0

votes

Portion Sizes/Frequency of Eating

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 26, 2013 at 5:14 PM

I have been Paleo for awhile. The past two months I've slipped up A LOT. I am trying to pull in the reigns again but feel I've lost my bearings. I am a female and I want to maintain my current weight (although I wouldn't hate dropping a few haha).

SO do I eat three big meals a day? Do I eat two big meals a day with two small snacks? How do i approach this? I feel like I have no portion control and will eat and eat and eat.

For example. Today's breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs and a cup of coffee - not overly stuffed but hungry about 2.5-3 hours later. today's lunch: two chicken legs, 1.3 cups leafy greens with cucumber and beets. A small handful of fruit and 2 small slices of potato. I am STUFFED. Is this bad? Did I eat too much? My job is at a desk all day. I dont want to overeat for the lack of movement. Anyway,you get the idea. HELP :)

50a12c595436b7620224676a2ae4acb9

(128)

on June 27, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Hi ivy thank's very much! I like what you noted in your comment about what's considered an acceptable portion of food. It's a ridiculous thing to judge and measure since everyones' different. Plus some of us girls can eat a lot!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 27, 2013
at 12:06 AM

I like your point very much @Micaela - thank you for your thoughtful answer

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 27, 2013
at 12:02 AM

Of course! Here's to your power!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 27, 2013
at 12:01 AM

Yes @Nvor, we do agree! :)

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on June 26, 2013
at 11:54 PM

you hardly ate anything at all today so I wouldn't stress about eating too much.

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on June 26, 2013
at 07:34 PM

That's why I added the qualifier "For the most part...". Really we are agreeing that the notion of a "one size fits all" meal frequency approach just does not hold water. We are both saying "do what works for you - there are no hard rules except the ones you and your body makes".

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on June 26, 2013
at 07:33 PM

That's why I added the qualifier "For the most part...". Really we are agreeing that the notion of a "one size fits all" meal frequency approach just does not hold water. We are both saying "do what works for you - there are no hard rules expect the ones you and your body makes".

50a12c595436b7620224676a2ae4acb9

(128)

on June 26, 2013
at 07:12 PM

Ha twins!How old are you? 23 by chance?? I also weigh about 130 and am active but my BF % is somewhere around 18%. What sort of exercise do you do? You said "my body is acceptable, but not ideal" I understand this mentality, I really do and I struggle too and it's a long story lol. Anyway, about the hunger. Yep, practice makes perfect. Have you tried putting the fork down between bites and counting to 10 or 15 (harder than it seems) and do you drink water with your meals? Water will help you feel full as well. This whole board is about "tinkering"! And what works for you may chance over time

409aa63ee05db59f5a4a782acbb7f500

on June 26, 2013
at 07:00 PM

thanks for the advice! this was very helpful!

409aa63ee05db59f5a4a782acbb7f500

on June 26, 2013
at 06:53 PM

may be one of the things that takes so tinkering with.. sigh! :)

409aa63ee05db59f5a4a782acbb7f500

on June 26, 2013
at 06:53 PM

I'm a 5'5 girl as well. I weigh about 130, fairly active. My body is acceptable, but not ideal. I checked about 3 months ago and had 22% BF. I would like to get away from the scale and focus on the way clothes fit. This is tough for me... Now dealing with hunger. I guess it will take some practice. About an hour after I begin feeling hungry, I feel like I'm starving so I tend to overeat. Then eat so quickly that I feel like maybe my body doesn't have time "to tell me" I'm full until its too late and I've scarfed down my entire plate. I tend to like answers immediately, but i guess this may be

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 26, 2013
at 06:28 PM

Sorry - bodies are different. MY body gives a damn about frequency and I don't train. I need frequent meals or my gallbladder will get overloaded trying to aid in the digestion of fats. Some diabetics use meal frequency to provide a more consistent flow of insulin, rather than the spikes that come with infrequent meals. To me, the most important thing about "paleo" eating is that at its core it tends to reject dogma in favor of n=1 empirical evidence.

409aa63ee05db59f5a4a782acbb7f500

on June 26, 2013
at 06:03 PM

Thanks! Now I just need to learn more on macronutrients and ratios!

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

7 Answers

1
50a12c595436b7620224676a2ae4acb9

(128)

on June 26, 2013
at 06:40 PM

Meal frequency I think is a largely personal thing. I myself eat three times a day but I wouldn't say these are HUGE meals. They're relative to my size: I'm 5'5 girl at a normal, healthy weight. The reason why I'm not a fan of snacking, eating every three hours or "mini meals" (and I think most people here would agree) is because it never teaches the body to be hungry and deal with hunger. Lets face it, there are times when you are going to be hungry and you forgot your "cooler of Clean Food".

Hunger, I think, is not something to be afraid of, or to quell at the first, faint pangs. I tend to not take my first bite until I truly feel in the hunger IN my stomach. And because I don't snack, I do feel hungry, often at least an hour or so before I pick up the fork. But again, it's a natural signal from my body telling me I'm low on fuel and should probably start thinking about what to prepare.

