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Val123's avatar

If I need 1500 calories a day to maintain my current weight, and I can manage to intake 1500 calories at breakfast, could I conceivably not have to eat the rest of the day?

Asked by Val123 (12679points) June 29th, 2010

Long story short, eating is a hassle for me! I wish I didn’t have to do it! If I could eat one time during the day the total amount of food I eat through out the day could I get away with eating once a day? I believe that the reason we get hungry at certain times (8 am, noon, 6 pm) is because that’s the schedule we’ve trained ourselves into. Assuming I could train myself out of that expectation….well. Let’s say that for breakfast I was able to eat, all at once, what I average through out the day: A sausage and cheese McMuffin (no judgments please!), a bagel with cream cheese, a grilled chicken sandwich (Wendy’s) a small fry, two burritos from home, and a thinger of yogurt. Could I train myself so that I wouldn’t get hungry again till the next morning? After adapting, what would my body think?

Anyone who starts throwing a wrench in the works about how different kinds of fat yadda yadda yadda. It’s 1500 period, no sugar, not too much fat. And no, I didn’t add up the calories so it may be low or high, but it’s just an average.

This is a totally hypothetical question.

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36 Answers

KhiaKarma's avatar

I think it would mess up your metabolism. It’s best to eat small snacks throughout the day.

Vunessuh's avatar

In my own personal experience, eating one meal a day didn’t work.
And it wasn’t that I was forcing myself to only eat one meal a day, while going hungry the rest of the time, it was that I only seemed to get hungry once a day. So I’d eat when I was hungry (once a day) and that’s it. Problem was, I was tired all the time, I had no energy. I just felt drained. I would wake up, and want to go back to sleep an hour later. Obviously, it began interfering with work because I couldn’t focus, so I actually had to start forcing myself to eat more despite rarely being hungry.
I didn’t lose a whole bunch of weight, but I just felt like shit.

In the end, it doesn’t really have anything to do with whether or not you can train your body to only eat one meal a day and still maintain your weight. It has to do with whether or not you can train your body to only eat one meal a day and still be healthy. The answer is most likely no.

Val123's avatar

@Vunessuh Why not? The 3 meals a day thing is a human invention, specifically geared around farming schedules.

@KhiaKarma That is but one popular theory. Exactly how would it mess up your metabolism? At first, sure. It’d be a little shocky, but I think the body could adjust. There is nothing in our evolution that says we HAVE to eat in a certain way. (Well, except if you consider foraging, in which case we’d be eating berries as we wandered along. On the other hand, carnivores…which we are also…don’t eat three times a day when they make a good kill. They don’t ‘snack’. They may go days in between having a good meal.)

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I’m not sure that would work. At some point wouldn’t your body digest all the food before the day was done. Then you’d be left feeling drained of energy and hungry. That’s just what I assume would happen. I’m no specialist. Just a guess.

Val123's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Thank you! That’s kind of what I’m getting at…...I don’t know either. But if it was what we were USED to…..?

YARNLADY's avatar

It depends on your level of activity. If you are doing strenuous work, you need a regular influx of fruits, vegetables and grains to keep up your level of activity. If you are just sitting at a desk all day, I don’t see why not, as long as you drink plenty of water throughout the day.

aclyn's avatar

I feel the same way! I’ve had to force myself to eat because I just don’t get hungry. I don’t know what else to do. My mom threatened to put me into treatment for anorexia just because I was underweight, so I gained about 35 lbs and am completely healthy weight. I’m now 149 and 5 ft 9 which is totally healthy but I don’t feel healthy like I did when I weighed less.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Ha ha, I wish it were that simple. No woman, you’ve got to give your tummy something throughout the day or else it will become jealous and evil, storing that one meal as fat and waiting for you to give it something more even though it’s already at 1500 calories. I’ve eaten that same number for about a decade now, experimenting and all but I make myself break the food down to munch all day and it keeps my moods more consistent instead of sugar high and then wiped out the rest of the day.

