Americans were raised on “three square meals a day.” Most Americans are also overweight. So you might be interested to know that changing that time-honored habit can help you lose weight.

French researchers found that a group of people who normally ate four meals a day actually gained fat when they switched to three meals per day. A second group that did the opposite lost fat. In both groups, the amount of calories consumed remained constant.

When I am busy — which is most of the time — I can easily skip a meal.  Today, for instance, I had a slice of bread and organic peanut butter for breakfast and nothing else but a protein shake until dinner. But now, I’m pretty damn hungry. So there’s a good chance I’ll eat like a horse at dinner. When you eat like that you can easily consume a day’s worth of calories in a single meal.

I think that is one reason why four meals works better than three. You tend to eat smaller portions and you tend to eat better foods. You are not starving so you don’t binge. And you don’t have a sweet tooth for junk.

If you are eating only two or three large meals each day, consider splitting your food intake into at least four meals. Five mini-meals might be even better. That’s what I’ve been doing lately.

The objective is to eat the same amount of food (or less) but spaced out throughout the day.

Here’s my eating routine:

Meal One: 7:00 a.m., while editing poetry. Two fried eggs (organic). One piece of toasted hemp bread. Two ounces of fresh juice. Coffee. Water.

Meal Two: 11:00 a.m., while writing in my studio. A protein bar and water.

Meal Three: 1:00 p.m. or 1:30 p.m., after my workout. Protein shake. Iced tea.

Meal Four: 5:00. Chicken or tuna, greens and water.

Meal Five: 8:00. A well-balanced dinner.

When I eat this way, I feel energized all day. I never have a slump after lunch and I have plenty of pep at night to enjoy my evening at home.

If you’ve had success with this or another regimen, let me know. I’m always interested in hearing about healthy eating programs that work.

Established in 2001, Early to Rise publishes information dedicated to helping you live your best possible life. Here you’ll find effective and proven strategies to increase your health, wealth and productivity.