I eat healthy, healthy, healthy all day for breakfast, lunch, and snacks so I have some extra "splurging" calories for dinner/dessert. I married a no-fruits-or-veggies-man so since I eat healthy all day, I can afford to have a higher calorie dinner/dessert. As long as the calories do not go over my goal intake, I don't feel it matters what time of day I ingest them.
Your page says you hit the gym 3-4 times a week. Is that at night before dinner? You could be doing it unconsciously to make sure you get a good refueling in especially if you are doing long or intense exercise. If your energy levels are good during the day and you don't lose focus based on a lower consumption early and a heavier consumption in the afternoon/evening, I don't think there's anything wrong with it.
My registered dietitian told me that I should try to evenly (or as evenly as possible) space my calories throughout the day. I had also been in the habit of eating less throughout the day so that I could eat a large meal for dinner and maybe have a snack afterwards. I also did not feel hungry during the day. I was never hungry for breakfast. I didn't say anything to my dietitian, but I really did not want to give up my big dinners. But, I followed her advice and did it anyway.
I managed, over time, to start eating about 400 calories for breakfast, 450-500 for lunch and 550-600 for dinner. After a while of doing this, I realized that it made me feel better to eat this way and that I had more energy throughout the day. I also started feeling like I wanted breakfast and breakfast has actually become my favorite meal of the day. I realized that I had not been doing myself any favors by starving myself throughout the day so that I could save calories for a large dinner and snack afterwards. It wasn't healthy behavior.
When I look back at the way that I was saving calories for such a large dinner (and snack afterwards), I recognize that it was actually a form of disordered eating. In effect, I was basically starving myself and then binging on a large dinner (and it is actually binging to eat most of your daily calories in one meal). Not only did I enjoy eating so much food in one sitting, I also enjoyed socially eating such a large amount of food (as others have said, dinner is the most social meal of the day, when family gets together and...well...eats). My husband would also engage in overeating behavior with me at dinner and during the time after dinner (snack). Of course, after dinner snacks were always in front of the television (eating in front of the television is something that I was also advised to give up).
When I was growing up, my family did not engage in this sort of behavior. We ate a reasonable breakfast (usually together), a reasonable lunch at work or school and then we ate dinner together. But, dinner was similar in size to breakfast and lunch. Dinner was a social meal, but we did not engage in social overeating together and we still enjoyed dinner. As a general rule, snacks were eaten if we were hungry and they were eaten in the kitchen, not in front of the tv. We were all of normal weight. Looking back, I realize that I gained weight after I started engaging in social overeating/binging at dinner (i.e. saving my calories for dinner) and eating in front of the television.
I have to say that, while I was engaging in this "saving" food for dinner behavior, I was very adamant (mostly to myself, but I would have defended it vehemently to anyone who ever asked about it) that it was perfectly fine to eat that way. I would have said that I wasn't hungry until later, that I wanted to "be able" to eat with my family, that I felt good eating that way, that I worked for me, etc. But, now, I realize that it wasn't healthy and actually wasn't working for me. I also realize that it isn't necessary to save calories to be able to eat a large amount at one time and that you don't have to overeat to enjoy dinner with others.
Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 1/8/2013 (15:54)
Fitness Minutes: (2,826)
5 1/5/13 3:46 P
I've been doing the same thing on accident. Since I started tracking myself I've found that I seem to eat at least half of my carbs for breakfast. I've always been told that this is what you should do and my roommate insists that I've always done this, but I've been finding myself often hungry at night time. The few days I've tried to save them however I've found myself hungry earlier in the day because breakfast didn't fill me up. I need to find a happy medium.
Well I am near the beginning of this current Spark go-round but... Lately, I purposely try to eat a fair amount of my calories early in the day. I've read that's better for you. I aim for around 1500 cals (which is the top of my range, but I burn a lot through exercise) and so I try to split my calories 500 breakfast, 500 lunch, 500 dinner. If I notice I haven't eaten a lot at breakfast or lunch, I will have an afternoon snack.
I'm certainly no expert, but I have been doing this all week this week, and I have hit my calorie goals every single day, which is a lot better than I used to do in the past when I would "save" calories for nighttime.
Fitness Minutes: (11,285)
3,116 1/4/13 9:58 A
I save more for dinner too. That is a real social time in our household. I do like to have a glass of wine with dinner too.
I save calories for the end of the day too. Dinner for me is a more social meal than breakfast or lunch and if I get to dinner time and I only have about 250 calories left, I'm bummed. Nothing wrong with eating a little more at dinner time if that's what works for you.
Fitness Minutes: (160)
3 1/4/13 9:35 A
Awesome tips! Thanks everyone for the support. I don't feel hungry during the day, especially since I am not active during the work week. Weekends are a little different because we are always doing something with the kids, so I get hungrier during the day. So I don't feel like I'm depriving myself. I just don't want to overeat at the end of the day to sabatoge what I've done during the day. The more I plan the better I do. Thanks again!
Fitness Minutes: (21,283)
16 1/3/13 6:49 P
I have the same problem...I generally eat smallish early in the day and sometimes have upwards of 400-500 calories after dinner to get to my LOW. Then it becomes the game of trying to eat a lot of calories to reach that low, which is surprisingly difficult! If this were just an occasional thing I wouldn't worry about it, but it isn't, and I do some pretty intense cardio so I really need all those calories to stay away from starvation mode. The suggestion to plan ahead is great, and I do this myself, but not a week ahead...more like a half a day. By noonish I'll know what we are doing for dinner and be able to adjust (add a second afternoon snack, change snack to something more calorie dense, add dessert, increase quantity of dinner, etc.).
My wife thinks this calorie budgeting is closely linked with my geneal frugalness (although she calls it cheapness!)...as if saving up on calories can be used on something else!
Fitness Minutes: (73,242)
9,699 1/3/13 6:39 P
I agree with Yojulez.
The big question is are you hungry earlier in the day when you're saving your calories? If you're eating both breakfast and lunch and a snack - and if the answer is that you are NOT still hungry after those meals, you're good in my book!! In fact, I often eat that way myself.
Great questions ... keep up the good work!!
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 1/3/13 6:22 P
Well, who says you have to? Are you hungry in the mornings but are not eating because your'e saving calories? Or are you not hungry in the mornings? I don't eat a big breakfast at all, so I end up eating bigger lunches and dinners... it's what works for me.
But the key to making sure your eating plan is working for you is plan plan plan. I plan a week at a time, a week in advance. I enter everything in my tracker a week in advance as well. That way, I can fix imbalances ahead of time, instead of trying to fix them on the fly right when it's happening. Like, a meal I'm planning to make for next week ended up being way less calories than I thought it would be, which made my calories low for the day. So, I did some tweaking and added an extra bit of food to my lunch and a dessert, so it all ended up working out. I also like that having the plans in place takes out having to figure out what I'm going to eat for lunch and dinner on the day of. I'm brain dead in the mornings so since my food is already planned out for the day, I don't even have to think about it in the morning.
Set mini goals throughout the day. Like 400 cals by 11am, 800 cals by 3pm, etc.
Fitness Minutes: (160)
3 1/3/13 5:10 P
I have a bad habit of trying to eat less during the day so I can have a larger supper and maybe a snack at night. Even though I eat breakfast and lunch and snack during the day, I still have between 500-900 calories to eat at the end of the day, and that's with a goal of 1300-1600 calories/day. It's like I'm afraid to eat more during the day in fear of not having enough to eat at night....
Any suggestions on how I can plan better and spread out the meals?
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