7

votes

How many times a day do you eat?!

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 21, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Some days, I eat once a day, sometimes I eat six..the last 5 days, its been more like 4/5/6. I feel like this is going to eventually takes a toll (weight gain) as I've read that most Paleo followers MAYBE eat twice a day. How many times a day (or a week?) do you eat?!

90f66d30d977b07694403b469b3f85c5

on March 12, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Nothing wrong with eating frequently, but I like to eat a big, high-fat breakfast mid-morning. That keeps me going all day until dinner time.

Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on March 12, 2012
at 10:23 AM

Exactly what I was going to say :)

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 12, 2012
at 04:28 AM

+1. Often, I'm not hungry in the AM, so I wait til I feel actual hunger before I eat. Then I eat til I'm full, and don't eat again til I'm hungry. I almost always eat something at dinner time with my family, that's the only constant.

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on November 21, 2011
at 11:25 PM

Hi, thanks for the welcome! As someone who was always hungry for a while, mostly because I was a dieting vegetarian (= recipe for obvious disaster) and whacked out my whole body, I definitely understand the benefits of not being hungry all the time.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 21, 2011
at 11:22 PM

lol what ? I thought we had all moved past that idea.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 21, 2011
at 11:09 PM

I will borrow both of your "Rite of Passage" comment and make it my own with my clients. And welcome to the site by the way. I must admit that I fall into the two meal a day camp and REJOICE every minute that I"m not hungry.I never forget the previous thiry years of six to seven feeding per day and constant hunger. However,while I do belive that lack of hunger is the North Star around which all of Paleo revolves, there is nothing talismatic about the two meal "fetish" which is getting etched deeper and deeper into Paleo "Lore" if not Paleo "Law"

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on November 21, 2011
at 10:13 PM

Nothing! You are not doing anything wrong. As mentioned there seems to be a huge bias re: meal frequency. Just listen to your body and eat when hungry. If you desire to eat fewer meals then try eating more food or more of something at your meals and see if anything changes.

7c2a558ab6fed8f886120f7763b67ad4

(45)

on November 21, 2011
at 09:56 PM

Purely n=1 plus stories I have read online, but I think a lot of it is personality. I am not disciplined when I am not following a protocol, so 3 meals a day and no separate snacks has worked great for me. I make sure breakfast is 30-60g of protein cooked in plenty of coconut oil or pasture butter and typically <15g of carb.

030167d1516b20d4a79f326dded608b0

on November 21, 2011
at 08:57 PM

Same here, I usually eat two big meals between noon and 8pm

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 21, 2011
at 06:18 PM

this is a good advice. some days I'm just less hungry than others and eating a lot is just uncomfortable.

D89511137c1849427593b3ef172578cb

(395)

on November 21, 2011
at 06:12 PM

Nothing... do what works for you. Don't expect you need to follow other people's paths. For example, I don't work well with only 2 meals a day, no matter how big or small they are. 3 meals is my sweet spot, maybe even a 4th meal if necessary.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 21, 2011
at 06:00 PM

Yeah its kinda funny. The whole time I was skipping breakfast I thought I was screwing up. Turns out people were "working" to do this 8hr window thing and even named it! LOL. Its cool either way in my book.

D89511137c1849427593b3ef172578cb

(395)

on November 21, 2011
at 05:04 PM

Absolutely agree... there is a huge fad on IF lately and people desperately want to make it work for them. People should get some research done on the cortisol and possible sleep problems a chronic IF may induce on them (it did on me). This is not something to play around with. Sure, you like IF so much because it "simulates" what our ancestors did... but who said they did it every single day, looked at the watch and 'hey, it's my eating window'. I wish I could go back and warned myself 'dude, this does not work with you, stop it before you wreck yourself' [and i did].

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 21, 2011
at 04:51 PM

Agreed. Most often this means eating twice daily, but sometimes satiation is elusive.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:52 PM

this ^

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:30 PM

Try eating a big breakfast with no carbs. Should get you to lunch without snacking... For instance eggs and butter.

