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Day 32: The five-hour rule

Jenn J

Day 32: The five-hour rule

Here's an interesting question. If you're really hungry, do you need more food than if you're just a little hungry? As a rule, the answer is no-you just think you do. When you feel "starved," you're just more likely to overeat, even though your body would be satisfied with a lot less food.

Brenda is a sales representative who pitches her products to a lot of executives. When she's meeting with people over dinner, she usually doesn't eat much during the main part of the day so she can have more food in the evening.

By the time she sits down for her meal, Brenda feels starved. Because she's gotten so hungry, she eats a lot of appetizers and snacks, and then consumes a large dinner as well. By letting herself become way too hungry, Brenda loses her ability to judge portion amounts with her food.

Eat every three to five hours

For most people, getting too hungry simply contributes to more eating problems. When you feel really famished, you're a lot more likely to eat too much. You're also far less particular about your food choices.

To prevent this, use a five-hour rule to manage your hunger. Anytime you go longer than five hours between eating, you greatly increase the risk of overeating.

In The 3-Hour Diet, weight-loss coach Jorge Cruise suggests that dieters space all of their meals and snacks exactly three hours apart. Based on research on how food intake affects metabolism, Jorge believes this interval gives you the best level of energy at the same time it helps your body manage your weight more effectively.

To protect yourself from getting too hungry, maintain a stash of healthy snacks that you can grab quickly. Carry your food along when you go shopping, travel on airplanes, or attend long meetings at work. Don't worry about looking foolish. People will actually perceive you as someone who really cares about healthy eating.

Use both hunger and the clock

Sometimes hunger alone doesn't provide you with an adequate signal for when to eat. If you tend to go way too long between fuel stops, or you never get hunger signals, you may need a different approach.

In this case, use a combination of both tools-listening to your body and watching the clock. Plan to set up mealtimes in advance, and then regardless of your hunger level, eat within 30-minutes of your designated time.


Plan your mealtimes carefully, aiming for no more than three to five hours between meals or snacks.

Write your plan in your notebook, and then record the times you actually eat.

Notice any patterns such as whether you tend to overeat when you go too long between meals.

  Lyn💛 Replied:

  flower Replied:

  Jeanne- CE! Replied:

My energy and sense of overall well being are best managed with eating every few hours in smaller portions.

  Jenn J Replied:

I find I can go longer between "meals" if I eat a larger portion of protein.

I tend to not snack when I have more protein too.

The opinions expressed on this forum may not represent the opinions of Please consult your physician to determine the weight, nutrition and exercise levels that are best for you.