One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

JOURNAL

How do you define a "Meal"?

28 Comments 1973 views

Question of the week Real quick question tonight. My food journal got me thinking. Yes, my food journal. I know. I’m weird. You don’t need to remind me. :)

Anyway, I had a busy day. Woke up to a few inches of snow, shoveled, ate breakfast with the little guy and then headed to work. After work I had a hair appointment (I went a little red!) then I had to clean up, make lunches, read with the little guy, and ummmm, I don’t know relax and maybe talk to the husband a little bit??

Of course I also have to EAT during the day. Not that I mind or anything. I really like to eat. :)

When I was in my yo-yo dieting phase these busy days would have me skipping breakast and then binging on a big lunch out and an even bigger dinner. I was either starving or stuffed. There was no in between.

My days now are very different. Now, I always eat breakfast. If I don’t have time to sit down I grab a granola bar or a piece of fruit. Lunch is something I packed the night before. But it’s not a typical lunch I eat all at once. It’s a handful of "snacks" that I can eat when I get hungry during the day. Dinner is usually something I whip up (unless we go out), on the lighter side, and then I have a snack or two before bed. Today’s food journal is pretty typical (if not on the low side). . .

Food Units
bowl of grapenuts with blueberries and light choc soy milk 5
leftover curried quinoa stuffed peppers -even better on day two! :) 5
man I love having microwave popcorn at the office. :) 4
an orange 1
granola bar on the way to the salon 4
bowl of soup when I got home 3
quick mexican pizza.. i was hungry! 4
Total: 26

Table provided by Roni’s Food Tweet, Eat, Post Generator. Follow live @RonisFood

My definition of "a meal" has drastically changed since starting this journey. This change didn’t happen over night. It evolved over time much like my overall diet did.

I’m approaching my 4th Anniversary at goal and by eating this way I’m way more satisfied (without being stuffed) have more energy and feel a lot better about myself so I’m not gonna change a thing but I’m wondering, what is your definition of a meal? Do you stick with 3 squares a day? Are you a grazer? What works for you?



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Discussion

There are 28 comments so far.

    Katie Johnson

    February 4, 2010

    A meal…hmm. My habits and tastes are changing as I lose weight. I like something lighter, usually one dish with several things in it, nothing added on the side. I don’t know why. It’s my strangeness lately. Eating a big variety of things at the same meal feels exhausting to my mind.

    3 meals a day and I try to get in snacks like your paper bag microwave popcorn, a piece of fruit, etc. I don’t always though. I prefer to dole stuff out sometimes, throughout the morning hours: a whole wheat muffin, later a cup of yogurt.

    Gab*

    February 4, 2010

    I’m definitely a grazer. I do eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they’re on the small side (especially dinner) and I MUST have a snack between meals. It’s only since I embraced this that I’ve been eating far better.

    Cynthia (It All Changes)

    February 4, 2010

    I used to skip breakfast thinking it was saving me time and calories. Now I can’t function without it. Meals are so different when I’m being healthy.

    All Women Stalker

    February 4, 2010

    I usually work on 2 meals a day. Maybe this is why my metabolism is slow. But it also has to do with the hours I put in at work. It takes so much effort to eat more than 2 meals a day. If I do, I feel awfully stuffed.

    Laura Jane

    February 4, 2010

    That’s an interesting question. Actually, for me, it’s kind of the opposite situation. When I was not eating healthfully and gaining weight, I would snack all of the time. Snacking has always been my big struggle. I would have so many little snacks all throughout the day, often not even eating an official meal, and those calories would just really add up. Although it didn’t feel like I was eating that much because I ate in such tiny portions. So I’m making an effort to eat more of the traditional 3 meals a day with limited snacks.

    WaistingTime

    February 4, 2010

    When I am eating healthy, like I am now, I eat three squares and 3 snacks. I try to have veggies and protein for lunch and dinner. When I did not eat so well, a meal could be junkfood and nothing else!

