Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
13 Jul

Meal Timing Concerns: Breakfast, Frequency, and Snacking

mealtimingThe issue of meal timing is a dense thicket of conflicting advice, a mix of conventional wisdom dispensed from USA Today articles, broscience on Internet forums, and confusing physiological feedback from a dysfunctional metabolism. How can one wade through it all and stay sane? You’ve been told your entire life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but then you hear about intermittent fasting, Warrior Diets, and skipping breakfast while thriving. The buff/cut/shredded/ripped/insert-increasingly-violent-adjective-to-describe-one’s-leanness-here (what’s next, “flayed”?) dudes at the gym insist you should break up your eating into at least six small meals (and if possible, maintain a steady IV-drip of Muscle Milk throughout the day) to “boost” your metabolism. Some say three meals a day works just as well, while others say it’s even superior. Others try to simplify things. They suggest listening to your own body, to eat when hungry and fast when not, which makes sense, but what if you’re overweight and hungry all the time – can your body’s metabolic signaling really be trusted?

These are common concerns. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but I think I can make navigating the meal timing issue a little easier for people. Let’s go through a couple of the most common questions and explore what might work. I think you’ll find that context is key.

To Eat Breakfast, or Not

It’s true that epidemiology shows habitual breakfast skippers trend toward being fatter and less healthy than traditional breakfasters. People who skip breakfast are more likely to be dieters (meaning they’re overweight) and lead generally unhealthy lifestyles (since skipping breakfast is widely seen as unhealthy, they’re more likely to engage in other unhealthy activities).

Is this true for you, though? Are you technically skipping breakfast, only to grab a Frappucino on the way to work and eat a couple stale donuts in your office at 10 AM? Are you skipping breakfast intuitively, simply because you’re not hungry? Or are you skipping breakfast while mustering up all the willpower you have and ignoring your body’s cries for sustenance? These are two very different physiological states. I’d argue that the intuitive breakfast skipper is not skipping breakfast at all. Instead, he (or she) is in tune with his body. He’s still breaking his fast, just at a later time. The tortured breakfast skipper is fighting against his own satiety hormones, a battle he cannot win over the long haul. He’s living in perpetual metabolic discord. What do you think he’s more likely to eat for lunch – a Big Ass Salad whose contents he lovingly and thoughtfully prepared the night before, or a Big Mac combo?

If you’re of the former category and a traditionally-timed breakfast simply never occurs to you, you’re fine. Stick with it and eat when you get hungry, especially if your fat-loss efforts are succeeding.

Others might want to eat a protein-rich breakfast. Overweight teens who habitually skipped breakfast ate either a high-protein breakfast (50 grams protein) or a breakfast with normal amounts of protein (18 grams) for seven days. Three hours after their last breakfast on the seventh day, researchers measured the teens’ neural responses to pictures of food. The high-protein group displayed the least amount of activity in areas of the brain associated with food reward. According to brain imaging scans, the high-protein group was more sated and less interested in the idea of food than the low-protein group. Of course, the usual caveats apply here: these overweight teens were not skipping breakfast so they could do their afternoon squat session fasted, they probably weren’t interested in fasting-induced cellular autophagy, and I doubt they skipped breakfast spontaneously because they were happily humming along on stored body fat energy. In short, they are a specific demographic whose results may not apply to you. But if you’re the type who’s tried to skip breakfast and failed miserably – or did it and felt miserable and ravenous – you might try eating a high-protein breakfast. Add some fat to that protein and I bet you could maintain satiation for longer than the three hours described in the study.

Many Small Meals vs. Few Large Meals

To graze or to feast? According to many fitness “experts,” grazing is supposed to “stoke the metabolic fire,” while infrequent meals “slow your metabolism.” The idea is that eating many small meals keeps your metabolism plugging away at a high rate for the entire day, helping you burn more fat. Conversely, going too long between meals slows down your metabolism, so that when you do eat, your body is sluggish to respond to the caloric load and you end up storing it as fat.

It’s a neat-sounding theory, but it isn’t true.

First of all, there is no metabolic advantage to eating multiple meals. Yeah, your body expends metabolic energy to process and digest food, but it doesn’t matter when or how it’s eaten. You could eat a steak in a single sitting or the same steak cut up into five pieces, each eaten an hour apart, and the total energy expenditure required to process and digest the steak would be identical in both cases. So, assuming macronutrient ratios and caloric content are identical, eating more frequently doesn’t make your metabolism “burn” brighter. If it did, this study would have ruled in favor of increased meal frequency as an effective tool in weight loss for obese patients. But it didn’t.