LuckyGuy's avatar

According to this interview in Time Gen. Stanley McChrystal only eats one meal per day and sleeps only 4 hours. Nobody would call that guy unhealthy.
If you can do it, go for it.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes it will work, but it is tougher on your body. What will happen is your body puts the carbs you eat into glycogen storage, and once that is full the rest goes to fat (as a side not when runners hit “the wall” it is the depletion of glycogen). Same with the protien, broken down into amino acids you need, and the protein over and above what your body can use or store at the time of eating gets stored as fat. And of course fat goes to fat. Then as your day moves along, and your body needs energy it takes from the stores. As glycogen depletes, and if demand is on your muscles, the body will start to pull from fat stores as well and convert it to what is necessary.

But, using fat stores is not as efficient, and we seem to not quite understand how the mechanism works. There is a belief that once we increase the size and quanitity of our fat cells, our bodies become accustomed to having that much fat and want to stay at that level, some people refer to it as a set point. Now, 1500 is a fairly low amount of calories, so there is a good chance not much will got to fat if it is a low fat meal, because your glycogen and protein stores would be fairly low from the day before.

You do risk your metabolism slowing down a little possibly, and also sugar highs and lows.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

You would not heat your house by using a days worth of fuel at 8 AM and then turn the furnace off until the next morning, would you?

In fact, in cold weather, the furnace needs to run many times throughout the day and night to do its job right.

In fact, eating many small meals a day is recommended by many nutritional experts as a healthier alternative to the three meals a day plan.

Clearly, one meal a day is not how the human body was designed to function.

Make eating simple and convenient for you in some other way. You will feel much better!

Rarebear's avatar

If you’re not diabetic, it should be fine.

Val123's avatar

First of all, I feel perfectly fine now, @Dr_Lawrence! I just don’t like eating!

@aclyn I know exactly what you mean. I felt better when I was in the 120 – 125 range, but people were always carrying on about how skinny I was. I’m up to 135, and I look fine, but I liked the way my clothes fit me better when I was 125. (I’m 5’7”)

@Dr_Lawrence Re: “Clearly, one meal a day is not how the human body was designed to function.” Depends on if you’re talking about our vegetarian side, or our carnivore side. If you eat nothing but veggies then yes. You would forage and graze, like a cow or a horse. If you eat more meat, however, you should be able to get away with only once a day. Our carnivore side is designed, like the tigers, to eat a lot when we get it, then go several days without eating.

@Rarebear~ Thank you.

@YARNLADY Again, no variables allowed. Flat out, assuming my lifestyle stays the same as it is now, and needs 1500 calories (not empty calories either) to maintain my weight, why can’t I take them in at one sitting?

@Neizvestnaya Well, it may be waiting for more but it’s not going to get it until the next morning. Which is the problem overweight people have. They eat a bunch and instead of waiting many hours to eat again, they feel like they’re “hungry” again in a couple of hours, and eat again, although their bodies don’t really need more food.

@All This is just an exercise in “what if.” It’s hypothetical. Things that make you go “Hmmmmm.” It goes back to our natural state, and all the popular theories don’t count either. However, I don’t think I’d really like to try it. For one thing, I’d FROW UP trying to eat all that stuff I mentioned above in one sitting! For another, I couldn’t guarantee I’d have the calories on hand 7 days a week, as my schedule changes often. I don’t have that much food in the house!

Off to work now!! I’ll tell the good folks at Mickey D’s ya’ll said Hi!! :)

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes. Your liver will act as a buffer using glycogen.

Val123's avatar

@mattbrowne Buffer against what?
Well, I began a mini trial today. I ate twice as much as I normally do at breakfast. Pretty sure I took in close to 800 calories, with the plan to not eat again till 4:30. Of course, lunch time comes around and my stomach is bugging me out of habit and I ignored it. Within an hour I didn’t feel hungry any more. Here it is 5:00 and I feel a little hungry. I could eat….but now I’m waiting to see if my husband and his boss will be taking us out for dinner….

KhiaKarma's avatar

Pushing through it, huh? Well, I hope you achieve your goal! I still think that it is probably not the best thing to do to yourself. Blood sugar has got to be affected, but whoknows- you can pretty much find research that would support any view nowadays. Lotsa luck

YARNLADY's avatar

Here is a reference to a scientific study

mattbrowne's avatar

@Val123 – Buffer against the less efficient usage of body fat.

Val123's avatar

Well, it’s workin’ for me!

YARNLADY's avatar

@Val123 I’m glad to hear that. I suggest you keep your health insurance premiums up to date, just in case.

