Dinner like a King?

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I got home a wee bit late for my evening run.  It was pretty disappointing, but I need to rest (and do some extra work) more than I need to run.  I don’t mind missing general workouts, but I do hate to miss my mileage!  Grr!

 

I’ve started to compile my marathon training plan.  I’m basing it on a few different plans.  It’s a slow and painful process to put it together — the plan is 25 weeks long!

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I’m trying to identify any weekend activities that will throw off my long runs in advance:

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Afternoon snackies included cereal:

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Some random handfuls of granola… I was feeling snack-y!

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Dinner Part 1:

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I made a Chocolate Amazing Grass smoothie with Nasoya Silken Dark Chocolate, unsweet almond breeze, 1 scoop of Amazing Grass, and 1 banana.

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It was so chocolate-y and delicious!

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Dinner Part 2 was eaten around 8:30.  I had crackers, hummus, and broc.  Plus, more crackers.

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Do you Front or Rear Load Calories?

 

I had a comment earlier that my lunches are looking smaller (calorically) than usual.  Well, they are! On purpose!  Because I’ve been so stressed out, I’ve been wanting to snack more in the afternoon.  By eating a small lunch, I’m "budgeting" more room for bigger/frequent snacks in the afternoon.  Plus, my days are soooo long.  I always get hungrier later!

 

I know some people who like to eat breakfast as a king, lunch as a prince, and dinner as a pauper — they would rather front-load their calories.

 

Of course, I’m sure some people spread out their meals pretty equally throughout the day.

 

Do you front or rear load calories?   Why?

{ 59 comments }

 

  • Graze With Me July 14, 2009, 6:10 pm

    I try to front load my calories but my husband and I like to eat dinner together (it's the ONLY meal we eat together) and it can be a larger one sometimes. I guess breakfast and dinner are my biggest meals…the rest of the day is portioned out into smaller increments.

  • Marissa July 14, 2009, 6:11 pm

    I like to rear load. I find that it works best for me šŸ™‚

  • Rebeca @All Vegged Out July 14, 2009, 6:13 pm

    I rear load as well… I never really got why you'd front load because your body goes the longest without nourishment after dinner, not after breakfast, generally speaking… When I know I'm snacky I do the same thing, allow more room in my day with slightly smaller meals.

  • runnerskitchen July 14, 2009, 6:15 pm

    I know that many people advise eating more calories in the beginning of the day, but that just doesn't work for me. My dinner/night time snacks usually total around 900-1000 calories and then my breakfast (400), lunch (400), and afternoon snack (200-300) make up the rest. P.S. Your photo of the Kashi H2H is making me want some…I love that kind of cereal!

  • Matt July 14, 2009, 6:20 pm

    I eat pretty much the same at every meal, but I probably eat the most at night. I run first thing in the AM so it works out fine.

  • Help Meghan Run July 14, 2009, 6:25 pm

    I prefer to front load calories in terms of breakfast, but I like a smaller lunch and dinner with room for a substantial snack in the afternoon and after dinner. šŸ™‚ I like the fuel for when I'm being active!

  • Mica July 14, 2009, 6:26 pm

    I just read compelling evidence to front-load calories, but since I'm SO BAD at listening to hunger signals, I'm not sure that it would prevent me from front and back loading all my calories. Oh well, I shall give it a try.

  • RhodeyGirl/Sabrina July 14, 2009, 6:26 pm

    I never mean to, but usually breakfast is biggest, lunch is big but eaten in 2 parts (3 hours apart) and then dinner is super light, sometimes even just 200 calories. Over time I realized that this is because my mind is so active during the day (and body too) that I NEED the energy during the day. The only time I eat big dinners is when I go out to eat, and then the next morning brekkie usually turns into brunch.

  • Nicole (anotheronebitesthecrust.wordpress.com) July 14, 2009, 6:30 pm

    I find that I pretty much eat the same amount each time through out the day!

  • meghanN July 14, 2009, 6:30 pm

    I guess I tend to rear load..without really trying. I just find that I am wayy hungrier in the afternoon evening time than I am earlier in the day!

  • *Andrea* July 14, 2009, 6:34 pm

    love to see your training schedule. i decided to create a spreadsheet too! thanks for the motivation šŸ™‚ i tend to REAR load my food for a strange reason. i find that when i eat a lot for lunch at work i get groggy and tired when i get back to my desk. so instead i eat a lot in the later part of the day. i also workout at 7-8pm so i like to have a carby/filling dinner after and then pass out šŸ˜‰

  • Kelly (Beneath It All) July 14, 2009, 6:38 pm

    I try to keep mine even throughout the day. I must be hard to have such long days and have to spread out your calories thinner throughout the day.