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29 Answers

11
Eedf46c82d0356d1d46dda5f9782ef36

(4464)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:25 PM

I tend to eat as often as I'm hungry, and as much as is needed to not be hungry anymore. Sometimes that's many times a day, sometimes it's just once or twice in a day.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 21, 2011
at 04:51 PM

Agreed. Most often this means eating twice daily, but sometimes satiation is elusive.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:52 PM

this ^

Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on March 12, 2012
at 10:23 AM

Exactly what I was going to say :)

0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on March 12, 2012
at 04:28 AM

+1. Often, I'm not hungry in the AM, so I wait til I feel actual hunger before I eat. Then I eat til I'm full, and don't eat again til I'm hungry. I almost always eat something at dinner time with my family, that's the only constant.

5
724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

on November 21, 2011
at 09:46 PM

I think people tend to like bragging about how few meals they eat a day and how paleo makes them not as hungry. This isn't a bad thing. For someone who's always been hungry, suddenly being less hungry and having to spend less time thinking about food is great. So, for those of you for whom that's true, brag away!

But it's not a rite of passage, I don't think, and not doing it doesn't mean anything. How often I eat is determined almost exclusively by what I eat and in what quantities. Some days I have steak for breakfast and I'm not hungry again for like 12 hours. Some days I have a couple of eggs for breakfast, and I'm hungry again in a few hours and eat something else. I don't think one of those is necessarily better than another. I get the whole leptin reset idea, but for those of us who aren't following it and don't feel we need to, I don't think it much matters. Same goes for IF. Some people it works for them, but I don't think you have to do it to be healthy and lose weight (and for some people it backfires).

It only becomes a problem if it becomes a problem, you know? If it results in you eating way too much or way too little over all, then you're not eating foods that work for you in quantities that work for you. If it results in you obsessing about food all day, same same. But counting meals isn't a measure of anything in itself.

724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

(1968)

on November 21, 2011
at 11:25 PM

Hi, thanks for the welcome! As someone who was always hungry for a while, mostly because I was a dieting vegetarian (= recipe for obvious disaster) and whacked out my whole body, I definitely understand the benefits of not being hungry all the time.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 21, 2011
at 11:09 PM

I will borrow both of your "Rite of Passage" comment and make it my own with my clients. And welcome to the site by the way. I must admit that I fall into the two meal a day camp and REJOICE every minute that I"m not hungry.I never forget the previous thiry years of six to seven feeding per day and constant hunger. However,while I do belive that lack of hunger is the North Star around which all of Paleo revolves, there is nothing talismatic about the two meal "fetish" which is getting etched deeper and deeper into Paleo "Lore" if not Paleo "Law"

4
7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:50 PM

I eat two meals per day, breakfast and dinner (early, around 4:30-5:30). My breakfast is usually hardy and filling enough that the thought of another meal in between is inconceivable. I do sometimes have some dark chocolate with tea as a snack in the middle of the day, but that's it. Also, for me personally, incorporating more carbohydrates (in the form of winter squashes, sweet potatoes, starchier vegetables) have actually helped me to lean out even further contrary to the low-carb mentality. Not that I need to lean out at all, but I've noticed that my body thrives on good "safe" carbohydrates, high quality grass-fed protein, vegetables, and good fats. My legs look remarkably leaner and more toned ever since I tweaked my diet to introduce more quality starches. Shows how our systems handle things so differently.

3
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on November 21, 2011
at 10:18 PM

I don't think there is any standard for quantity of meals. As some have mentioned it may be once a day but that is in no way superior (or inferior) to eating 5 or 6 times a day. Do what feels right and makes you feel good. Play around with it. Just listen to your body.

I also vary my meals from 2 to 6 a day depending. Sometimes I just feel really "snacky" and eat several small meals in the day. Some days I eat lunch and dinner and that's it. I don't worry about it. I don't even think about it actually. I just accept it as part of listening to my own body and giving it what it seems to want on any given day.

There are enough things to "stress" over with regard to eating a paleo diet. I don't think how many meals you eat in a day should be one of them.

3
D89511137c1849427593b3ef172578cb

(395)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:50 PM

3 meals a day... at least.

Anything less than 3 meals induces binges and paranoia about food, to me, at least... like some of us wouldn't have enough problems being orthorexic enough.

