I want to talk about the 3 season diet again today, or more specifically I want to talk about one concept that John Douillard presents in his book: the idea of having one large meal every day, specifically at the midday meal. Now, this concept is not a new or revolutionary idea. We have probably all heard that we should have one bigger meal in our day, but usually that meal is breakfast. Have you heard the saying eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner? Most likely. Douillard says that this is partly right, the timing is just a little off though. The optimal time to have your biggest meal of the day is right in the middle of it, and Douillard presents some good evidence as to why this is the best time/meal.
His biggest push for a large midday meal is that this is when your body can optimize the calories you are about to consume. Basically you still have plenty of day left to burn through the calories you eat at lunch. Our digestive systems tend to run more efficiently during day time than at night, when everything slows down and resets for the next day. When you eat a large dinner, which has become the “norm” in most American homes today, and then go to bed shortly after you’re left with most of your meal not being used as energy. And what your body doesn’t use right away it stores as energy, usually fat. Obviously if you are trying to lose weight this is not how you want your food to be used. But make you big meal your lunch and you now have the whole afternoon to put those calories to good use and fuel your body.
Another point that Douillard makes for his big lunch is that most people are so busy they either work right through lunch or just grab something quick on the go. This habit sets you up for that afternoon crash that everyone has experienced. And what are you most likely to grab in those situations? Something that will boost your energy fast: coffee, candy, soda, energy drinks, anything that you can find in a vending machine. I don’t have to tell you guys that those are foods that you do not need to be putting into your body. Douillard says by setting aside just one hour to eat a large, leisurely lunch can set the rest of your day up for success. You won’t have that afternoon crash, you will be energized and able to accomplish the mountain of tasks that you need to get through before work is done, and you won’t be left feeling sluggish and full like you might after a large dinner.
But Katie, you don’t understand, I literally have no time to eat a big lunch. I know, a lot of people have a job that doesn’t allow for such a long lunch. Douillard addresses this problem as well. One of his “rules” is the 51% rule. If you can do something at least 51% of the time, you will still be able to reap the benefits. This means that if you can find time to eat a large lunch at least four days out of the week you are on the right track. you can dedicate your weekends to large lunches and find two days during the week that you can squeeze in at least forty five minutes of lunch time. And prepare your meal ahead of time. Pack a filling meal the night before and know exactly where to find your lunch in the morning so that when the time comes to eat you are not scrambling to find anything to put into your stomach. The less you have to figure out the moment it is time to eat, the better and less stressed you will be. That makes an enjoyable meal all the better.
Now, I am not one to throw a wrench into the plans of anyone. And I don’t like to be confusing, but I think it is only fair that I am honest. I am not totally sold on the big lunch time meal with breakfast and dinner being supplemental meals. I know, I’m a little rebel, but let me explain myself. Douillard makes excellent points, and he has seen tremendous success with his clients using this idea. I am absolutely not saying he is wrong, I just believe that for me this isn’t the best route. I have always been a big breakfast and dinner gal. I like lunch and make sure I eat healthy filling ones, but I just don’t like having a huge midday meal. Personally, I feel weighed down and sluggish after a large lunch. I do most of my exercising in the morning, so I need that big healthy breakfast to keep me going through my day. And I tend not to be as super hungry for the lunch time meal, but when dinner rolls around I am ready to eat! And because of the way I eat (clean, if you hadn’t heard), I never feel uncomfortably stuffed after dinner and I haven’t suffered from indigestion. I don’t totally discount Douillard’s theory, I just believe for me it isn’t the best. And that is alright! Being healthy is all about finding what works best for you, and that is one of Douillard’s rules as well. If you don’t like something, don’t do it. If some aspect of a diet seems totally tortuous, don’t do it or you will never stick with it. Obviously there are some limits on this, quitting your cookie addiction might seem horrendous, but if you keep eating ten a day you will never lose weight. But you should experiment with different ways of eating and exercising to see what works best for you. If you are one who experiences that afternoon crash and indigestion after going to bed on a full stomach, switch it up and eat a big lunch and a smaller, lighter dinner. Then evaluate how YOUR body feels and decide if that is right routine for you. This is what is so great about living a healthy lifestyle, it’s about finding what works for you and helps you to feel your best!
Now for something completely different! This whole week I have been in a super fall-like mood and have gone a little crazy on everything pumpkin. Oh well pumpkin is good and good for you! So I will leave you with another delicious pumpkin breakfast (told you I was all about breakfast!). Also, I would love to get some feedback from you guys, let me know what you like and what you don’t like. What topics would you like to hear about? Are there recipes you would like to see up here? More pictures, anything? I would love to hear what you have to say! I am writing this for you and want it to be a resource, so let me know! Have a great weekend!
Yummy pumpkin oatmeal
1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 1/2 cup water
1 tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
Place oats and water in pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn heat to low and simmer until oats are thick about 15 to 20 min. Once the oats are done mix in your pumpkin and almond butter and sprinkle with however much of each spice you want. Devour and be satisfied!