I’ve been actively controlling my weight for over 20 years. It isn’t always the easiest task, as I’m naturally big-boned with an extreme pear-shaped figure. I’ve also suffered with food addiction, a condition that led to my being extremely overweight in the past. But, fortunately, I’ve found great solace in managing my weight and ultimately my health with regular exercise training and sensible eating habits.
Now, when it comes to eating habits, I’ve learned a couple of things about myself over the years:
- I tend to think about eating when I’m bored, stressed or anxious; and
- I prefer to eat a large meal in a single sitting as opposed to eating smaller ones throughout the day.
Taking these factors into account, I’ve constantly sought to find healthy patterns of eating that work for me.
A while back, I stumbled upon a new strategy that led to a 20-pound weight loss that was totally unintentional. Over a course of about two months, I started most days with 12 ounces of coffee and a little half and half at breakfast time (30 calories), followed that up with a serving of Greek-style yogurt with fruit, granola and flaxseed (250 calories) around lunchtime, and closed the day with a large dinner averaging between 700 and 1,000 calories.
This dinner was generally comprised of 5-6 servings of carbohydrates (carbs) in the form of veggies, 2-3 servings of protein in the form of seafood, poultry and/or white cheeses, and 1-2 servings of healthy fats in the form of nuts or seeds, avocado and/or olive oil.
I also occasionally introduced snacks generally comprised of 1-2 servings of fruit (banana, apple, melon, pineapple or grapes) (80-160 calories) and/or 2-3 servings of spinach (80-120 calories) in whole form or juiced.
And, finally I consumed over a gallon of infused water every day.
Now, let me be clear: This was never an attempt to diet.
It was merely a strategy for disassociating myself from the feeling that I always needed to eat something.
I achieved that objective by keeping myself busy so I was never “bored”.
When I did eat, everything (for the most part) was nutrient-dense, containing sizable amounts of high-quality carbs, fats, protein, and key micronutrients. Moreover, 85% of what I ate was prepared by me in my own kitchen.
I should also mention I didn’t miss a beat with my normal daily workout routine, which then consisted of moderate-to-high-intensity weightlifting, distance running, cycling, and stair climbing—All of which represent my means of channeling “stress” and “anxiety”.
Although my food intake was limited during earlier hours of the day, I was perfectly content with those eating habits, as they eliminated the urge to eat out of boredom, stress or anxiety. This eating style also allowed me to eat a large meal every day.
I pledged that if I ever felt any different after a few months (or years), I’d change it up again.
But, that never happened.
It’s been well over 5 years and I never turned back. In fact, I actually adopted an intermittent fasting regimen that confines my daily eating window to a period of just 8 hours (either 12-8pm on weekdays or 2-10pm on weekends).
The moral of the story is this: Never be too rigid when it comes to your personal eating patterns. You can bend the rules that may have been instilled in your head over time (eating 5-6 meals a day, eating breakfast everyday or eating late). Get to know yourself and find out what works best for you.
At the same time, you must make a conscious choice to eat for the purpose of living as opposed to living for the next moment you get to eat.