2
Medium avatar

(294)

on March 12, 2012
at 09:18 AM

Either two of three: breakfast (not everyday, it depends), lunch (at noon) and dinner (at seven-thirty). I never eat between meals, never have a snack (we live in France, where snack is only for children).

2
7d01d86c539003eed77cf901bf037412

(1076)

on March 12, 2012
at 08:12 AM

I eat two or three times a day. Sometimes I eat my first meal as early as 10:30 am (I'll get a skewer of picanha from the Brazilian guys down at the market on a Sunday morning) or as late as 1 pm (I've been at work all morning sitting in meetings doing nothing). I usually eat my last meal between 8 and 9 pm. If there's food around and I'm hungry at 4pm, I'll eat, or not.

I think the "never feel hungry" thing is kinda overstated. I definitely do feel hungry sometimes, some days. It just doesn't bother me, that's all. I wait, and the feeling passes, and then I feel fine. I know I'm not going to starve. On the other hand, back in the day, I could get into a state where I HAD to eat and I would get crabby and light headed and anxious if I couldn't eat on time. That doesn't happen any more now that my diet has more protein and fat in it.

2
13a44ea00b0c9af0b6d0f3d5f5c2cfca

(7223)

on November 21, 2011
at 04:01 PM

I always eat three meals a day. I have a snack if I need one, but since increasing the fat in my diet that doesn't happen very often (maybe a couple of times a month--and usually because I didn't eat enough for lunch).

I know IF is very popular right now in the paleo community and lots of people report success skipping meals, but I just don't think that is necessary or even advisable for everyone.

Listen to your body.

D89511137c1849427593b3ef172578cb

(395)

on November 21, 2011
at 05:04 PM

Absolutely agree... there is a huge fad on IF lately and people desperately want to make it work for them. People should get some research done on the cortisol and possible sleep problems a chronic IF may induce on them (it did on me). This is not something to play around with. Sure, you like IF so much because it "simulates" what our ancestors did... but who said they did it every single day, looked at the watch and 'hey, it's my eating window'. I wish I could go back and warned myself 'dude, this does not work with you, stop it before you wreck yourself' [and i did].

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 21, 2011
at 06:00 PM

Yeah its kinda funny. The whole time I was skipping breakfast I thought I was screwing up. Turns out people were "working" to do this 8hr window thing and even named it! LOL. Its cool either way in my book.

2
Cd2d1fcf77345c9b2889ab56ecf5c842

(250)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:38 PM

I tend to eat 2 meals per day, sometimes only one meal with maybe a small snack later like a slice of cheese or an avocado or something. I've been eating this way for close to a year, and was low carb before that. So I really don't get hungry the way I used too, with the growling in my stomach, the low blood sugar and shakiness, etc. I find I only need to eat 2 times a day generally. I tried eating once a day (two meals in one sitting basically) and I just had a hard time eating that much at once, yuck. So I've gone back to 2 meals most days. I don't eat in the late evening at all; normally my last meal is around 4 or 5pm.

2
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:19 PM

I eat my three meals a days. Normally they're pretty huge, so I don't feel hungry until it's time for the next meal. BUT, I also don't eat unless I'm hungry. Normally I eat at 6 am, 12 pm, and 7 pm, with a WOD between 12 and 7.

1
2dbe479bc49d525c1167ff5017be38e5

on March 12, 2012
at 04:25 AM

Oh thank Bob! I thought I was going nutty. I only feel like two meals most days, and add a snack, or a third meal if needed.

So different from when I was starving on 6 snacks a day.

1
E167c0387a5f0b87bb1f2c3e6aec73a8

(1240)

on November 21, 2011
at 09:14 PM

how-many-times-a-day-do-you-eat?!

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 21, 2011
at 05:57 PM

2x Most days....I eat 1x/day or 3x/day very infrequently, but I do live by eat when your hungry stop when your not.

1
7e1d5c723b68d0c221c3cd66309c0fbc

on November 21, 2011
at 05:48 PM

How can everyone only be eating 1-2 times a day? I have a hard time eating only 4 times a day. What am I doing wrong?

