When "Rules" Collide

When "Rules" Collide

When "Rules" Collide

Outrageous experiments in sensible eating.
Jan. 19 2011 4:21 AM

When "Rules" Collide

Here are some popular eating tips:
Don't skip meals.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Don't eat if you aren't hungry.
Eat when you're hungry; stop when you're full.

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But what if you're not hungry for breakfast? Do you force yourself to eat something so you're not skipping meals, especially the "most important meal of the day"?

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I've often heard women complain that if they eat breakfast, it makes them hungry all day, but if they wait until they get hungry, they eat less overall during the course of the day. For many years, I was one of these women. Breakfast was at 11, 3, or whenever, but this took a toll on my blood-sugar and energy levels.

For this project, I've started eating breakfast at home in the morning, which usually means after I've been out walking the dog from 8 to 9 a.m.. Yesterday morning, I had to leave early for an appointment, so I ate breakfast at around 8:15, and not only was I not hungry, I actually felt sick, but I made myself eat it anyway. Was this the right thing to do?

Ellen Tarlin is a former Slate copy chief and writer of the "Clean Plate" blog. Her essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Boston PhoenixBrooklyn Bridge, Bark, and  the RISK storytelling podcast. Follow her on Twitter.