    Reinaldo

    February 4, 2010

    I do eat 5-6 “meals” a day, that is the 3 meals and 2-3 planned snacks. The big struggle to me is that I see lunch and dinner as the big meals they used to be before, so keeping them in the 300-400 cal is hard.

    Brittany

    February 4, 2010

    Love your blog! <3 I eat a HUGE super healthy breakfast in the morning (I work out in the am), that keeps me until lunch and dinner, which is usually pretty light.

    Lilycurly

    February 4, 2010

    I agree that it’s a much more balanced way to eat little meals. You’re never uncomfortably hungry or full.
    But to the point….
    The hair looks amazing!!! I think also need some red now!

    Lauren @ Eater not a runner

    February 4, 2010

    I eat more, smaller meals now. So I don’t view a meal as a big elaborate thing anymore!

    Rob Dyess

    February 4, 2010

    So much different that it used to be. When I was at my heaviest… I would not think twice about skipping breakfast and then going out for fast food at lunch and then eating everything in sight at night.

    Now… I snack on something healthy between meals… ALWAYS eat breakfast! Usually eat something light at lunch and dinner. It is just a whole new mindset now that I have made a decision to change my life.

    Check out www.weighdownsouth.com!

    Thanks!

    Jeri Lyn

    February 4, 2010

    Hi Roni,

    I am a GRAZER!! That works best for me, because I like to eat. I usually end up eating about 6 small meals a day, except dinner that’s usually my biggest meal. I know sometimes people say thats bad, but thats the only meal I eat with my hubby. So I figure its better to plan on eating a bigger meal @ dinner then to eat a big lunch “saying” your going to eat a small dinner & then end of eating a bigger dinner too!! Do you know what I mean??
    Thanks for all you do.

    nichole

    February 4, 2010

    What types of granola bars are your favorite? I have trouble finding ones that don’t leave me wanting more:).

    roni

    February 4, 2010

    Nichole – I eat the Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey

    There are two in a pack and both total 4 points. I love the texture and they don’t have me craving more right away like the fiber one bars.

    Just my opinion.

    Susan

    February 4, 2010

    I actually learned my strategy from you! I am a grazer by nature, but I always thought that a healthy eating plan for weight loss required me to eat 3 squares and 1-2 small snacks. The result was usually very frustrating – after dinner I’d have eaten all my calories for the day, and I’d want to keep right on snackin’.

    I was browsing through your archives for ideas and inspiration, and I read your posts from a couple of years ago about taking lots of snacks to work and grazing through the day, while making sure to stay inside your allotted points/calories. Now I do that, and it works way better for me.

    Jenn @ Watch My Butt Shrink!

    February 4, 2010

    I’m a “3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks” kind of gal. I like having a substantial meal for Breakfast, lunch and dinner, with smaller snacks in between.
    The snacks are the most important to me in terms of staying on track – I find that when I miss a snack, the next meal can get a bit crazy!

    I have 3 meals a day and generaly 2-3 snacks. I feel like that helps me never get tooo hungry and then I avoid binging. Or at least that’s the plan. :) Sometimes the binging still happens, but these days, I just let it go and move along.

    Michelle

    February 4, 2010

    I eat three meals (about 4-7 points worth each) and about three snacks (0-4 points each) during the day. I get hungry every 2-3 hours, even when eating filling foods and drinking plenty of water. Planning for those snacks and keeping them on hand keeps me from feeling starved or deprived. My most recent realization is that I needed to set aside calories for the late evening when I stomach starts to rumble about an hour before bed.

    Shelley

    February 4, 2010

    Great question! Especially b/c I was thinking about the same thing yesterday looking at my food journal. It has sections for Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, & Dinner, & my eating just doesn’t fit into that mold all the time! I’ll have a “snack” of an apple, & then munch on veggies & hummus while making dinner (but that’s not really part of dinner OR snack) – additionally, last night after dinner I had half a banana w/2 tsp. peanut butter – not part of dinner, & nowhere else to put it!

