Dr Vernon Coleman's Slim For Life Programme

Vernon Coleman

Warning: You should not begin any diet without first checking with your doctor. Successful dieting can affect your body in many ways and may alter your need for prescription drugs.

Nibbling: The Painless Way To Lose Weight Permanently
Eating three square meals a day is old-fashioned and bad for you. The healthy way to eat is to eat mini-meals - and to eat little and often. You probably think of it as nibbling. Marketing experts call it `grazing' because it is the way that wild animals eat. Whatever you call it, eating numerous small meals is much better for you than eating just three big meals. Follow this regime and you will lose weight quickly, efficiently, painlessly and permanently - without taking tablets, performing exercises, spending money on special foods or feeling hungry.

Just look at the evidence:

* A group of doctors working in Canada have shown that nibbling is good for your health - and an excellent way to slim.

* Researchers at Tokyo Medical School have concluded that `three meals a day are quite artificial'. They have pointed out that in contrast to big meals - which lead to fat storage - mini-meals are burned up as soon as they are eaten.

* Researchers in America have shown that slimmers can lose two to three pounds a week while grazing, even though they may be eating 300 calories a day MORE than slimmers on other diets.

* Tests in Wales have shown that one group of people who `grazed' gained no weight while another group who ate the same food as three set meals gained up to ten pounds each in just three weeks.

* Research in Chicago showed that when young children are encouraged to `graze' and eat mini-meals rather than eat big set meals they grow up slim and healthy.

Other studies have shown that if you nibble - instead of gorging yourself on three big meals a day - you will have lower cholesterol levels and be less likely to suffer from heart disease.

All the available evidence shows clearly that if you eat mini-meals whenever you are hungry your body will burn up the calories you consume. By spreading your energy intake throughout the day you won't ever feel hungry or faint. And you will be far less likely to put on weight than someone who eats three square meals a day.

Meals are bad for you.

Most of us eat at fixed meal-times. We eat at breakfast time, in the middle of the day and again in the evening. But as far as your body is concerned this is a bizarre, unnatural and thoroughly irrational way to eat. Your body doesn't just need food three times a day. It needs energy supplies all day long. By choosing to eat fixed meals you create problems for yourself.

Here are three reasons why you should never eat another meal again:

1. When you eat at fixed mealtimes you eat whether you are hungry or not. Instead of obeying your body's inbuilt appetite control centre you eat because the clock shows that it is time to eat. Your body's internal appetite control can make sure that you never get fat - if only you let it. But eating meals at fixed meal times means that your natural appetite control centre doesn't get a chance to work properly.

2. When you eat at fixed mealtimes you tend to eat what is available, what you have prepared or what you have been given - whether you need it or not. It is easy to eat the wrong foods - and to eat too much.

3. Because you and your body know that it will be some hours before you eat another big meal there is a tendency to overeat. Your body then stores the excess food as fat so that you can live off the fatty stores while you are not eating. But because you probably nibble a little between meals your body will never need to burn up that stored fat - besides your next fixed mealtime probably comes just before your body starts burning up those stored fat deposits.

Meal times are not natural. They were invented because they just happen to fit in with the way most of us work and live. If you get most of your calories three times a day at fixed meal times then you are almost certain to end up overweight. Calories that aren't burnt up straight away will end up stuck on your hips. And however much you try to diet the chances are that you will fail.

The BEST way to slim successfully is to eat small amounts of food whenever you feel hungry.

Make meals a thing of the past! `Grazing' is healthy. And it will help you stay slim.

And while you're changing your eating habits make a real effort to eat LESS. Most of us eat far too much - dangerously overloading our bodies!

Golden rule
If you are going to try my MINI-MEAL DIET there is one golden rule that you MUST remember:


Every time you are about to eat ask yourself if you are genuinely hungry.

If you are then - eat!

But as soon as your hunger has gone - stop eating!

The MINI-MEAL diet depends heavily upon you learning to recognise when you are hungry - and being prepared to obey your body.

Silver rule
The MINI-MEAL diet will work best if you leave between 60 to 90 minute gaps between MINI-MEALS.

What can you eat?
Don't be worried or puzzled about what you can eat - and how you can eat a balanced diet without eating meals. There is no need at all to worry. The type of food you need to eat isn't going to change at all - just the way you eat it!

Twenty Sample Mini-Meals
1. Mixed vegetable soup (90 calories)
2. Baked beans on wholemeal toast (140 calories)
3. Raw carrot with dip (70 calories)
4. Small herb omelette (200 calories)
5. Tomato salad (30 calories)
6. Low fat yoghurt (70 calories)
7. Boiled egg with slice of bread (200 calories)
8. Raw apple (60 calories)
9. Salad sandwich on wholemeal bread (180 calories)
10. Slice of melon (15 calories)
11. Bowl of porridge (300 calories)
12. Corn on the cob (100 calories)
13. Vegetable pasty (230 calories)
14. Half a grapefruit (15 calories)
15. Bowl of cornflakes with soya milk (150 calories)
16. Fresh fruit salad (50 calories)
17. Spaghetti with tomato sauce (250 calories)
18. Baked potato with cottage cheese and pineapple (170 calories)
19. Grilled vegetable burger in bun (400 calories)
20. Two toasted muffins with honey (400 calories)

Bonus Number 1
The MINI-MEAL diet may help to lower your blood cholesterol level.

A recent American study showed that men who ate every hour (instead of three times a day) had lower blood cholesterol levels. In Canada researchers found that people who ate 17 (yes, 17!) snacks a day had less fat in their blood than people who ate identical food in three large, main meals.

