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Lunch time

It was 12:38 and I wasn’t starving, shocking me enough to interrupt my typing. I double checked the clock in my system tray. How bizarre, I thought. I always get hungry by noon. Before I could blame one of my medications for lack of appetite, I realized there was an answer that didn’t involve reuptake inhibitors.

It was Daylight Saving Time.

While my computer clock said it was 12:38, my body clock said it was 11:38, so I got up to eat both earlier and later than usual. It happened again that evening after my short-term memory had cleared my earlier realization and I momentarily was amazed that I hadn’t eaten anything by 7pm.

These tricks with time made me realize how linked my eating is to the clock. I eat breakfast at around 7:30. I have a mid-morning snack, but don’t eat lunch until noon. Then there is the afternoon snack and dinner right when I get home. It’s not timed to the second, but I eat on a regular schedule. I wasn’t entirely conscious of it before, but I evidently glance at the clock to tell me if it’s ok to eat.

Part of me thinks I shouldn’t be tied to a clock. I should eat when I’m hungry. But another part of me thinks the routine helps keep me in check because I know how much I can eat when and not be consuming too much for the day.

How about you guys? Do you look at the watch before you look in the fridge?

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30 Comments

Skye • March 9, 2009 at 10:00 am

Absolutely. Eating every four hours can be restrictive, but I tend to find myself face down in a trough of baked goods if I allow myself to get ravenous. It’s probably not for everyone, but it gives me a bit of control over food, which beats the hell out of feeling powerless.

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Lisa • March 9, 2009 at 10:03 am

I could eat no matter what time of day and no matter what my body is telling me. I definitely eat by the clock. It is not like I force myself to eat at a specific time, rather I do not allow myself to graze mindlessly. BYW, I’m not a big fan of DST. As a fellow hoosier, I’ve been spoiled by NOT resetting every time piece I own twice a year.

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BigFatPie • March 9, 2009 at 10:11 am

Hello…..sometimes i find that I’ll be happily going about my business, not thinking about food or even feeling hungry at all UNTIL i actually look at the clock and then it’s insta-hunger alert! Weird. Our clocks don’t spring forward till the end of this month so I have no clue what time it is in your part of the world! xx

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Barb Cooper • March 9, 2009 at 10:20 am

I don’t exactly use the clock to tell me when to eat but as a former eating disorder girl, I don’t ever really feel hungry. If I’m engrossed in something, I often forget to eat entirely, just as you mentioned in an earlier post.

I just started the SB diet a few days ago and I’m aware of some muted pangs coming from my stomach but I’m not starving. I am never starving. Which makes the “eat when you’re hungry” edict a little vague.

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moonduster (Becky of Skinny Deaming) • March 9, 2009 at 10:24 am

Definitely. I try and preempt any munchy attacks.

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forthright fattie • March 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

I have a wonky, grad school schedule, so I eat at different times. I’m also very anal, so I plan pretty much every bite that goes into my mouth. I can tell you now what I’ll be eating Friday evening around 8. The only time I’ll eat unexpectedly is if I need a snack–that’s when I eat because my body is telling me to. Otherwise it’s three well-planned squares.

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Tara • March 9, 2009 at 11:21 am

It’s definitly easier not to overeat if you’re not starving when you sit down. I don’t love eating by a clock either, but it makes it easier to keep my eating on track.

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JEM • March 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

The only meal I eat that is because of the time is lunch M-Fr. This is only because we shut down for lunch and always eat from 1pm-2pm at my job. I am always hungry for breakfast as soon as I wake up and I am super hungry for dinner when I get home at 7pm. If I am hungry, I usually eat something, no matter the time. Unless it is too close to bed time.

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Dee • March 9, 2009 at 11:26 am

I started out just eating when hunger struck. But as it turns out, hunger tends to strike at the same times each day.

So while I eat on a strict schedule, it’s not about the time, really. I feel the hunger, glance at the clock, and lo and behold, it’s the usual lunch time.

Although… I do use the clock to hold OFF. If it’s 11:30, and the hunger strikes, I’ll hold off until noon, repeating to myself that hunger is not an emergency.

Hmmm. Maybe I DO eat by the clock and have just been fooling myself??

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Nathan Goins • March 9, 2009 at 11:30 am

I don’t go by the clock for breakfast or dinner, but I could set my watch by the growls at 11:30 for lunch. You don’t screw with my lunch hour :)

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nolafwug • March 9, 2009 at 11:52 am

I’m still trying to work this one out. Eating by a clock seems unnatural to me. But I have the bad habit of putting off eating in favor of other to-do’s. Then it seems like my body remembers it was too hungry and the next couple meals it wants to be compensated by eating a lot! Seems less than ideal. Plus a part of me likes the eating a lot meals! Plus I don’t want to be a “food weirdo” any more. I’ve reached my goal weight and I’m trying to figure out how to eat more naturally. It’s a long road ahead it seems!

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Karen • March 9, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I actually use food as a way to alleviate the boredom of my work day (I know that isn’t such a great idea usually, but…). What I will do is tell myself “get through this task and then you can have a snack” and I usually won’t touch lunch until 1:00, even if I’m hungry, I will usually hold out til the stroke of 1pm…

I try to stick to this schedule on the weekends too, but it usually gets a little out of whack.

