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Midday Calorie Loading (MCL) - Review of Day 1

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

For those of you that read my blog yesterday, you'll know that I made my first attempt at midday calorie loading yesterday. Here's the blog that got me thinking:

Now, I'm not the kind of person to just jump on a bandwagon just because I think it might lose me a lot of weight fast. If the ideas in a plan don't click with something in my head, then it's not likely the plan will work for me. It's one of the reasons I can't follow strict menu guidelines - sometimes I don't like all the foods they propose, other times I think, "But what if I'm not in the mood for a hard-boiled egg?" (for the record, I'm rarely ever in the mood for a hard-boiled egg - I hate the texture of the yolk! YUCK!). But while I was reading this blog I kept thinking, "Well, that does make sense."

You see, the plan is simple. Basically, your body doesn't need THAT MUCH to get going in the morning, so you start with a small breakfast. But at lunch, when your metabolism is busy kicking major hiney, you eat a big meal so your body can use that fuel and process it throughout the day. Then at dinner, all you're really going to do is go to bed, so why would you give your body 500+ calories to do something that doesn't require that much energy?

In my head the wheels were turning. First of all, do you all remember that book about why French women don't get fat or something? From my studies of French language and culture, I know that for a long time the French have seen lunch as the most important meal of the day. In the past they shut down offices and schools to allow families to return to their homes and enjoy a nice hearty lunch together before returning back to school or work. It always sounded so lovely to me too. Taking that break midday to really come together as a family. But here in the good 'ole U.S. of A. we've been programmed that you eat light all day and then focus on dinner as the big meal, the family get together. Lunch is generally regarded as lighter, but....WHY? I don't know about any of you, but I fight my "I'm hungry but it's not time to eat" the most during the day. I always attributed it to boredom - I do sit at a desk all day - but maybe it's my body saying, "Okay! I burned all that fuel, now give me more if you want to keep going!" (That's not to say I don't suffer from the evening munchies, but that has less to do with actually feeling HUNGRY, it has to do with tradition and pasttimes of eating in front of the TV.)

What's more, I suffer from a huge lull feeling around 2-3 in the afternoon. There have been times I've simply conked out staring at my computer screen for 2 minutes around 3pm. I never knew why and whatever I tried didn't really work. But maybe, just maybe, my body really does need more fuel midday. One final nail in the coffin, so to speak, is that I rarely feel ravenous after my workout, even though I workout from 7-8 at night. Is my body trying to tell me something? I get a slight hunger, but never anything where I feel the need to pile on a bunch of calories. I can get to bed with something lighter in my tummy, no problem.

So yesterday I put the plan into action. It was actually a horrible day to try to start the plan because I started my day late, around 10:30am or so. Still, it was an interesting experiment, and one I plan to continue today, now that I have more normalcy in my hours.

Around 10:30am I had a half breakfast. 1/2 a whole wheat bagel, with 1 Tbsp. of whipped cream cheese. I also had my usual cup of coffee with cream, and prepared my to-go cup for the drive to work.

I got to work around noon and immediately started munching on my cup of grapes. YUM!

Around 2pm I was feeling hungry, so I ate my lunch, which I usually would have had for dinner. I had a serving of Shane's Slow Cooker Pot Roast with some of my leftover Roasted Veggies.

At 3pm I felt munchy, and hey, I was midday calorie loading so why not give in, right? I munched on some baby carrots with ranch dressing. It wasn't mindless eating, I was actually quite hungry still. (WTF?)

After that I was pretty much full for the rest of the work day. I left the office at 6pm, telling myself I'd eat my banana on the way home. I actually almost forgot, but I did finally eat my banana and then headed to the gym.

GYM: 13 minutes on the elliptical doing interval type training, nearly a mile done in 13 minutes, not to shabby! Following that, a very intense Zumba class, which felt excellent! I was so sweaty and pooped (and worried about my interview today and making sure I had everything ready), I left after stretching and headed straight home.