But wait: eating more frequently keeps you sated, right? If you’re eating more often and keep a cache of snacks on hand, you should be able to keep hunger at bay. This must be true because those 100-calorie snack packs of cookies and chips are so successful, and I always see the trimmest, sveltest folks happily snacking away on them. Why, I remember seeing a cubicle garbage bin positively filled to the brim with 100-cal snack wrappers. Its inhabitant was off for lunch at the time, but with all that healthy snacking, I imagine he or she was fit as a fiddle!

Ha, no. A recent study actually suggests that eating more frequently reduces measures of satiety and fullness in overweight and obese men (the population that most desperately needs satiety, mind you), while eating less frequent, higher-protein meals increases satiety and reduces hunger. This is buttressed by the hordes of anecdotes I receive in my inbox from folks who only achieved freedom from constant hunger when they started eating real, substantial Primal meals and stopped obsessing over frequent, smaller meals.

What About Snacking?

Another study, featured in a recent Weekend Link Love, reveals that 25% of Americans’ calories now come from snacks, half of which are sweetened beverages. Sure, drinking soda and eating chips in between meals is obviously terrible, but that doesn’t really apply to Primal snackers and their macadamia nuts, beef jerky, and berries. Or does it?

For certain groups, I think healthy snacking, or smaller, healthy meals, may be warranted. If you’re starving, it’s definitely better to reach for the beef jerky than the cookie. Chris Kresser wrote about how infrequent, larger meals and IFing (even in the context of a “paleo-type” diet) cause wild blood sugar swings in some of his patients, most notably the stressed-out ones with cortisol disregulation, so that’s something to consider. In my experience, whenever I’ve had a bad night’s sleep or am going through a particularly stressful situation with work or life in general, I like breakfast; I get hungrier more often and skipping breakfast or fasting simply doesn’t feel right, so I don’t. Rather than tough it out or power through it, I listen to my body in these situations and eat if I’m hungry. I strongly suspect that trying to fast when your body doesn’t “want” to does more harm than good. Problems arise when this becomes chronic, when you’re always stressed out, always hungry, and always snacking. But in the short term? Eat when hungry.

If you must snack, include some protein. As to why, I’ll draw your attention to a brilliant post by J. Stanton, entitled “Why Snacking Makes You Weak, Not Just Fat.” Stanton explains why eating a carb rich snack without protein is inherently catabolic: the insulin spike stimulates muscle protein synthesis, for which the body needs amino acids, and without dietary protein the body must draw on muscle protein stores. Once or twice this wouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re snacking on protein-deficient carby foods throughout the day, every day, you’re eventually going to see muscle wasting. The classic example is the skinny-fat cyclist or jogger with a fanny pack full of dried fruit and a bandolier of glucose gel packets.

Personally, I like my buddy Aaron Blaisdell‘s slogan: “Not IF, but WHEN (When Hunger Ensues Naturally).” Let hunger happen. Don’t force the fasting. Don’t fight hunger just because your official “eating window” hasn’t arrived yet, and if you feel it’s “ensuing” unnaturally, do some investigation. Are you sleeping well? Are you training too much, or not at all? Is your 80/20 turning into a 60/40? If all that stuff is under control, consider that you may need a few days to entrain your ghrelin secretion to your eating schedule. Ghrelin? It’s a hormone that precedes and indeed predicts mealtimes, induces hunger and is secreted when you’re about to eat. Your ghrelin secretion schedule follows your eating schedule, and it’s a fast responder, so a few days should be plenty of time to get things lined up. In the meantime, you may have to deal with a little extra hunger at your previously normal mealtimes.

In the end, it all comes down to doing what works for you. I’ll admit that IF is a great tool for people who thrive on it. I like throwing in a fast here and there, because it works for me. You have to consider how these strategies work within the confines of your physiology. If something isn’t working for you, don’t “stick with it” just because it worked for others or there’s a big blog post listing all the benefits with links to rat studies and human trials. Eat a big breakfast if you need it. Eat food before your workout if you find you perform better with something in your stomach. Your needs are the bottom line – all other considerations pale in comparison.