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Sophia • March 9, 2009 at 1:45 pm

@forthright fattie -

I love the word ‘wonky’ :-)

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PurpleGirl • March 9, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I wouldn’t recognize a regular eating schedule if one kicked me in the teeth. Sometimes I’ll graze all day, sometimes I won’t eat until 11 at night. Sometimes I don’t get up until four in the afternoon and have breakfast at eight.

God, no wonder I’m so screwed up. :)

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Jamie • March 9, 2009 at 2:23 pm

I mostly stick to a schedule, because it helps me keep the amount of food I eat in check. However, if i’m really hungry and it isn’t “time to eat,” I’ll have something. I’m still working on the whole not eating if I’m not hungry at mealtime thing. My kids eat whenver they’re hungry and don’t eat if they’re not. They’re both thin. I think it’s something I need to learn to do intuitively, but I guess if I could do that I wouldn’t have gotten fat to begin with.

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Ashley • March 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I definitely always check the clock, but it doesn’t keep me from eating. It just makes me feel guilty for eating cake at 10:30 in the morning. O.O

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Yum Yucky • March 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Uh oh – It’s 4:20 pm and I’m suddenly starving! You just reminded me that I’m supposed to be hungry and now I am. Thanks a lot!

(LOL)

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cloudy • March 9, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I eat breakfast at 10:00 am, lunch at 2:00pm and dinner at 8:00 pm every single day. I think this is part of my weight problem, because eating smaller meals earlier metered with a small snack in between like you do it is recommended.

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Bob • March 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm

unfortunately, if I ignore the clock, I tend to eat light during the day and eat bigger at night- which isn’t a good thing. When you run a marathon, they say you have to keep drinking water because by the time you feel thirsty, that’s a bad sign. I’ve come to think of eating like that.

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Christie • March 9, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I didn’t watch the clock to eat when I worked nights but now that I am working days – it just happens that way. Eat before you leave for work, at mid-morning, lunch, when you get home, and then at supper. That’s the 9-5 lifestyle, I guess.

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Angie • March 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm

I totally used the clock method when I was starting on this path. I had to treat my mini-meals like appointments for 6 weeks to get my body on a schedule and get my stomach to shrink. Now I get hungry just like you’re describing, for the most part. My body knows it’s going to get food at 8am, 11am, etc. So when my tum is growling, I look at the clock and it’s usually right on the nose. DST is not fooling anyone, apparently. :)

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Cin • March 9, 2009 at 7:53 pm

If I don’t look at the clock, I’ll eat all the time. My clock is my permission to eat, I guess. But you’re right, I wasn’t hungry when I should have been today.

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Shelly • March 9, 2009 at 8:22 pm

That explains so much about my hunger patterns the last couple of days! Thank you for pointing that out! Like you, I most often eat on a schedule-breakfast at 7am, lunch at 11am, and dinner by 6pm. After work, I have a cup of coffee with my fat-free half & half to hold me over until dinner or I starve by then and eat garbage I don’t need. But the last two days, I have drug out my breakfast and at 11am, I ate lunch, but I haven’t felt that hunger like normal. I never connected it with the time change, but that makes SO much sense. You are a genious!

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Shelly • March 9, 2009 at 8:29 pm

@Lisa -

I’m with you! I live in South Bend and we never had that foolish time change to mess with. It is such a pain! Gotta love good old Mitch!

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Tina • March 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

I do a little of both. I eat meals by the clock, largely because those are the times my body is truly hungry. I plan 2-3 light snacks daily, but I only eat them if I’m hungry.

I’m definitely having the same Daylight Savings issues as you–I’m a clockwork noon luncher, and today I didn’t eat til a little after 1. Let’s not even talk about how this has messed up my sleeping routine and morning workouts!

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Samantha • March 9, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I plan my meals and snacks on most days. I work at an elementary school so because of my job, I pretty much go by the clock when I am at work M thru F. The only chances I have to eat are my breaks when I am not working the kids.

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Jenny • March 9, 2009 at 10:01 pm

During my work/school days, I’m actually not able to eat three meals a day. It’s impossible, and I’d probably keel over. I have some hormone drama going on that leaves me very prone to hypoglycemia. Like a baby, I’m on a pretty regular 3 hour feeding habit, and when the stomach calls I pretty much have to oblige or I’ll get the shakes.

I never eat big meals though. I do a little breakfast, a mid morning snack, a lunch stretched out into two um, feedings, maybe a mid-evening snack, then dinner. That’s pretty horrifying to look at on paper, but it’s the only thing that keeps my energy up.

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Sweetie Pie • March 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm

I’ve totally been struggling with this. I say “struggling” because I figure if the clock, rather than my body, is telling me that it is time to eat, I’m not as tuned in to myself as I should be. It isn’t as much of a problem on the weekends, but, during the week, the clock effects me like one of Pavlov’s dogs.

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Deborah • March 11, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I struggle with this too. In my case, I DO eat by the clock, but I find, especially in the evening, that I’m not hungry when it’s dinner time. Unfortunately, my husband is hungry and if I don’t eat when he eats it becomes a whole big thing. I need to learn to eat smaller portions at dinner and then if I’m hungry later, have a snack, but I’m not so good at it, hence the struggle. Congrats to those of you who’ve found a system that works for you!

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Sheila • March 11, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Nope! I’ve lost weight by just listening to what my stomache says! Within the guidlines of heathly foods… sometimes its hard to distiguish the difference between hunger growls and digestion! :)

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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