  • Kathy (Moving Beyond Perfection) July 14, 2009, 6:38 pm

    I tend to front load in the morning/lunch and then I am generally just not as hungry at night for dinner. I'll for sure have some snacks between lunch and dinner, but I don't like going to bed with a full stomach so I try not to overeat at night. Also, my workouts are at night so I can't have too much food in my stomach for them!

  • hookedup July 14, 2009, 6:38 pm

    I tend to front load. My breakfast is not usually large although sometimes it is but my lunch is definitely my biggest meal. Dinner is whatever I am hungry for which could be small or large.

  • Bec July 14, 2009, 6:40 pm

    I try to balance out but dinner is usual the bigger meal when I eat with my family

  • emily July 14, 2009, 6:40 pm

    I try to rear load – I could easily not eat until 5pm every day (but I do eat lunch and breakfast b/c it is healthier), but I am always starving at night.

  • Rose July 14, 2009, 6:43 pm

    I feel like my meals are pretty balanced in terms of calories. I don't snack that much (usually just an apple or grapes in the afternoon), so everything hits around the same amount.

  • Lauren July 14, 2009, 6:44 pm

    Hmm good question. I don't really think I do either. I typically balance out 3 large meals and save my sweet snack for after dinner. (Usually fruit) I find that this works for me, but I know it would definitely not work for others.

    I'm such a firm beleiver in listening to your body and doing whatever works best. I've been eating this way for years and haven't gained any weight so I know it works for me.

    I'm so sorry to hear that you are stressed. You have so much going on right now, I can see why you would be. Take it easy girl and do try and get some good rest and relaxation in. I always say this, but YOU DESERVE A VACATION!!! Seriosuly, when was the last time you had an off day or just even a day to yourself? You are constantly on that it's bound to catch up with you.

    Here is my recommendation for you….take a few days off from BOTH jobs, book a message, get a mani/pedi, drink lots of wine (paied with some fabulous dark chocolate) and spend some amazing time with your hubby. Sound good? šŸ™‚

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 14, 2009, 6:47 pm

    lauren i would love a vacation!!! i dream about a vacation!! i am going to visit my mother in tennessee in three weeks, i cannot wait. the husband isnt coming but thats ok, it will be nice to just not work and spend time with mommy.:)

  • Lisa D. July 14, 2009, 7:00 pm

    i'm sorry all this talk of front and rear loading is just calling for a "that's what she said"….sorry if thats too inappropriate. I find that when I eat a big breakfast I eat less throughout the day and I prefer it but lately I have been eating more at night—> smaller breakfast…it all cycles, at least you are budgeting wisely! And yes you do need a vacation! p.s. there are plenty of super AMAZING running trails in Boston! If you have time away from the summit

  • Courtney July 14, 2009, 7:01 pm

    I'd say sometimes I have a heavier breakfast and a lighter dinner, but generally, an even amount of both.

    Way to budget the cals!

  • Christina July 14, 2009, 7:02 pm

    My meals are all usually around the same size, with breakfast probably being a tiny bit bigger than the others because I don't have a mid morning snack!

  • Becca July 14, 2009, 7:07 pm

    I always always "rear load" (haha, that sounds funny to me for some reason tonight) my calories, simply because I'm never hungry in the mornings. It takes me until 10 or 11am to work up an appetite usually.

  • Kim July 14, 2009, 7:13 pm

    Definitely rear-load… I've always been a light breakfast eater (toast and coffee kind of girl), which works out well because it leaves lots of room in the PM for extra snacks, dinners out, or impromptu trips to Cold Stone šŸ™‚

  • jaimegirl July 14, 2009, 7:14 pm

    ALWAYS rear load. about 3/4 of my calories are at dinner and maybe a midnight snack(i usually get to sleep around 2 or 3 am, get up around 7 am). i LOVE so many healthy foods and the way they taste, but HATE the way they feel inside me after i eat them. they tend to just sit in my stomach and make me extremely bloated(like, 3 month pregnant bloat) and i take forever to digest. i was diagnosed with IBS a while back, so this probably has a lot to do with it, but mostly i just like to feel sort of light and "empty" during the day while i work/run/work out/socialize, etc. so i eat most of my calories a few hours before bed, so they can do their thing while i sleep

  • leslie July 14, 2009, 7:17 pm

    i definitely front load. my breakfasts are massive, and i wouldn't have it any other way! but i think it's very practical for you to space your eating throughout the day – your days are so long! hope you get some rest tonight. šŸ™‚

  • nicoleishappy July 14, 2009, 7:59 pm

    i rear load bc i like to snack and it makes sure i do not over eat.

  • Ally July 14, 2009, 8:11 pm

    I usually front load, but find even if I've worked out in the evening I'm not all that hungry after dinner.

    P.S. I've just started reading your blog and love it-you've given me so many inspirations for snacks and meals. Yay for good food!

