(if anyone dares to comment ‘first world problems’…)
Normally, people in the developed world have three meals a day: one in the morning, one at midday, and one in the afternoon. However, considering I’m about to evolve into the strange subset of humans known as Impoverished University Students, I think it would be advantageous to get some experience of being malnourished now, so that the inevitable choice between rent and breakfast will have slightly less painful consequences.
Today, I got up at eleven, and had breakfast; it’s now five in the afternoon, six hours later, and I’m not feeling too good – I’m lethargic, pretty hungry, and my blood sugar is relatively low, so exercising is out of the question, as that would require eating to raise my sugar level first. However, I’m convinced that these pains will sod off if I simply get used to having two meals a day; I’m no dietician, but I’ve skipped lunch at school before, and have felt alright, provided that I have enough things to do in the afternoon – lessons, homework etc – to distract me from my hunger pains. And if there’s one thing I’ll have plenty to do at university, it’s work.
The model I hope to follow is that of a large breakfast, perhaps an early brunch, and a large tea (by which I mean evening meal, or ‘dinner’, not the afternoon-tea-and-cakes nonsense that’s sadly still a part of British culture); the morning meal will have to be fairly early, and fixed, as skipping breakfast is much harder than skipping lunch, but tea will be more flexible. For instance, tea can be an individual thing – a bacon toastie thrown together while reading Chaucer – or a social thing – going out for a meal to celebrate an achievement, birthday etc – and so having a flexible evening meal, both in terms of its size and time during the day, means that social appointments can be kept without having to eat twice, or not at all, in one evening.
Two meals a day has other advantages: there is the obvious economic one, that I won’t have to buy bread-making materials for lunch, and perhaps a health one, because I’m too proud to admit that I probably need to go on a diet, so I’ll lose weight by cutting out a meal, rather than counting individual calories in meals, an act which requires a small admission that I kinda failed to look after my body properly.
Also, my parents recently tried a diet which consisted of one meal a day for a few months; they said that the transition from three to one daily meal was made easier because they had been similarly underfed at university, and so found it easier to adapt to a lower-calorie lifestyle than perhaps someone with similar heights and weights, but without this experience. If I can get used to eating less now, it’ll come in handy if I actually admit I have to diet in thirty years’ time.
But it’s equally likely that the team of dieticians and nurses I have to monitor my diabetes will tell me to piss off when I tell them this idea; fewer meals does mean less life-saving insulin, after all. Bloody diabetes.