• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

November 30, 2006

How Often Do We Need to Eat?

Special Offer


The Day in Food

Breakfast: Toasted wheat bread with butter (the real stuff!) and jelly

Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with a dip of mixed mayonnaise and horseradish sauce, mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette, dark chocolate

Dinner: Broiled steak with spinach, dark chocolate

The diet: The French Don't Diet Plan, by Will Clower, Ph.D.

The theory: Eat three leisurely, unprocessed meals a day — even "forbidden" foods like butter, cheese, and bread. The thinking is that the flavors satisfy you, leading you to reject the taste of processed foods. Clower also believes that when you allow yourself fat in moderation, you get its benefits without the health risks that come with consuming it in excess. By savoring meals, you'll eat less because you'll feel satisfied. And by finishing your meal with a rich "ender," like dark chocolate, you'll stave off snacking urges.

Tester: Aziza Johnson, 28, publicist

In one month, she lost: 10 pounds

Eating three meals a day was a psychological challenge at first: Knowing I couldn't eat between meals automatically made me want to snack, and knowing I couldn't eat processed foods made me crave them. I would see a cake in a store window and want to buy it and eat it — even though I've never really liked cake all that much.

But when I started changing what went into my grocery cart, avoiding processed foods (including those 100-calorie bags of Oreos I used to buy) and filling up on fresh ingredients, I realized how good fruits and vegetables are and how much better it tastes when you prepare your own piece of fish or steak. And it was nice to be on a program that allows you to butter your toast and even use jelly (as long as it's 100-percent fruit). After the first week, I wasn't hungry between meals anymore. But at first, I had to conquer in-between-meal cravings with sheer willpower. The trouble was, with my schedule, cooking was tough: When I did have the time, I didn't always have the right ingredients on hand. One night, I wanted to make a macaroni and biscuits recipe from the book, but it was already 8:30 p.m., my milk had gone bad, and I didn't want to go out to the store. I didn't really have anything else in the house, so I ate toast for dinner that night.

Another tenet of the diet, eating in a leisurely manner, was hard: Taking my time, chewing, and enjoying the food was unrealistic when I was really busy at work and felt like I needed to rush to get back to what I was doing. And when I did savor a meal, it didn't make a difference in terms of my feeling more or less hungry later.

Probably what worked best for me was the "ender." Clower says that having a piece of cheese or dark chocolate at the end of a meal creates a mental association between being finished and feeling satisfied. For me, the chocolate was like a gift I gave to myself as a reward for eating a healthy meal.

You would think a diet that encourages rich foods would be easy to follow, but weekends were hard. I sleep in these days and hardly ever eat breakfast, so fitting in three meals wasn't easy. I also went to a baby shower one weekend, where I ate cake and cookies and had a Coke. The diet does allow you to indulge, but I definitely overdid it that day.

As liberal as this diet is, it was challenging to stick to. Still, I lost 10 pounds in less than a month, and I would consider staying on it: Even though I had to control portions, I could eat many of my favorite foods — and it worked!

Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
One winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Lancôme ($389) and a year’s supply of hair products from Garnier Fructis ($90), as selected by the Sponsors.

One winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Lancôme ($389) and a year’s supply of hair products from Garnier Fructis ($90), as selected by the Sponsors.

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Health News and Fitness Trends
The "Angelina Effect" Doubled the Number of Breast-Cancer Gene Tests

A new study finds her BRCA-1 gene mutation inspired others to get tested.

Primary Protection: The History of the Pill

This little gal has gone through quite the journey.

The Rebel Diet

Born to eat wild? Have an on-again, off-again relationship with healthy eating? You'll love the latest weight-loss news.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.