  • letsketchup July 14, 2009, 8:11 pm

    LOVE this topic because i've been thinking about it a lot lately! i'm a definite front-loader. i'm always STARVIN MARVIN when i wake up. i wake up at 6:00 in order to shower and get ready for work, and end up eating around 7. by the time i get to work, check e-mails and do a few things, it's already 10 and my stomach is growling. then, i usually eat "small meals" every 2-3 hours – kind of like you! i always feel weird because NO ONE ELSE eats, but then i realize that they eat huge lunches and probably go home starving to huge dinners. i'd rather eat throughout the day and have a light dinner at night.

    wow, i'm rambling… but the point is – comparing is bad! do what works for you šŸ™‚

  • letsketchup July 14, 2009, 8:17 pm

    oh, and i love this saying re: front loading – "i fuel my car before i go out for a drive, not before i put it in park for the night." šŸ™‚

  • Susan July 14, 2009, 8:32 pm

    I usually eat a huge breakfast because I'm so hungry in the morning! My eats until suppertime are more small and frequent, and then I like a decent sized dinner and a hefty snack before bed (so I don't wake up starving in the middle of the night). You would think the nighttime snack would stave off my morning hunger, but I'm pretty convinced my stomach doesn't sleep while the rest of me does šŸ˜›

  • Tammy (Defining Wellness) July 14, 2009, 8:36 pm

    I do the same thing that you do and base it on the day. Some days, I'm just really in the mood for a big breakfast, and other days, I know I have a bigger dinner planned. I try to be cognizant of both my physical hunger signals and my mood. Every day is different, but as long as I'm satisfied and not stuffed, I'm a happy camper!

  • heyitstay July 14, 2009, 8:48 pm

    I used to insanely rear end my calories when I was losing weight counting points (through Weight Watchers). I would end up with so many leftover points, I would go crazy snacking at night even if I was hungry!

    So I started to eat a larger breakfast and was surprised that a decent sized breakfast can hold me over for 3-5 hours vs. my old breakfast I would be hungry after 2!

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) July 14, 2009, 8:54 pm

    I've usually rearloaded my meals because I always find myself hankering for a big, substantial dinner after my full days. Lately I've been trying to eat bigger breakfasts/morning meals, though, bc I've been finding myself still super snacky after din, aka I haven't eaten enough all day. So more pancakes in the a.m. it is!

  • Kate July 14, 2009, 8:56 pm

    I front load, as I work out in the mornings, and I am SO hungry for breakfast and my morning snack! I barely need an afternoon snack so long as I have a good lunch (I often have fruit, because I like eating, but I ALWAYS need some real carbs at morning tea time). My dinners are probably not "pauper" enough as I often eat too late- need to work on that!

  • Emily July 14, 2009, 8:59 pm

    I usually front load my calories because I have a longer time period in between breakfast and lunch, and somehow having a big breakfast helps me push through the morning.

  • Amanda (My Summerizations) July 14, 2009, 9:18 pm

    I rear load calories. I love eating dinner with my friends at night so it's more of a social thing and I end up eating more calories. Plus, I grew up eating small breakfasts so my body is used to it that way!

  • Amanda (Panda) July 14, 2009, 9:54 pm

    Definitely a front loader. I'm just super hungry in the morning. I eat a big breakfast and then usually have a small snack before lunch, followed by a light lunch and some power snacks in the afternoon before working out, then a light dinner of some kind.

  • MarathonVal July 14, 2009, 10:44 pm

    Hi Caitlin, I was wondering if you are worried taht it will be harder to ge thte miles in once you are on vacation?

    I try to front load calories when I am by myself, but when with the hubby, I end up being dinner-laden because that is our main meal together. I love it, but it's also a bit inconvenient at the same time!

  • Thinspired July 14, 2009, 11:40 pm

    Unfortunately I grew up with big dinners so my natural tendency is to rear-load! That sounds funny šŸ˜‰ I know it's not ideal though so I am trying to evenly disperse them like you!

  • Lexie July 15, 2009, 3:38 am

    I would say I eat more calories in the afternoon b/c that is when I tend to snack more. The morning and early afternoon, I don't have enough time to snack and usually am not as hungry until after 3 or 4.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 15, 2009, 3:44 am

    val – im not really worried about getting in the miles because it will just be me and mom and i know she doesnt mind if i run. but when i have vacations or other events, i dont "plan" to run long distances so i dont end up disappointed if it doesnt happen. basically, i dont like to set myself up to fail! šŸ™‚

  • Adi (oatonomy.com) July 15, 2009, 4:15 am

    I bookend my day! More at breakfast/dinner, less at lunch. Ideally though, I'd front load my eats.

