I actually started out by eating two meals a day but it didn’t suit me. Yes, it’s simple and yes, it fits with family life, but it wasn’t sustainable because it left me vulnerable to my weaknesses.
At the time I started the diet I was somewhat stressed out by a few aspects of my life and I was dealing with the stress by comfort eating.
Once you pop, you just can’t stop
I found that eating lunch tended to open the floodgates. I’d have lunch and maybe eat a little too much through bad habits or greed. I’d register the over eating in my mind and get cross about it because I knew I’d damaged my diet.
Because I was now in a bad frame of mind, any small incident or setback would see me reaching for some food. I reasoned that as I’d already overeaten at lunch I may as well just give in, continue eating, and start the diet again tomorrow – only to repeat the same process! It gets demoralising.
And even on days when nothing went wrong, I found that once I’d eaten lunch I’d often end up grazing for the rest of the afternoon and wreck my diet that way.
Hanging in and holding out
I discovered that by holding out for as long as I could before eating, I greatly reduced the chance that I would comfort eat or graze.
It became a bit of a game. Being able to hold out until dinnertime before eating became a bizarre source of pride to me.
It’s one of those odd occasions when a negative character trait, like being stubborn, actually works in a positive way!
I couldn’t then, but I can now
Now that I’ve lost weight, I feel differently about it.
Partly because I’m in a much better place right now, but also because I incorporated a two meal a day element into my one meal a day diet. On Saturday and Sunday I eat lunch and dinner. I failed quite a lot at the start but got better over time.
Now my plan is to lose the last 2 pounds and move to eating two meals every day.
Should you try the two meal diet?
If you were going to go down the two meal route this is what I’d consider:
- Get a decent understanding of how many calories your food contains.
I used guesswork because I figured that it would be physically very uncomfortable for me to eat over 2500 calories in one meal (assuming that 2500 is roughly maintenance intake). Playing a guessing game when you’re eating two meals could be trouble.
- Set time limits for eating
Having an end time to your eating helps to limit the amount of damage you can do. Get serious about sticking to it. I did this with my evening meals and learned to make it stick (most of the time).
- Think about lunch as a large snack rather than a meal.
You want to feel you have eaten sufficient, but you don’t want to feel stuffed.
- Every once in a while miss lunch.
See if you can do it for just one day. And try not to pig out later to make up for it. One or two low calorie days can work wonders for progress.
I didn’t have the willpower to stick to 2 meals, but if you have, I’d say it’s the better option.
Some of the benefits of having a 2 meal day:
- There’s not as long to wait between meals
- You don’t feel as hungry
- Better for people on medication (who need to eat with their meds)
- You won’t be as tempted to gorge at the evening meal
- It accommodates those who have business lunches
- There’s more variety so it’s more interesting
Can you think of any other benefits?
Note: Please understand that I’m not medically trained nor am I a qualified nutritionist – I’m just sharing my own experience. You should seek professional guidance before embarking on a diet.