My plan was simple - a piece of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter and some pineapple. I ate the pineapple while hubby cooked potatoes to make mashed potatoes (hubby peels and boils, but I mash and add the salt/low-fat butter/low-fat milk to make the actual mashed potatoes. The boys all say I make the best mashed potatoes!). Once I was done with the potatoes, I started serving up dishes to the boys and the smell of the pot roast and the fresh made potatoes got to me, I had already set a dish aside for today's lunch but I found myself serving up another dish - for me! I wasn't hungry, I just wanted it. I knew that and I ate it anyways. I was still within my calorie ranges, so I just figured I would try again today with the same plan.

So, not a major fail, but not what I intended. Still, midday meals/snacks were larger than breakfast or dinner, so I'm getting there.

Today's plan:
Already ate my 1/2 bagel with 1 Tbsp. of cream cheese.
Already had my morning coffee.
Already feeling a little hungry so I'm about to munch on my grapes again.
Have pot roast and mashed potatoes for lunch.
Then have carrots and ranch, pretzels, and pineapple for other snacks.
Tonight's workout will be rather long, I suspect. Making up for Monday. Lots of Cardio, Double the ST.
Then when I get home I'm going to have my former mushroom/cheese omelet that used to be my favorite breakfast for dinner. I figure it's perfect, not a ton of calories, a little fat, yes, but mostly good protein - a great post-workout meal!
If I get the munchies again, I'm reaching for either a 1/2 cup of ice cream as a treat or my pomegranate.

What do you think? Have you ever tried midday calorie loading? Does your body give you clues that it might be a better plan for you? Even today I was thinking of going out with a friend this weekend and I immediately thought - invite her to LUNCH, not dinner! *lol* We'll see how it works out.

On a bright note - the scale is finally moving back in the right direction again. Back down to 351 today. I can feel the bloat leaving me (my ankles are back to normal!) and that means TOM is almost GONE! WOOT!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I definitely think you have to find what works for you. For me, it's unlearning the psychological attachment to a big dinner... because I LIKE the idea of a big dinner. That is when I eat a lot of my calories too. I'll be looking to following your progress!
    3871 days ago
    Hmm...I think I might try the lighter version of breakfast after hearing all the additional comments as well. I don't think I can switch lunch and dinner, but I'm going to give it some deep thought and if I can convince my hubbs to do it too that would make it so much easier!!! I'm eager to hear about how this feels after like a week or so!!! emoticon
    3871 days ago
    I have always done this and I like how it works for me. Typically my calories work out almost evenly for my 3 squares a day, but volume wise, breakfast and dinner are always smaller than my lunch. I typically cook a big crockpot meal and divvy that up for my lunch main courses for the week and then add fruit, veggies, yogurt, string cheese, a granola bar or other snack and a small treat. All that food during the day DEFINITELY keeps me satisfied during the day and wards off the snack attacks in the afternoon.

    If you are finding that you're always hungry around 3pm, make sure you are getting enough protein at lunch. Remember - carbs make you FEEL full, protein sustains the full feeling longer and sticks with you through the afternoon. I'm pretty sure you're already doing this, but you should be eating protein every time you eat with carbs to round it out.

    And you're not hungry after you work out because exercise elevates your body temperature which physically decreases hunger. Funny how our bodies work like that.

    Whatever you choose to do - do it because it works for your hunger levels throughout the day and not because you think it's what your body is burning and when. As long as you're eating in your calorie ranges, you will burn evenly regardless of when you eat, even when you're sleeping. When you exercise, typically you're not burning what's in your stomach anyway - which is why fueling for exercise works for some people and others don't need it. Just do what feels good for you and you're more likely to stick to it!
    3871 days ago
    Congrats on the scale movement. I hope the mid-day calorie spike works for you.

    I'm still amazed at how much you accomplish in a week. Many times I read your blogs and by the time I'm done, I'm exhausted! You rock!