Of course, your needs will change, especially as you continue with the PB lifestyle. Once you start sleeping, eating, dealing with stress, and moving well, things get easier. You might get hungry a little later in the day. You might find you even have enough energy for a quick workout before that first meal. You might look up from your plate and realize that it’s noon and you haven’t eaten in sixteen hours – and you feel fine. When that happens, go with it. Don’t force it, but let it happen if it will. The good news is that this is all contextual, and nothing is written in stone.

How do you handle meal timing? Have you noticed any changes since adopting a Primal lifestyle?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I’m going to be the bold one who said I went back the other way. Or really I went back to who I was before I got messed up.

    I was one of those people who ate frequent small meals a good decade before the concept became mainstream. Not grazing (eating constantly) But smaller meals and anywhere from 3-6 per day. I probably average 4 meals.

    However I never did the faddish “piece of fruit” snack or ” a string cheese”. What’s the point of that? If I am hungry I eat some food and enough of it to matter.

    I tried the larger fewer meals thing for several months and got sicker and sicker. I started having attacks that led for testing for gallbladder and pancreas diseases.

    I went back to smaller less fat filled meals and the attacks went away and have stayed away (knock wood). My body can really only process so much at one time without rebelling.

    Does that mean I eat breakfast every morning? Nope. Most days I workout first thing and have breakfast when I get home. Sometimes I just have coffee and then have breakfast at around 9:30 (I get up at 4:30 so that is late) If I sleep in I tend to putter around with my coffee until about 11. And I still might have 4 meals that day. Or 3 or 5.

    Today I woke up starving and had a small meal before the gym. And breakfast at 10:30. I’m predicting a late lunch and a dinner.

    Runnergal wrote on July 13th, 2011
  2. I always have more energy when I do not eat breakfast.

    I am just not a morning person so therefore I am not hungry in the morning.

    Why force myself to eat when I feel better if I don’t??

    Mark wrote on July 13th, 2011
  3. A caveat – if you have/have had an eating disorder, be very, very careful with anything like IF. I decided to try IF (skipping breakfast) for about a month and although I became more used to it over the course of the month, it was always a fight (sometimes to the point of wanting to gnaw my arm off and eat it). It set me off on a two month binge fest which I am now just regaining control of.

    The issue was probably more a case of, as you said Mark, not listening to my body as the IF was a constant fight, but I think part of the problem for people with eating disorders is that we really don’t know how to listen to the signals our bodies send us. I think for me, at least for now, it is important to eat when I think I ‘should’ eat partly because if I don’t, I become obsessed with food, when am I going to eat, etc. and this food obsession is the very thing that I need to get away from. Keeping a regular schedule in this regard helps me personally not focus as much on food. I hope that I can eventually get to a point where food isn’t such a central issue in my life and it does become just ‘fuel’. One day at a time. :)

    Pookin wrote on July 13th, 2011
  4. Great post!

    I eat when I’m hungry and my body usually suffices with 3 decent meals. I rarely find the need to snack.

    Last week I went for some blood tests and had to fast. My appt was for 11 am and I didn’t get blood drawn until after noon. I had been fasting for almost 19 hours and I still felt great.

    Primal K@ wrote on July 13th, 2011
  5. Fantastic article! I could not agree more with you in regards to both snacking and fasting!

    Jourdan wrote on July 13th, 2011
  6. Hi, I finally made it here–interesting site! I’ve had a health hobby for 30 years, and had to go with listening to my body and common sense. I loved your comment about cutting a steak up in 5 pieces and eating them an hour apart. One thing that would happen that nobody thinks about is that what’s already in your stomach rots, while it’s waiting for the new piece to digest (since it takes meat and some other foods much longer to process). It’s good for auto-toxemia.

    Arla wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • Nothing rots in your stomach. It doesn’t take meat long to digest in the high-acid content of the stomach. The only thing that “rots” (reacts to bacterial action, that is) is undigestable grains and seeds that ferment in the colon, causing gas. The stomach doesn’t “wait” for anything to digest and let other stomach contents sit.

      JM wrote on July 14th, 2011
  7. 3 weeks in, I’m findng that I look forward to breakfast, although I’m not always hungry for it until I start rummaging in the fridge. Also, I am lasting until maybe 13.00 or 14.00 when previously I would be gnawing my stationery by 11.30, or maybe even 10.30 desperate for fuel. I’m still starving for dinner when I get in at 18.45 (so I normally pack a PM snack)but I am sated until the morning after my evening meal. This is just totally new to me; it’s a family joke that I eat ALL THE TIME and I can be relied upon to nibble within an hour of a meal. I’m starting to think that the money I’ll save on mini meals will cover the cost of heaps of veggies and bigger protein portions. Hurray for Mr Sisson!

