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November 30, 2006

How Often Do We Need to Eat?

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The Day in Food

Breakfast: Two glasses of water, coffee

When hungry: Water and fruit (strawberries, pineapple) or carrots, green beans, and red peppers (all raw)

Dinner: Grilled chicken or steak, then salad or steamed vegetables (such as broccoli or spinach)

The diet: The Warrior Diet, by Ori Hofmekler

The theory: Eat just one healthy meal a day, in the evening. By undereating during the day and overeating at night, Hofmekler believes you'll boost your metabolism, and you'll feel more energetic than ever. If you are extremely hungry during the day, you can have raw vegetables, a piece of fruit, or a small amount of protein, such as unroasted nuts or turkey.

Tester: Dawnmarie Stirpe, 33, executive assistant

In one month, she lost: 5 pounds

The first day, I was a little anxious about the diet, but in a good way. In the morning I downed two glasses of water, as was recommended. I had my usual coffee on the train on the way to work. When I got to the office, I immediately emptied my junk drawer of food. This was the easiest part of the day. I started getting really hungry around 10 a.m., so I ate some strawberries and drank more water. I didn't feel bad until there was a group lunch...with pizzas and a movie! Everyone else started eating — and I sat there with a cup of tea and a bottle of water. The worst part of the day was at 3 p.m., when I usually have a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate. I had the tea, but not having anything with it was depressing. I definitely ate more than usual at dinner that night.

For the next few weeks, I was hungry all day — all I could think about was pastrami on rye with potato salad. And all I wanted to do was sleep, so I'd go to bed at 9 p.m. I was definitely a little moody, and it didn't help when people ate in front of me and I couldn't have anything.

I felt like I spent my days drinking water, nibbling on fruit, and peeing — and wishing for a nap. I would go home starving, but as soon as I ate, I'd get full quickly.

According to the book, I should have had a lot of energy, but I needed to skip my usual run during the second week. I was afraid I'd have held my running partner back. I also didn't feel very happy or fun. I wasn't sad; I just felt blah. If there was a positive, it was that at least I was getting the right amount of servings of fruit and veggies and I was well hydrated. So my skin got a lot clearer, and I lost five pounds.

Eventually, I stopped feeling so hungry during the day, but I still felt like I was in a fog. I couldn't remember simple things, and I know I wasn't doing well at work. My weight plateaued during the third week — I felt like my body was storing fat rather than burning it, as if it was holding on to whatever I ate at night because it didn't feel like the next meal was ever coming. Weekends weren't easy, either, because there was always something going on that I couldn't participate in because it involved food.

I was happy when the month was over, but I definitely learned a few things. I plan to continue to drink a lot of water, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and have less meat. I especially can't wait until I have the energy to return to running and working out. And I'm happy not to spend my days thinking, Give me food — now.

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