D89511137c1849427593b3ef172578cb

(395)

on November 21, 2011
at 06:12 PM

Nothing... do what works for you. Don't expect you need to follow other people's paths. For example, I don't work well with only 2 meals a day, no matter how big or small they are. 3 meals is my sweet spot, maybe even a 4th meal if necessary.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on November 21, 2011
at 10:13 PM

Nothing! You are not doing anything wrong. As mentioned there seems to be a huge bias re: meal frequency. Just listen to your body and eat when hungry. If you desire to eat fewer meals then try eating more food or more of something at your meals and see if anything changes.

90f66d30d977b07694403b469b3f85c5

on March 12, 2012
at 06:34 PM

Nothing wrong with eating frequently, but I like to eat a big, high-fat breakfast mid-morning. That keeps me going all day until dinner time.

1
5c8139d7937126906bd9133bb6e10315

on November 21, 2011
at 04:02 PM

I'd say that eating a little more some days and less other days is actually the natural way to go. You could try eating 3 meals a day during the week (and I agree that too much carbs with breakfast will lead to mid-morning hunger) then on the weekends, eat as much as you like. This keeps leptin at healthy levels.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on November 21, 2011
at 06:18 PM

this is a good advice. some days I'm just less hungry than others and eating a lot is just uncomfortable.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:29 PM

I eat 2-3 times a day. ALways breakfast and dinner sometimes lunch.

1
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on November 21, 2011
at 03:11 PM

I eat only lunch and dinner www.leangains.com style. My meals take a long time to eat though.

I think for me just eating two meals vs a larger amount is more for regulating blood sugar and minimizing the amounts of times I do bored eating. When I was a kid and home alone if I was bored I'd eat a bagel. Kids get bored easy so that didn't work too well for me.

030167d1516b20d4a79f326dded608b0

on November 21, 2011
at 08:57 PM

Same here, I usually eat two big meals between noon and 8pm

0
8c23599ac1baafa47710d37004fd9e2a

on June 28, 2013
at 06:48 PM

I eat about 2x a day.

Around 11am/12 i will have an omelett with avocado, onion, and salsa.

Then usually have dinner when I return from work around 7:30pm. This usually consists of a piece of tilapia and a sweet potatoe or grilled chicken and veggies or a salad with fresh lemon and olive oil.

I worry that my body will become use to not eating much and the weight loss will come to a hault. I am on day 19 of paleo and have lost 10lbs. I would still like to lose more weight. Any suggestions?

0
B30f74b64586d70469c52fc7e8198208

on March 13, 2012
at 11:44 AM

I have 1 meal/day and 1-2 fasting days/week. Cycles of Feast+Rest alternated with Famine+Activity works for me to keep the neuropathy and Diabetes II in control since 2005. No med's no supplements, physical activity and a largely plant based diet.

http://jap.physiology.org/content/96/1/3.long

J Appl Physiol. 2004 Jan;96(1):3-10. Eating, exercise, and "thrifty" genotypes: connecting the dots toward an evolutionary understanding of modern chronic diseases.

Survival of Homo sapiens during evolution was dependent on the procurement of food, which in turn was dependent on physical activity. However, food supply was never consistent. Thus it is contended that the ancient hunter-gatherer had cycles of feast and famine, punctuated with obligate periods of physical activity and rest. Hence, gene selection in the Late-Paleolithic era was probably influenced by physical activity and rest. To ensure survival during periods of famine, certain genes evolved to regulate efficient intake and utilization of fuel stores. Such genes were termed "thrifty genes" in 1962. Furthermore, convincing evidence shows that this ancient genome has remained essentially unchanged over the past 10,000 years and certainly not changed in the past 40-100 years. Although the absolute caloric intake of modern-day humans is likely lower compared with our hunter-gatherer ancestors, it is nevertheless in positive caloric balance in the majority of the US adult population mainly due to the increased sedentary lifestyle in present society. We contend that the combination of continuous food abundance and physical inactivity eliminates the evolutionarily programmed biochemical cycles emanating from feast-famine and physical activity-rest cycles, which in turn abrogates the cycling of certain metabolic processes, ultimately resulting in metabolic derangements such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. In this context, we postulate that perhaps a crucial mechanism to break the stall of the metabolic processes would be via exercise through the regulation of "physical activity genes," some of which may also be potential candidates for the "thrifty genes" of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Therefore, the identification of such "thrifty gene" candidates would help provide insight into the pathogenetic processes of the numerous physical inactivity-mediated disorders. PMID: 14660491