    Charlotte wrote on July 13th, 2011
  8. I understand the concept of eating when hungry, but I think for many of us that only have a few months of PB under our belt that can be a difficult thing.

    Most of us are programmed to eat at 7, 12, and 7 (BF, Lunch, Dinner). We aren’t -really- hungry, but our brains are telling us that we’re hungry because it’s our prescribed feeding time.

    That’s why I’m taking to fasting. I’m doing IF right now and just started, but what I’m finding is that I feel -much- better when not eating breakfast. My brain is still telling my body “Hey, why the hell haven’t you eaten anything? It’s 9am!” So I feel a hunger ping, but it goes away.

    I would’ve liked to see more information about our mental hunger and physical hunger, and differentiating the two.

    Enjoyed the article though, as I do with all of them.

    Grok on! Live long. Drop dead.

    Grim wrote on July 13th, 2011
  9. I do tend to force breakfast, only because if I dont I get really hungry around 10am, and there are not many EASY options at work (and cant really take time that isnt ‘lunch’ to prepare something healthy). A moderate breakfast high in fat and proteins soothes me over through lunch, and I usually end up taking a late lunch at that and feel fine. Former grazer converted in less then 2 weeks!

    Bobandy wrote on July 13th, 2011
  10. I find it ridiculous people are still puzzled by this.
    Eat what you want when you want Fast, 6-7 times a day doesn’t matter … have a look in the mirror if you are overweight eat less .. if you are lean spot on … you have a whole life time to experiment and get it right!

    Raymond

    Raymond-ZenMyFitness wrote on July 13th, 2011
  11. Before I started a PB lifestyle I would literally get sick if I didn’t eat every 2-3 hours. Sick as in not just a headache and lethargic, but also very anxious. (OMG, I haven’t eaten in two hours, I need food..stat!). But once I got into eating Primal it stopped being a concern. Instead of getting sick, I wait for the hunger pangs to appear, and that usually takes 5-6 hours between meals.

    Aurelia wrote on July 13th, 2011
  12. My trainer is always on my butt about not eating before coming in for my early morning workout. I’m just not hungry first thing in the morning. Never have been. It doesn’t seem to me to affect how I feel when working out, but he insists he can tell the difference when I eat before working out than when I don’t. I finally got tired of it and said the topic wasn’t open for discussion any longer. Years ago, a guy I played racquetball with used to say, “Always play r-ball hungry”, and I followed his advice when winning r-ball tournaments.

    Joan Schramm wrote on July 13th, 2011
  13. What a great article.

    I used to have a really hard time not following the 3x a meal a day, and snacks twice, once at 10 am…and the other around 4 pm.
    It’s ridiculous! My mother (and ALL of my relatives) have followed this their entire lives. The world would come to an end if we’d miss breakfast or lunch.
    My mother thinks sugar is a staple and if you don’t eat it you get ‘under-sugar’ (what she calls it) and fall into a coma. I grew up with these ridiculous lies!

    My life, and everyones in my family, evolved around certain day times and food. Still, to this day I look at the clock everytime I get ready to cook my primal meals…WTH! “Oh it’s 6pm, I should eat something”…gawdangit.
    I’m getting better though, being primal for about 16 months now and slowly getting away from the man-made clock, and just listening to my body.
    If only I could stop looking at the darn clock everytime I eat.

    So annoying.

    Primal Palate wrote on July 13th, 2011
  14. I fast most mornings( with a Tbs. of coconut oil in my coffee) and have found that I feel great with loads of energy most of the time despite my MS. However, when I first started IFing I forced myself to fast even though I felt shaky and would end up feeling rotten all day. I finally wised up and started listening to my body and realized the success of my fast almost always depended on what I had eaten the night before. So I still fast most mornings but only if I’m not hungry and I discontinue it if I feel weak. Otherwise, I feel that IFing is very therapeutic for my condition.