Portion sizes I think are a little different. The food scale suggestion is great, but there are lots of ways to "eyeball it". The palm of your hand, or a checkbook, is a serving of protein etc. You can do a google image search for more examples. But portions also depend on if you're male, female, trying to loose weight, maintain etc. So overall goals are very important.

50a12c595436b7620224676a2ae4acb9

(128)

on June 26, 2013
at 07:12 PM

Ha twins!How old are you? 23 by chance?? I also weigh about 130 and am active but my BF % is somewhere around 18%. What sort of exercise do you do? You said "my body is acceptable, but not ideal" I understand this mentality, I really do and I struggle too and it's a long story lol. Anyway, about the hunger. Yep, practice makes perfect. Have you tried putting the fork down between bites and counting to 10 or 15 (harder than it seems) and do you drink water with your meals? Water will help you feel full as well. This whole board is about "tinkering"! And what works for you may chance over time

409aa63ee05db59f5a4a782acbb7f500

on June 26, 2013
at 06:53 PM

I'm a 5'5 girl as well. I weigh about 130, fairly active. My body is acceptable, but not ideal. I checked about 3 months ago and had 22% BF. I would like to get away from the scale and focus on the way clothes fit. This is tough for me... Now dealing with hunger. I guess it will take some practice. About an hour after I begin feeling hungry, I feel like I'm starving so I tend to overeat. Then eat so quickly that I feel like maybe my body doesn't have time "to tell me" I'm full until its too late and I've scarfed down my entire plate. I tend to like answers immediately, but i guess this may be

409aa63ee05db59f5a4a782acbb7f500

on June 26, 2013
at 06:53 PM

may be one of the things that takes so tinkering with.. sigh! :)

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 27, 2013
at 12:06 AM

I like your point very much @Micaela - thank you for your thoughtful answer

50a12c595436b7620224676a2ae4acb9

(128)

on June 27, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Hi ivy thank's very much! I like what you noted in your comment about what's considered an acceptable portion of food. It's a ridiculous thing to judge and measure since everyones' different. Plus some of us girls can eat a lot!

1
3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on June 26, 2013
at 05:48 PM

Paleo in general doesn't really buy into the meal frequency bullshit that has plagued popular dieting over the past several decades. That meal frequency advocacy was largely due to a gross misunderstanding on how the thermic effect of food works.

Instead you simply follow your body (and your diet plan). Not hungry in the morning? Don't eat breakfast - all those slogans about breakfast from the cereal companies can just deal with it. Hungry at 2:45pm and want to eat your "dinner"? Go nuts, if you can schedule it. Want to eat every single calorie you will eat that day in one sitting? Have at it, champ (as long as you CAN do this, it is somewhat physically difficult to do and many that try tend to shortchange themselves).

For the most part your body does not give a damn about frequency. This excludes folks who train and are timing their nutrition as a part of their workouts (there are some neat tricks that can be done here, but can be safely ignored if you're not looking to do intense workouts). It also excludes extended fasts (your body will start to care if you don't eat for 3-4+ days). Beyond those scenarios just calculate your daily calories, your macronutrient ratios and your micronutrient needs. Say, "this is the pile of food I will eat today to meet that calculation". And then you eat that pile of food throughout the day in any way you see fit.

409aa63ee05db59f5a4a782acbb7f500

on June 26, 2013
at 06:03 PM

Thanks! Now I just need to learn more on macronutrients and ratios!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 26, 2013
at 06:28 PM

Sorry - bodies are different. MY body gives a damn about frequency and I don't train. I need frequent meals or my gallbladder will get overloaded trying to aid in the digestion of fats. Some diabetics use meal frequency to provide a more consistent flow of insulin, rather than the spikes that come with infrequent meals. To me, the most important thing about "paleo" eating is that at its core it tends to reject dogma in favor of n=1 empirical evidence.

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on June 26, 2013
at 07:34 PM

That's why I added the qualifier "For the most part...". Really we are agreeing that the notion of a "one size fits all" meal frequency approach just does not hold water. We are both saying "do what works for you - there are no hard rules except the ones you and your body makes".

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on June 26, 2013
at 07:33 PM

That's why I added the qualifier "For the most part...". Really we are agreeing that the notion of a "one size fits all" meal frequency approach just does not hold water. We are both saying "do what works for you - there are no hard rules expect the ones you and your body makes".

