Today I will do that. Sort of.
So far I've told you to start eating breakfast and then to eat every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day. It should shake out to three meals (breakfast/lunch/dinner) and a couple of snacks, or you may like to have several smaller meals throughout the day. Either way is fine; if you're unsure, experiment with both and find which feels better for your body. That is your foundation to keep your metabolism humming along consistently, keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day, to start getting your hunger on schedule, and to prevent any overeating related to being too hungry. Now I want to give you a little guidance on what to eat at those times.
Are you ready? You might want to print this one out because it's super complicated.
Protein and carbohydrate. That's it! Every single time you eat, you need to include those two things.
(VERY important disclaimer: I'm not leaving out fat because you shouldn't eat it; you should. Dietary fat is an important macronutrient that is required for survival and serves many functions in the body. Thankfully, many foods have fat built in and fat is also often part of food preparation, so I'm making a bit of an assumption that you'll get enough unless you're purposefully avoiding it. We'll talk more about dietary fat at a later date.)
Over the next few weeks, I will go into more detail about what protein, carbohydrates, and fat do and why each is important. You've probably heard some not-so-flattering things about carbohydrate and fat, but they serve very important purposes and neither is to be avoided. For now, here's what you need to know: Carbohydrates are what our bodies use for quick energy. Without it, you will feel tired, unfocused, and cranky. However, because it is a quick fuel, eating carbohydrate alone will not keep you full for very long. Eating protein with it will help slow down your digestion and help you feel more satisfied over a long period of time. Eat an apple alone and you'll probably be hungry again within 45 minutes; an apple with peanut butter will stick with you longer.
So now you're eating breakfast, then eating every 3 to 4 hours, and eating protein and carbohydrate every single time you eat. This takes some scheduling and some attentiveness, so for a few weeks I'd like for you just coast there. It'll take a while to really get into the habit, but doing these three simple things will make a huge difference in how you feel. We'll keep talking over the next few weeks, but I'm not going to ask you to add anything else for a while. It's that important that you initiate these three things. If you have questions, struggles, or revelations, I invite you to come back here and discuss them in the comments. If you're not sure what foods have protein and carbohydrate, there is a list of each below.
I like to write things that are impactful and interesting, and this doesn't feel like one of those posts. I don't have a big emotional appeal to make, but I can tell you that you will feel better and be less inclined to overeat if you follow these three simple guidelines. Just give a try and see if it's worth it to keep going. These aren't rules and this isn't a diet; this is simply self-care. You deserve to feel good. Let me know how it goes.