  • Kelly July 15, 2009, 5:35 am

    I definately rear-load my calories. I work 8am-4:30pm and it's a desk job, so I spend all.day.sitting. But, I workout and am most active in the evening, and I find THAT'S when I'm hungry. Plus, rear-loading my calories means I get to eat "normal" (what my husband calls them) dinners with the hubs without having to freak about the calorie content. It just works for me!
    I think it really depends on how your day is structured though…

  • Jess July 15, 2009, 5:41 am

    I tend to rear load but snack constantly throughout the day. It's every two hours like clockwork.

    Just curious, why did you decide not to use the training schedule that TNT provides?

  • earthybrit July 15, 2009, 5:43 am

    I work crazy hours, some early some late. It ranges from 4 am to 11 pm. So I usually eat throughout the day and it's whenever I get home from work that I eat more. I never have time to sit and eat at work, maybe a yogurt here, green smoothies there, avacadoe. So it depends on my hunger level, sometimes I front load because I am hungry and sometimes I have dinner like a king. I just listen to my body, plus my job is very active and fast pace.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 15, 2009, 5:43 am

    jess – based on the TNT programs i've seen, they require more days of running than i can do. honestly, im not sure how often i'll be running with TNT anyway because my schedule is so crazy. i bet i end up joining them for like two long runs.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 15, 2009, 5:43 am

    jess – based on the TNT programs i've seen, they require more days of running than i can do. honestly, im not sure how often i'll be running with TNT anyway because my schedule is so crazy. i bet i end up joining them for like two long runs.

  • Colleen July 15, 2009, 5:46 am

    It depends on my day…usually breakfast and lunch are the same amount of calories every day, but on nights I have school my dinners are much smaller…I can't be going to sleep during class from a big dinner! Usually the morning after classes I'll have a little something extra mid-morning to make up the difference.

  • Megan July 15, 2009, 6:26 am

    Caitlin,

    Are you planning on sharing the training plan that you end up with? I'm just curious what you end up with as I am trying to modify some plans to make my training fit in with my busy schedule too. And I definitely trust you more than I trust me with this stuff! šŸ™‚
    Thanks!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 15, 2009, 6:29 am

    meg – yes will do!

  • seesaraheat July 15, 2009, 6:54 am

    It depends on the day, my exercise schedule and my appetite really. I like to snack too so most of the time all three of my meals are about even. It really depends šŸ˜‰

  • The Decayed Gentlewoman July 15, 2009, 7:20 am

    I used to be more of a rear-loader but when I was trying to lose weight, my nutritionist had me front load and it really paid off. I do a lot better if I never have a chance to feel hungry during the day.
    On the other hand, sometimes if my breakfast is too big, it really throws me off my schedule. Yesterday my breakfast was bigger than normal and I didn't want lunch until 2:30!

  • beesknees July 15, 2009, 8:11 am

    I am a rear loader. I sit all day at a desk and don't get all that hungry until after my evening workout. Like a previous commenter, I like to make dinner with my hubby and although we cook healthy, it ends up being a bigger meal so I eat less during the day time. It works for me and I think when you eat isn't as important as how many calories you take in total for the day, so when you eat the biggest meal should be when you want it to be!

  • Amy July 15, 2009, 8:40 am

    I'm a total rear-loader, and I'm trying to change that. It's what I do, but i don't think it is what works best for me. My sleeping patterns have been completely erratic and I think it is on account of my late night noshing. I believe that earlier eating is better, but I have yet to know it for sure!

  • Andrea July 15, 2009, 9:25 am

    I'm totally a rear loader. Which isn't always a good thing. I try to eat more equally with a little big bigger dinner

  • Sarah W. July 15, 2009, 10:17 am

    I used to rear load cals b/c I found that I snacked more in the evenings since I was home bymyself. then I realized my snacking was WAY out of control and have begun to front load my cals and I LOVE it. I serously eat breakfast like a king (on most days) a smaller lunch and even smaller dinner. If I swim then I might have a few extra cals before my workout or with dinner. i love front loading the cals now.

    plus i've realized, with a few off track ddays that eating a bunch of crap at 8pm and going to bed 2 hours later doesn't farewell for whatever is plaguing me – acid reflux perhaps? gross!

  • Beth @ CrossBorderCravings July 15, 2009, 11:26 am

    I used to alway front load my calories because I enjoy dinner so much and I'd rather save up for those foods. But since I work 12-9 each day I found it was no fun to do that because I'd be STARVING by dinner and eat too much. Now that I see all the yummy breakfasts in the food blog world I've been doing the opposite with great results!

  • roseyrebecca July 16, 2009, 2:44 pm

    When I'm at my apartment, I front load my calories because I have more time to prepare big breakfasts. When I'm working and staying at my parent's house, I eat more snacks during the day so my meals are pretty equal.

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