0
A2b9075bd176ca2912743e4df1e4af49

(146)

on March 13, 2012
at 06:51 AM

about 2 1/2 meals a day

I eat a late breakfast cause I usually don't get hungry till i've been up a couple of ours. if i have a work out mid day i'll have a protein carb lunch. and dinner is all out.. throughout the day i may have some fruit/nuts or nibble on some left overs

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on March 13, 2012
at 06:02 AM

Very occasionally I will only eat two big meals, but I'm skinny and want to gain weight. So I have nothing against snacking; or eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus snacks.

0
Ec6e6cb0bee067776433dea987d6c844

on March 12, 2012
at 09:35 PM

My depends on training and fasting. So between 0-5 meals a day, but most commonly 2-3 meals. If I have just done my volume or intensity workout(I'm transitioning from Texas Method to a version of Rip's advanced template), I'll eat a fair amount several times a day. If I IF, obviously I don't eat until I break the fast, and I tend to eat less the next day, and often the day after. (For reference, I'm healthy, and not trying to drop significant weight. I'm very slowly leaning out without adding muscle.)

0
9a86fa04b1a69b788e379093c7b83ef5

(402)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:28 PM

2 big meals a day. I usually break my fast around 12-2ish and eat my first meal. If I need a snack or something through out the day I might grab a banana, or a have a handful of nuts. Around 7-8 I make another large feast, dig in, and call it a night....unless a couple squares of lindt dark chocolate are calling my name :)

0
1296f5fecd084f101d7c5fbe013f07eb

(1213)

on March 12, 2012
at 06:17 PM

I definitely eat 4, 5, 6 - or more - times per day. Somedays I eat a big breakfast, then only have a small snack over a period of seven hours, followed by a biggish meal, then a couple of smaller snacky meals and a snack before bed. Other days I have a medium sized breakfast, lunch, and dinner, usually with snacks in between lunch and dinner, and after dinner. Very variable. I have been Paleo three weeks (I have done variations of cyclical low-carb diets, but have been somewhat SAD for several months). I have not gained weight at all, actually lost a couple and look way tighter...stomach fat seems to be on the decline, also. I wasn't really planning on weight loss, but the body comp changes have been a welcome surprise. Anyway, I would not enjoy eating only twice a day!

0
5f6acaa2591c41cc091fffd6e453c518

on March 12, 2012
at 09:38 AM

In general I eat three meals a day. I'm not following conventional wisdom but this is what I naturally do. If , lets say I go to a bbq at lunch and eat past satisfaction of being full, then I naturally skip the next meal or eat much smaller.

0
01adafcb4dd4147c6af543f61eee60a8

on March 12, 2012
at 07:50 AM

Once or twice a day I eat,due to being skint and enjoying the now visible abs.

0
40f5714d2a5102aad6e75b5461fae438

on November 21, 2011
at 08:46 PM

you are not eating enough protein for breakfast. i learned that from Jack Kruse 11 days ago. and it was so easy to test. 12 oz of steak as soon as i awoke the next morning. took me an hour to eat it. some fat and some cabbage. and no appetite at all for 8 hrs.

0
Cb47ec28052ec0304fd1489a41b8035e

on November 21, 2011
at 04:30 PM

In a day,I usually eat 4 or 5 times.i take some snacks when i feel relaxed between off hours in work. This varies in the weekend.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 21, 2011
at 04:38 PM

Well, I usually eat six times a day. The art of eating is to eat small amount but in a regualr interval. That helps to maintain a healthy and fit body.

5ef574d7893bc816ec52e04139e9bc09

(6097)

on November 21, 2011
at 11:22 PM

lol what ? I thought we had all moved past that idea.

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