I know I`ve mentioned before that I eat food pretty often. Every three hours, in fact. That means that, at the end of the day, I will have had about six meals. I don`t know about you, but when I first started this, it seemed pretty overwhelming. Do you know how long it takes to prepare three meals, let alone six? What about nutrition? How will you find the time to stop what you are doing and eat that often? you`ll practically be eating constantly! The little voice in my head was being a constant Debbie Downer at the start of it all.
I think it was at the time when I first experienced the symptoms described here that I was inspired to start this style of eating, actually. I felt lethargic, and I ate very little, yet I was gaining weight at light speed. I felt pretty disheartened. And then I heard some details about gastric bypass surgery patients. I heard heard that, due to the band around their stomachs, they could only eat a cup of food every two hours. It sparked a little idea in my head. I started to think, “Maybe I can eat like they do, and lose the weight, without the surgery.” I was desperate and ashamed enough that I would do it. I remember being young and silly then, always dreaming of the day when I would have enough self control to skip most of my meals during the day, and eat only a spoon full when I bothered to eat at all. I`m so glad I didn`t have the self control to hurt myself in such a way then, and that I thought of such a wonderful eating strategy.
At the time, I may only have been thinking how impressed everyone would be when they saw the little serving I was eating (I stuck to the one cup rule like a burr) and the fact that it might ease my anxiety of eating in front of other humans, but now I see that it has done me good. The first year saw me with the healing of all the damage my body has endured from poison and near organ failure, not weight loss. The second year I kept a steady weight, a vast improvement over the rapid weight gains of the past, and a loss of twenty pounds in these first few months of 2013. More importantly, perhaps, is the steadying of my blood sugar.
I no longer black out, and my fainting spells are a thing of the past. Though, of course, blood tests with my (ex) traditional medicine doctor showed that I was healthy and well in all respects, especially my blood sugar, I`d long suspected that I could not have all of my dangerous symptoms through some internal need to be dramatic and get attention, as he had suggested. Who really wants to faint and nearly crack their head open? If nothing else, I would have made sure to land in such a way that I wouldn`t be hurt if I had planned the whole thing. Anyways, old grievances aside, I found that this new style of eating steadied my mind and regulated my body, giving a perfect opening for the further healing my switch to gluten free did a year after I started my mini meal system.
Now, some of you have been wondering how I can possibly eat so often, and be balanced nutritionally, and to simply not be overwhelmed. It actually isn`t nearly as scary and overwhelming as it sounds. In fact, I actually take less time to eat my food, as I just eat my position and go on my way, instead of wasting time ordering at a restaurant and preparing and serving big meals. I just eat my dinner and breakfast with a proper place setting, and I only cook for those two meals. How do I manage that?
- Make a lot for dinner, and put some of it in portion controlled to-go containers. That usually means make the recipe so it holds one more serving than the number of people present. (I have four at most family dinners, as my sister lives in another city, so that means making enough food for five.) That means you have lunch for tomorrow, and another day later in the week.
- Pick a mealtime, and stick to it. When I first started out, that meant I always had a mini meal every odd hour. Now that I`ve moved to the more easily managed interval of three hours, because my steadied blood sugar allowed the longer gaps between meals without ill effects, I just eat according to a schedule I drew up. In case you were interested, I have a mini meal (about 1 and 1/2 cup serving size) at 9, 12, 3, 6, 8:30. My meal at 8:30 is closer to a half cup in size, and it is just a smaller mini meal that prevents cravings for snacks and desserts at twelve. This system works because I wake up at about 8 Am, and go to bed at 11, so my body isn`t rebelling at too much food in the morning, nor rolling and rumbling late into the night because I ate too close to bedtime.
- Set a timer. It can be hard to keep track of meal times, especially when you aren`t used to how often they occur. It makes things much easier if the timer remembers for you, so you aren`t wasting your time by checking your clock all of the time.
- Drink lots of water. I know that everyone and their brother has been telling you that, but it really is true. It helps to keep you feeling full longer, and it helps regulate appetite and blood sugar. If you haven`t been drinking much at all, you can start with some unflavored and unchemicalled seltzer water. I liked pouring a bottle of San Pelligrino in my water bottle when I first started drinking water. You may be feeling sluggish because you don`t drink enough water, and this is a good starting place. Just put water in a water bottle, and take a tiny sip every minute or so. Your body doesn`t actually want a huge glass every few hours, it prefers a constant supply of water undiluted by soda, juice, aspartame, or anything else. If you can`t stand the taste of water (a regular problem among those that don`t drink it) then you may squeeze a wedge of lemon or some other fruit in there. Just remember that fruit and bubbles are sort of training wheels in the world of water drinkers, and you want to switch off it as soon as you comfortably can.
- Make your meals into actual meals. I don`t want you toting around pop tarts or an apple and calling it a ‘mini meal’. You`ll die of poor nutrition if you keep that up. Don`t fall into the trap of the faddish mono-meal some rawtarians swear by. You need balance in each meal. Look at the paragraph under the heading Balance Your Palate in my post Sweetly Bitter Super Heroes to learn more about meal variety. You want to have a balanced mix of protein, fiber, complex carbs, and healthy fats for the maximum amount of filling and nutrition in your mini-meals.
If you want to learn more about healthy fats, I`ve actually written quite a lot on the subject. Way To Start Your Day has some information in the comments, and I`ve commented about it on a million other blogger`s pages.