Eating Your Daily Calories at One Meal

Thanksgiving is often a celebration around a meal.  But its origins, as the story goes, had to do with Native Americans saving the colonists by showing them how to plant, and how to harvest corn, squash, and other vegetables.  But it brings to mind, a habit of patients who gain weight.

Why? With Thanksgiving comes the habit of eating all the calories at one meal.  Some people do this even when it’s not a holiday.   They will eat nothing for breakfast, have minimal for lunch, then have several thousand calories for supper.

When the body is given excess calories – it stores them. Storage is done in fat– and getting energy out of fat is – well, difficult.

Don’t Fool Your Body Into Starvation Mode

For most of the day your body is in a “starvation” mode — and thus you are telling your brain that you need to preserve your fat stores because of the famine. Then you flood your body with food– and the body says– hey — we got food, lets store it.

You have two bad problems– your body wants to store fat, and you set your body up to store fat.

Instead, split your calories up in two or three meals. Do not make dinner (supper) your main calorie meal– but just another meal. This is different than a lot of people– but if you watch skinny people you will see that dinner isn’t a big meal for them.

Some have advocated six small meals a day– but this often results in eating far too many calories – and encourages grazing.

You want to stimulate your brain – so that it sees bulk in your stomach a couple of times a day. Bulk is fiber- such as vegetables (remember one cup of broccoli is 12 calories).

If you eat two to three meals a day– or two meals and a snack- your body will think it is in a “time of plenty.” It will make it easier for you to utilize your fat stores for energy. This is a hormonal process that is regulated from the hypothalamus (a part of your brain). If your body thinks you are starving it makes it much harder to utilize your fat stores– trying to save your life.

So, quickest way to lose weight – eat two to three meals a day- and divide your calories up evenly. Avoid the highly processed foods, like potatoes, corn, breads, pastas. Have a lot of vegetables —
and have a good Thanksgiving!

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit

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