Val123's avatar

LOL! Why, thank you @YARNLADY! Wouldn’t dream of letting it lapse! I really don’t think there is any harm in doing what our bodies have been designed to do over millions of years. We didn’t always have the unlimited food bounty that being wealthy Americans provides us.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Val123 You’re welcome. I’m confused, didn’t people originally evolve to eat throughout the day, rather than one meal a day?

KhiaKarma's avatar

I think I am more like a “forager” not just berries, though. Keep us updated, I am curious about how it turns out.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@Val123 I suggest you carefully read the results of the study to which @YARNLADY made reference. It has important health implications.

Val123's avatar

@YARNLADY The foraging side of us, yes. Not the carnivorous side. If all I was eating all day was berries and bananas, then sure. I’d be eating off and on through out the day because it would take FOREVER to get full on strawberries. And they digest much faster than meat, too. But one hamburger packs the calories in all at once so you don’t need to eat again as soon. So, I eat sausage and/or Canadian bacon with bread in the mornings, and I’m going to get some celery to take to work too to snack on because I not really much of a meat eater.

I am so relieved. I just pig out at breakfast, then go the rest of the day not worrying about, “Oh, I should eat now.” I eat again at about 4:30, then I’m done. I think I’ve lost about ½ a pound, not that I’m worried about losing weight, but I don’t mind losing it!

Thank @Dr_Lawrence, but I just get so tired of all of the information, then information that contradicts the previous information and on and on and on.

Val123's avatar

@KhiaKarma I’m more of a forager too,but that requires having foraging material around, which I don’t have! Should start stocking up though, huh.

KhiaKarma's avatar

yeah, there are lots of things you could just have around. Almonds, brown rice, cooked beans, granola bars (I like the Special K bars) I cook a soup and then put the rice and beans in little tupperware on Sundays and it’s a sinch. I also try to eat 3 fruits a day, but it’s no bother, really….if I don’t eat it, then I will make it up on another day- as long as I don’t get hunger pains. The almonds help me through those. Supposedly, almonds get the chemical that makes you feel full started. Hope you enjoy your 4th!

Val123's avatar

@KhiaKarma I GOT CELERY!!! When I go to Mickey D’s in the morning I often get a bagel with two cream cheeses. They don’t charge extra for it. Well, I only use one, so I have a boat load of cream cheese at work to put on my celery!
Need to get some nanners, too. And get motivated enough to cut up an apple in the morning. If it’s there, and ready to eat, I’ll eat it. I just hate the preparation part!

Val123's avatar

I foraged and grazed you guys! I foraged and grazed!....Well, not EGGzactly. I was going to make a burrito (all I had for breakfast was 3 warmed up waffels…it’s almost 4:30 and I be hungry now.) Anyway, I learned that we are out of tortillas (Drat. There goes 100 calories.) I said, “I’ll just put the beans and cheese in a bowl…and man I wish we had some tomatoes!” Then I realized..we have about 50 million tomato plants out side! But…they haven’t done any thing yet, except for one. Anyway, I left my den, and braved dogs and even rain and foraged among the wild plants. It was dangerous. And all I got was one little cherry tomato. But I forged and sorta grazed!!! Just thought I’d let you know!

YARNLADY's avatar

@Val123 * * * Y A Y * * *

KhiaKarma's avatar

You literally grazed and foraged just like our ancestors (kinda)! I hope my little tomato plant starts making fruit soon! Happy 4th!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I foraged again! Rick and I were driving in the country. The corn is ready to harvest!....OK. We didn’t much forage as stole, but STILL!

KhiaKarma's avatar

fresh corn….mmmm You should totally grill some!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, guys. I actually changed my eating habits after I posted this question. I make sure I hit about 1400 calories between breakfast and lunch and that’s all. I don’t eat after 3:00 or 4:00 and I’M FINE!! I actually gained a tad bit of weight, but it was uber simple to lose it. Normally I’ll have an Egg McMuffin and a sausage and cheese McMuffin for breakfast, so I just cut out one of the breakfast sandwiches and replaced it with a bagel. Lost the weight (about 10 pounds) I wanted in about five weeks. I no longer eat both breakfast sandwiches, so I’m holding steady right where I want to be.

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