    As for granola bars, I’m trying to stick to eating “real” food right now, & I’ve discovered Larabars! 4 points for the whole thing, & just a few ingredients, & they’re all “real” food! The only downside is they’re on the small side.

    sarah

    February 4, 2010

    Good question and interesting posts. Personally, I’m a three square kind of gal with one or two snacks thrown in. My biggest meal of the day is usually lunch for some reason I haven’t quite figured out yet. Breakfast is around 4 points, lunch about 7, afternoon snack 2-3, dinner around 6 or 7 and tv snack 1-3 (I love popcorn and 1 pt cookies!).

    Tami @nutmegnotebook.com

    February 4, 2010

    This is a great question. I eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. I eat a small breakfast and then a couple hours later I have a protein and carb snack, lunch, mid afternoon, another healthy snack, dinner and then a snack around 7:00 if I am hungry.

    love2eatinpa

    February 4, 2010

    i’m a grazer for sure! cuz i luv to eat, i eat small mini meals/snacks throughout the day, no more than about two hours apart. i would get a terrible headache and be lightheaded if only had three squares. i would pass out between lunch and dinner. :)

    bridget

    February 4, 2010

    ? what does everyone use as a food journal? I just can’t seem to keep a good one. All my points today were great except for the random archway cookies, which would not have happened if I were really using a food journal.

    Michelle

    February 4, 2010

    Bridget—

    I currently use Weight Watchers eTools, but I’m slowly transitioning over to Fatsecret.com. I’ll be hitting goal in a few months and I don’t want to have to keep an online membership just to use a really good food journal. Fatsecret isn’t as good as eTools, but it’s definitely more user-friendly and functional than other tools I’ve used (dailyplate, fitday, etc). For finding the counts of random food, I typically use dailyplate, as it seems to be the most comprehensive database I’ve found. For journaling, I recommend fatsecret (you can program it to spit out WW points for you!) or WW eTools if you’re a member.

    Rob Dyess

    February 4, 2010

    Nichole… I am with Roni on this one. Nature Valley Oats and Honey (or really any of the flavors are the best ones that I have found. Again… check out my blog at:

    www.weighdownsouth.com

    Thanks!!!

    It’s funny that you write this. My definition of a meal was all screwy too. I started losing weight about two years ago, successfully lost 23 pounds and in July I was blessed with an opportunity at Health Magazine. http://diet.health.com/2009/09/20/help-us-reach-our-feel-great-weight/ Where I was granted another blessing of seeing a nutrionist for 7 months. The food plan was to have 6 meals a day. I’ve read this my entire dieting life but always said 6 meals, crazy… because I was thinking of meals as sandwhiches, pastas, meal meals not snacky meals. I never researched it or looked into further because I didn’t get it – I thought I couldn’t do it. Until I saw the nutrionist, or as I say the Goddess Marissa, because she has enabled me to view food in such a different manner – as fuel and to enjoy, with a purpose, putting good foods in your body instead of crap (although I do have crap too but limited.) Anyhoo, the light bulb went off… oh meals can be a wasa cracker and hummus, or carrots and salsa, not a 6 inch sub. Ya know? So to answer your question after my long A#$ comment, I am a grazer and it’s done wonders for me. 53 pounds and still going strong.

    Kerry

    February 4, 2010

    I do a lot better when I focus on meals which satisfy me; I do not do well with grazing. So if I were to allocate 18 points, it would ideally be 6 for breakfast, 5 for lunch, 1-2 for snack, and 5-6 for dinner. I am eating more than that currently, but the ratio stays about the same.

    leah

    February 5, 2010

    I used to be a grazer and if im not careful i still do. Since healthier eating Izmir my goal, I eat 3 meals and 2 snacks all within my daily points.