    3871 days ago
  • MAIA2011
    I just wanted to add an idea about the hardboiled eggs. I hate the yolks, too, so mostly I just eat the whites with a little salt. I saw competitive weightlifters doing that, too, so maybe it's healthy (or not)! Good luck on the meal swap. I haven't found what works yet but right now I am trying to eat mostly the same thing everyday. I've read a few places that that helps variety-craving people like me cut down on calories. It remains to be seen!
    3871 days ago
    Darn skippy it's not too shabby!! I do my morning mile at a 13 minute pace and it makes me feel so good and really wakes up my body. GREAT JOB!

    omg. I completely loaded up on terrible calories this morning. I really need a big smack to get me out of this exhaustion-induced nutrition funk!
    3871 days ago
  • JEREMY723
    I find that a smaller breakfast works for me. If I eat a bigger breakfast is doesn't help, I'm still just as hungry at lunch. Whatever works best for you, of course:)
    3871 days ago
    I'm the same way - You never know until you try, right? Like I said, it clicked in my head. Other things that people have tried and seem to work for them do not click with me. I think it's also important to note that my lifestyle is a little different than most people in that I work so far away from home and spend so much time here at work anyhow and don't get to the gym until really late. By the time I get home I'm so tired I'm pretty much ready to vegg on the couch and then crash! *lol*

    Also, please note that I haven't cut any calories from my diet, I just rearranged them a bit. I'm just giving it a go to see how it works. I say I'll give it a week, see how I feel, and then reevaluate from there.
    3871 days ago
    I think it's different for everyone -- if I eat an enormous breakfast (400+ calories), I'm on top of my hunger all day long and I eat much less during the day. If I have a small breakfast (200ish calories) I'm starving all day and can never seem to get ahead of the hunger ... as soon as I eat, I'm starving again. It's all about finding what works for your body. Bill gave me a great piece of advice when we first started dating and he was trying to convince me to eat bigger breakfasts--he said "try it for a week. If you don't like it, change it up. You're not going to do any permanent damage." That took me to a bigger attitude about healthy eating and working out--it's OK to try new things, play around with new patterns and habits, and see what works for you. Nothing TERRIBLE is going to happen if you make a little shift in things for a short period of time! Bravo for trying something new, I LOVED yesterday's blog!
    3871 days ago
    I quit eating larger breakfasts a few weeks ago, and it's brought me down five, effortless lbs. The weight keeps coming off, too. If I eat a lot in the morning, I'm still hungry at lunch and dinner. If I eat a little in the morning, I'm satisfied, and STILL just as hungry at lunch and dinner. No more, no less. So basically, I cut 300-700 calories out of my breakfast routine, and I don't even miss them. I say it works!! But I like a larger dinner, too.

    Good luck!
    3871 days ago
    I have very few nights when I actually make it home in time for a warm meal. Most nights during the week I still have to heat up leftovers, or I pull whatever is in the crockpot out and eat that. For me, leftovers have become my life 4 days of the week. Thankfully, I get a 3-day weekend so for 3 days a week I actually get to eat fresh, home cooked, hot from the oven type meals.
    3871 days ago
  • KARVY09
    Thanks for this update. I'd love to hear how it works for you. I just find it hard to bring that much food to work during the day that's going to satisfy me. I mean, I could bring leftovers and snacks and stuff, but sometimes I just like that warm meal at night.
    3871 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3035359
    I will be reading your blogs to see how this works for you. I do here lots of people saying that you should eat the majority of your carbs earlier in the day and I am hoping to try this. But with two teeanage kids in the house I find it hard. They are very active and NEED some calories by dinner...

    Keep up the great blogs...they make my mornings brighter! emoticon
    3871 days ago
  • no profile photo NEWYORKORCHIDS
    See, that's one thing that I could never get the hang of, because I love being able to eat a meal that was just prepared. I'm not big on leftovers at all, so...

    But I'm hoping that this is something that works out for you.
    3871 days ago
    During the week I tend to mid-day calorie load, but that's just me. I have lunch at around 11:30, so am hungry again by 2 or 3. I usually have 2 PM snacks, but those are lighter... raisins, apples, bananas, or an occasionaly bag of chips. I'm not normally hungry after I workout, so dinners usually aren't that large. A lot of times my dinners appear higher in calories, because I might have a recovery drink (reads protein powder and apple juice) right as I'm sitting down to dinner.

    Good luck with your new plan, let me know how you like it!
    3871 days ago
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