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 27, 2013
at 12:01 AM

Yes @Nvor, we do agree! :)

0
305f8c488ce4cc1b43bd1cad492af61d

on October 02, 2013
at 03:46 AM

I found the portion sizes rather confusing too. It seemed too easy, if that makes any sense. Eating paleo is delicious when you're creative. I would try looking up paleo recipes. I have found that I slip up, when I'm bored, so make cooking fun, get excited about mixing up new recipes. If you hate cooking like I do, it takes some getting used too! My day consists of a smoothie in the morning with protein powder, fruits, ripe banana to sweeten, a handful of kale, coconut milk, and yogurt(Which isn't really paleo, but you are allowed some dairy treats). My lunch is a small plate of avocado, a boiled egg or two, fresh tomato, and maybe some sardines. For dinner, I do a palm size of any protein I feel like eating and lots of sauteed veggies or roasted carrots or root veggies. One side I have fallen in love with is mashed sweet potato and avocado with sea salt and garlic! I've only been doing this for two weeks with some slip ups of my own, but I feel so much better. I think the key is not getting too hungry. Try snacking on nuts. I'm allergic to almonds, but I hear they give a great energy boost.

Also try taking a look at this webpage about portion sizes.

http://thepaleomama.com/2012/09/paleo-portion-sizes/

Good Luck!

0
F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986

(11698)

on June 26, 2013
at 11:51 PM

That lunch would leave me feeling pretty full too. Also some of those foods have FODMAPS in them so might be a bit of a bloat factor as well. But I think you need to figure out what works for you. If you're full and sated, great. If you're full and uncomfortable, then change what you're doing.

In terms of weight loss, Paleo dietician Amy Kubul just posted a study on her facebook which found that "6 small meals a day" had no advantage over a couple of bigger meals:
http://washpost.bloomberg.com/Story?docId=1376-MOUOXU6K50XT01-69LDUDMVCJ28EL2DVLV6V0T8IK

0
618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 26, 2013
at 06:50 PM

I'm wondering why you feel you are eating too much - your breakfast and lunch sound totally reasonable (I'm assuming dinner is similar to lunch?). You might be basing your thoughts on how much you should eat on other diets you've been on - it would be great if you could figure out what is the best volume of food for you without judging it by what others think or say. Your body will tell you what is optimal for you if you listen.

If you aren't focused on losing weight, this may be a good time for you to listen to your body's hunger and satiety signals without trying to adjust them. Just observe for a couple of weeks and see how your weight and sense of all-around well-being responds. The stress of trying to get it "right" might give you cortisol issues (I don't know if you are FREAKING OUT - probably not, you sound reasonable, if a little concerned) and in general, it is good to address diet issues without too much stress. Eat until you are satisfied and see how you feel. See how the scale responds. Maybe you can comfortably eat more than you think you can eat!

It's all about you. That's a really good thing! Good luck!

618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 27, 2013
at 12:02 AM

Of course! Here's to your power!

409aa63ee05db59f5a4a782acbb7f500

on June 26, 2013
at 07:00 PM

thanks for the advice! this was very helpful!

0
Ea1ab0d2362e8393d5f864dae0fc0f0c

on June 26, 2013
at 06:05 PM

As Nvor said try to get in touch with your body and listen to the signals and eat accordingly.

What I've worked out for myself is two meals a day. I get up around 6-7A go to the gym for a few hours in a "fasted" state* then come home and have a big meal that includes a bit of sweet potato or basmati rice (I'm normally very low carb; other meals, non workout days etc.).

Work is from noon to ~8:30 and if I need a snack I'll have like 8 almonds or some high quality cheese (a few ounces) (not paleo but I refuse to give up gourmet cheeses).

I usually get hungry and eat again around 7-9P (no carbs other than vegetables) then go to bed around 9-10P. I have a shot of liquor or 4oz of wine that helps me get to sleep.

This is what I've worked out for myself and it's been fantastic but many people can't or don't want to eat that late. I guess just experiment and don't put too much stake in what anyone says including paleo experts. No disrespect intended it's just we're all different and have to do a lot of self experimentation.

  • My "fasted" workouts are great, as good as they've ever been. I put fasted it quotes because there's debate about true fasted state ... I don't care personally but working out before any significant calories (a bit of almond milk in my coffee) works for me. Yeah, I'm pretty "jack paleo" but I'm happy with it.

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on June 26, 2013
at 06:01 PM

Maybe just one chicken leg next time?

Don't eat when you are not hungry- this goes for breakfast too. Skip it if you aren't hungry.

If you just keep having a massive problem with portion sizes, get a kitchen scale and weigh stuff out. I used to weigh out four ounces of meat. I'd do the vegetables that way too, assuming they were the sort of vegetables that actually had any calories in them. It is pointless to weigh spinach.

I would weigh the food, eat the food, and then check the time. My deal with myself was that if I still felt hungry twenty minutes later, I would eat some more. Most of the time, hunger would disappear in twenty minutes.

In your case, you probably want to give yourself more food the first time around. I was trying to break the speed record for weight loss, whereas you are simply trying to re-calibrate your portion sizes. Check your calories and make sure you are getting maintenance level. People get really weird with weighing food and dieting, so it would be a good idea not to be in a calorie deficit when you do it. You don't want to train yourself to eat less than you need.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!