    Was it Mark that said “If it’s the most important meal of the day why is everyone eating dessert for breakfast?”. I roll that out for my gluten eating friends when they harass me for not eating! :)

    Sara H. wrote on July 13th, 2011
  15. Timothy Ferris in the 4 hour body suggests you should eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. Ferriss says that this is critical because it starts your day off with the right fat burning hormones. Try eggs to get protein as these generally do not increase your cholesterol. This breakfast will also help you not to get a mid-afternoon slump after lunch. You may also want to mix in some carbs too which will come largely from fruits and veggies. Simple!

    My question is when is the best time for cardio? Is in the morning on an empty stomach? Timothy Ferris seems pretty adamant about the eating within one hour of waking and wanted to make sure that pre-breafast cardio doesn’t affect this in any way.

    FitChutney wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • I saw an interview recently with Timothy Ferris and someone asked him this same question. He said it depends on your goals. If you want to work out first thing in the morning and your goal is fat loss, don’t worry about eating anything beforehand or maybe just some coffee.
      Overall, if you are working out first thing in the morning he said it’s fine to wait to eat until after you are finished.

      Tina wrote on July 13th, 2011
  16. Thanks, for yet again, keeping it easy to read, understand straight to the point.
    Signed,
    A recovering stumbler.

    Pamela wrote on July 13th, 2011
  17. I’m glad you wrote this article. I’ve always struggled with the “eating breakfast rule”. I’ve always just encouraged my patients to eat only when they are hungry. However, lately I have been starting my day with a protein drink and have noticed I have more energy and eat smaller dinner meals.

    Melissa Harlow wrote on July 13th, 2011
  18. I had a friend asking me just yesterday about whether he should eat breakfast or not when he isn’t hungry. He was actually convinced so much by the media that he started eating it even though he wasn’t hungry. Now I can point him here!

    Peter@themensdomain wrote on July 13th, 2011
  19. I never eat breakfast until I have been up for at least a few hours…. I get up at 5am and usually don’t eat until 8am or 9am, I can’t stomach food when I first get up. I can’t go longer than that though and I love my big breakfasts.

    After I eat breakfast I may or may not eat lunch depending on what is in the fridge and how I feel.. and after dinner I don’t eat again until the next day.

    Mary wrote on July 13th, 2011
  20. I liked this article. I have struggled with the 6 small meals theory for a long time. I never feel full and I’m constantly hungry. By mistake I found out that have I have a big old plate of protein and veggies, I feel full much longer and I can quit obsessing about my next meal. It’s a huge relief, and it works for me.

    Diane Miller wrote on July 13th, 2011
  21. I actually let the hunger pass. Being pretty much dialed in otherwise I find it goes away on its own pretty quickly. With carbs under control I just don’t get that gnawing I’ve got to eat now feeling.

    And being on the midnight shift, breakfast is an odd concept.

    IvyBlue wrote on July 13th, 2011
  22. Great article! But was Mark being sarcastic about anecdotes about people abandoning grazing? I have found the best way to eat healthy is to eat when you’re actually hungry. And to me, eating three substantial meals a day is definitely at cross-purposes to that strategy.

    My eating strategy can be summarized thus:
    1) only eat when you’re hungry
    2) eat significantly less food than what you are (traditionally) accustomed to.
    3) get A LOT of exercise

    With 3) being the most important. I have a friend who bikes hundreds of miles a week. He could probably eat KFC 3 times a day and be in better shape than most people because his metabolism is like a furnace. He is not skinny. He’s bikes a lot but is not fanatical about nutrition. The dude eats!

    For me, not eating breakfast before work is a recipe for disaster. On the weekends, I eat “breakfast” when I feel hungry.

    Vince N. wrote on July 13th, 2011
  23. I read somewhere (new evolutionary diet) that snacking sends an immediate signal to stop burning fat and look to the new source of energy so rarely snack now, generally only eat twice a day (or once), and have never felt better. weight is coming off effortlessly.

    Travass wrote on July 13th, 2011
  24. I have got to tell you i LOVE BREAKFAST, I LOVE EGGS, bacon, sausage, so I never skip breakfast. However since it is so hot here now in Texas I find I only want about 2 meals a day breakfast and a late lunch. and for ‘Dinner’ i have a little fruit like berries or 2 peaches, an avocado and some raw almonds 2ounces of the almonds and i am satisfied.

    Gayle wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • I love those things too, but you can eat them for any meal of the day, not just breakfast.

      Nomad1 wrote on July 13th, 2011
  25. Breakfast is a pretty recent ‘invention’. People did not have access to a fridge or a stove first thing in the morning until just recent times, or a stuffed pantry.