Big meals stimulate the body to produce insulin to cope with the high blood sugar levels that follow. And the insulin stimulates the liver to produce cholesterol.

By lowering your cholesterol levels the MINI-MEAL diet may help to protect you against heart disease.

Bonus Number 2
The MINI-MEAL diet won't just help you get slim. Eating MINI-MEALS will also help you to live longer.

When you start eating MINI-MEALS you will soon find that you are fussier about what you eat - and you will eat only what your body needs.

By eating just what your body needs you will look younger, feel more energetic, feel sexier, avoid infections and diseases such as arthritis and live longer.

In Okinawa in Japan people eat just 40% less than other Japanese people - they also have lower rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and mental illness. And more people from Okinawa live to be 100 years old than from anywhere else in Japan.

Reducing your food intake will probably increase your life expectancy and reduce your susceptibility to illness.

If you are going to start the MINI-MEAL diet then you must STOP eating meals. You can't eat MINI-MEALS and ordinary meals as well!

You don't have to be unsociable and leave your family and friends to eat alone. If they want a meal sit down with them but just eat a snack.

The Mini-Meal Diet Will Help Take Advantage Of Your Body's Central Eating Control Mechanism
Your body has an impressive appetite control centre which can make sure that you never get overweight or underweight. It can even make sure that you eat the right mix of foods - so that your body obtains all the protein it needs and the right mix of vitamins and minerals.

The existence of the appetite control centre in your brain was first identified in research work done by Dr Clara M Davis of Chicago in the 1920s. Dr Davis's initial aim was to find out whether newly weaned children could choose their own food and eat enough to stay alive, select a good balance of different types of food without being told what to eat and pick foods designed to keep them healthy.

The infants in Dr Davis's experiment chose excellent and well varied diets. Their growth rates, development and appearance were just as good as those of babies who had been given foods selected by nutritionists. The babies chose the right food - and just as important - ate them in the right quantities. And they stayed healthy.

Later Dr Davis reported that in an additional research project, she had studied 15 infants for between 6 months and 4 and a half years and had come to the conclusion that they all were able to select a good variety of satisfying foods, ensuring that they ate neither too much nor too little. Their eating habits were, of course, unplanned and may have looked rather chaotic to the trained eye but none of the infants ever developed stomach ache or became constipated. None of the children who were allowed to choose their own diets became chubby or fat.

Subsequently further research, this time done with soldiers, showed that when adults were allowed access to unlimited supplies of food they ate just what their bodies needed. Even more startling was the fact that the soldiers varied their diet according to their environment, quite naturally selecting a mixture of protein, fat and carbohydrate that was ideal for their circumstances and needs.

The conclusion has to be that the presence of the appetite control centre means that if you listen to your body when it tells you what - and how much - you need to eat and you will stay slim and well fed for life.

Despite the existence of this astonishing appetite control centre most of us do get fat, of course. We eat the wrong types of food. And we eat the wrong quantities. There are several reasons for this.

Some people eat because they are depressed or anxious or miserable. They eat because they are bored. And they don't stop eating when they are no longer hungry. They become overweight - or ill - because they have overridden their appetite control centres.

There is evidence that babies who are bottle fed are more likely to put on excess weight than babies who are breast fed. And, of course, fat babies often grow into fat children who then grow into fat adults.

The appetite control centre is directly controlled by the amount of sugar circulating in your blood and is designed to ensure that you eat what your body needs, when your body needs it and in the quantities required. Things go wrong because you ignore your appetite control centre, and instead of eating according to your needs eat according to behavioural patterns imposed on you by the society in which you live.

Our eating habits are usually established when we are very small. We are taught to eat at meal times (whether or not we are hungry). We are told off if we don't clear up all the food on our plates (whether or not we need it). We learn bad habits and we learn to ignore our appetite control centre.

If you were bottle fed when you were a baby then the chances are that you started picking up bad habits before you could sit down at the table. One reason why bottle fed babies tend to get fatter than breast fed babies is that while it is impossible to see how much milk has been taken out of the breast (and, therefore, how much is left) it is all too easy to see exactly how much is left in the bottle. Anxious mothers tend to encourage their babies to empty the bottle even WHEN their babies are no longer hungry. (In fact there is another device in the female breast to make sure that breast fed babies do not get overweight before their appetite control centre starts to function properly. The contents of breast milk change slightly when the mother's body decides that her baby has had enough to drink. This change in the constituents triggers the end of the baby's feeding response. Breasts are far more sophisticated than most of us realise).

These distorted behavioural patterns all help to ensure that your appetite control centre is ignored and overruled. Your eating habits are controlled not by your body's genuine need for food but by a totally artificial conception of its requirements. By the time we reach adulthood most of us have learned to eat for all sorts of bizarre reasons. We have learnt to eat when we are sad or lonely. We have learned to eat when we are happy or want to celebrate. We have learned to eat simply because it is an official meal time and everyone else around us is eating. We eat what the advertising copywriters want us to eat and we eat it when the boss says we should eat it.

However, you can break all these bad habits. And by following the MINI-MEAL diet you can allow your appetite control centre to re-establish itself. By abandoning habits which overrule your appetite control centre, by learning to eat when you need to eat and by listening to your body (so that you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are no longer hungry) you will find it possible to lose weight and maintain a steady weight without following an artificial dieting programme!

For more about food, healthy eating and dieting read Food for Thought by Vernon Coleman. Food for Thought is available from the shop on this website and from all good bookshops everywhere.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2007