    I have always rejected the notion of eating when the body is not ready. Has been a personal fight, because when I was a kid and teenager, an early breakfast would leave me nauseaus (still does). Something my parents and teachers would not understand. I was always happiest with a 10 or 11 am breakfast. Same goes for before and after exercise. As a kid that was a nono. These days a few dates serve me well.

    When I am under stress and/or had poor sleep, I turn into a grazer and will eat continously from the time I start, and just never feel sated. Stark contrast to when all is well – two good high protein meals and a snack or two; a snack being a piece of fruit, some nuts or a bit of dark chocolate, will often do. A third meal may not be needed. One of the keys is getting enough protein, wich can be a challenge when meal frequency drops.

    Nowadays most people (western world) don’t even know what actual hunger really feels like any more. When low carbing, the signals for hunger are very clear, and actually easy to deal with for a few hours. When grazing and eating more carbs, urges and cravings take over – very hard to deal with. The body tends to tell when something is off…

    Daniela Huppe

    Daniela Huppe wrote on July 13th, 2011
  26. Great article! Since I started adding in Intermittent Fasts to my week I find I am much more in tune with “am I really hungry? or just bored?” not to mention my energy levels are much more level.

    Nate Alexander wrote on July 13th, 2011
  27. So, I think that “grazing”, eating every 3-4 hours as needed, if needed – with a balanced protein, healthy fats, and low glycemic carbs (fruits and veggies) is what he is talking about vs. grazing for the sake of grazing. Otherwise your blood sugar drops, and body needs fuel. The key is to fuel properly. A snack as he states, with protein can still be called a snack. If you want to define a snack as a mini-meal and not the junk food we tend to associate as “snacks”. Been doing this for 7 years. Lost 65 lbs in most of one year and been maintaining this way ever since. Started exercising and moving only last August – where-in I lost the last 10 of those 65 lbs. And found (was directed to by a paddling buddy) to Mark’s Daily apple only a few weeks ago. Seems to fit (mostly) with what I’ve found and discovered on my owm through research.

    John D. Pilla wrote on July 13th, 2011
  28. After being on paleo for three years I can and usually get by on one large meal a day…I’m never hungry, plus I’m slim, all muscle and 52

    Directm wrote on July 13th, 2011
  29. Thank you so much for writing this, Mark. I’m fifteen years old and I’m currently experimenting with myself to discover my own needs with food and fitness. Your articles are absolutely golden! I have attempted several times to ‘diet’ and ‘lose weight’, but FINALLY I feel like I’m on a steady, manageable track – doing this for the RIGHT reasons. I’d be lost if I never came across your blog. I appreciate everything you do.

    Melle wrote on July 13th, 2011
  30. I feel awesome! I do eat breakfast but sometimes don’t. My husband doesn’t or he will get nauseous in the morning. I find that if I eat like four eggs I can go hours satiated. I am the grazing type but I don’t eat meals really either. It is because of diabetes in my family. I am more concerned with keeping hunger away than being full.But sometimes that belly just needs to be full. I have also found that I gain weight if I eat more that 200 calories at a time of a carbohydrate even if it is fruit.That is what lead me to all of this primal stuff to begin with. To me there is nothing better than a chicken thigh and an orange.

    Ashley wrote on July 13th, 2011
  31. Before going primal, I literally had to have some type of food in my mouth 5 minutes after waking up, I don’t think I had ever skipped breakfast in my whole life. I used to get irritable and dizzy if I didn’t. Since going primal (6 months ago), that has changed. In the past 2 months, I’m hardly ever hungry for breakfast. Usually only about once a week, and if I’m hungry, I eat. The other days I have nothing or water or coffee with cream. I just can’t believe I’m not hungry when I wake up!

    Nicole wrote on July 13th, 2011
  32. Marks’ Post as always covers the current “wisdom” on healthy eating and then breaks it down to useful information.
    Listening to my body, I’ve discovered that fasting 12 hours in every 24 hours works for me. If I eat before that 12 hours, I tend to be more hungry the rest of the day.
    Exercising before I eat first thing in the morning works best for me too. I usually get hungry about 60 minutes after a workout.
    This has worked for me for many years.
    How did I get here?
    Over my life time I’ve either counted calories or overexercised. Most of the time it was successful.
    In 2008 I eliminated all processed foods along with some fruits and high carb vegetables to see if I was intolerant of any foods. This was a 30, 60, 90 day program that presented a challenge for me because I lived on bread, whole grain-no HFC etc- but still bread. I was able to stick to the program until, about 50 days into the program I ate a piece of artisan bread. It tasted like a mouth full of flour, not the tempting bread my eyes said I put in my mouth. What a confirmation of my new eating.
    I’ve stayed on this food plan, tempered it with the Zone diet and now with the PB. I don’t miss bread, but I miss butter.
    That’s when a sweet potato comes in handy.
    Timely sleeping and eating are my main problems.
    Thanks to all who posted reminding to sleep enough and keep stress in check.

    Lifetime Foodie wrote on July 13th, 2011
  33. I remember when ‘fasted labs’ were torture–who could wait until 10am to eat breakfast? I haven’t eaten breakfast for months and I’m not really very hungry at noon when I do eat. Sometimes I wait until supper to eat. Bring on those fasted labs now, doc!

    Tim wrote on July 13th, 2011
  34. I think people are confused by conflicting information, but also try too hard to find ‘the perfect storm’.
    “How will I achieve 6-pack abs in the shortest time possible? give me the ultimate method”.

    As usual, we are lazy by nature and look for the quickest route.

    Clint - Crude Fitness wrote on July 13th, 2011
  35. oops at the end where I stated timely sleeping and eating are my main problems.
    I meant “eating in a timely manner”.
    Working at home gives me flexibility and I’ll get pretty hungry before I go to the kitchen. That’s ok if something is ready to eat but most times it’s not.

    Lifetime Foodie wrote on July 13th, 2011
  36. Great article, definitely been on the 6-meal-a-day plan for a while and I’m gonna try switching it up.

    Do you (or does anyone) have any suggestions or advice when it comes to the post workout meal. Should you eat that even if you’re not hungry?

    Nicky Spur wrote on July 13th, 2011
  37. I kinda liked the idea of the leangains guy. 8 hr feeding window followed by a 16 hr window of fasting. So I typically wake up at 8 am. Prolly grab breakfast around 10 am, lunch around 2 pm, and dinner around 6pm but really have to get in tune for how my body feels with that. Haven’t tried it yet, but it seemed like an interesting philosophy. My I am an athlete so my goal is muscle development. I agree eating 6 meals a day becomes an obsession with food and 3 meals (when naturally hungry) takes care of that problem!

    Tyler wrote on July 13th, 2011
  38. Great article. I started off in January weighing in at 221lb. I love the crossfit life style but I needed a change. I began reading about the Paleolithic style and I changed my diet over to that. It is now July 13th and I weigh 175lbs. About two months ago I started doing intermittent fasting which has worked very well for me and cut down on my body fat tremendously. I have a ton of energy (A LOT more than I used to), and I only have an 8 hour eating window, and then fast the other 16 hours. I will admit switching over to intermittent fasting with Paleo was a little hard at first but my body has grown used to it and now I fast 7 days a week. It is working for me and I feel awesome. Thanks to Guys like Mark and Robb Wolf I believe at 35 I am in the best shape of my life. Keep the great articles coming.

    Jerry wrote on July 13th, 2011
  39. One of the things eating primally has done is free me from the notion I must have breakfast and frequent meals. In general I am not hungry at breakfast time, no one in my family is, and I hate having to have small frequent meals because they leave me feeling unsatisfied. What I really like is two large meals a day, normally around 11am and again at 6.30pm, with a small snack around 4pm. I only get hungry for breakfast if I’ve been doing heavy physical work for a few days previous. Even if I skip dinner the night before, I’m still not hungry until 11am the next day. Now I work from home I’m able to follow my natural food instincts. When I worked in an office I did have a small protein rich breakfast (normally a whey protein shake or a can of sardines) because I only had a short lunch break and it wasn’t until 1pm. Two large meals a day suits me best.

    Louise wrote on July 13th, 2011
  40. Great post today! I never eat before noon, just not hungry, and rarely eat after 9pm. I eat 2 meals a day, both on the big side, four eggs with 4 or 5 peices of uncured bacon and some coconut or almond milk for 1st meal, and a huge peice of meat, pork, beef, or lamb with a decent salad for second meal. I don’t even think in terms of breakfast lunch or dinner anymore!

    Daniel Schlittler wrote on July 13th, 2011

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