Does eating lunch help you lose weight?

eating lunch - Does eating lunch help you lose weight?

  • Eating lunch speeds up your metabolism
  • Lose weight by eating brie, bacon and peanut butter
  • Take the 7 day eating lunch challenge

My last few posts were about bread and they got me thinking about high school and how I used to bring a salad for lunch. The ingredients? Vegetables. Plus a low-fat, store-bought dressing that I’d pour into a (clean!) Kodak film case.

Then I’d run between 10 and 17 kilometers after school with my cross country team.

eating lunch - Does eating lunch help you lose weight?

One day I blacked out during my run.

Over all the years I ate salad for lunch I was overweight.


Because after days of feeling hungry and depriving my body of it’s basic needs I’d end up over-eating.

I didn’t realize at the time, but I was caught in a vicious cycle of starving, binging and often purging, through exercise and other means.

My experience may be EXTREME but it highlights a common mistake people make when trying to lose weight. Whether you:

  1. eat small meals and then end up snacking
  2. eat a salad instead of a meal and then end up snacking
  3. skip meals because you over-ate and then end up snacking…

The result is the same.

You confuse your body.


Under-eating followed by over-eating slows down your metabolism. Then you gain weight.

But don’t worry! You can break this self-defeating pattern by getting your body into a healthy eating routine.

Eating lunch helps you get into a routine

Once I started eating 3 balanced meals and balanced snacks when I was hungry between meals I lost weight.

Meeting your body’s needs regularly speeds up your metabolism and helps you reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally.

When preparing your balanced meals, choose whole foods as often as you can. Remember, natural food (rather than processed) takes time to break down so it keeps you full longer and you eat less.

Eating lunch challenge

Now that you understand why eating a balanced lunch regularly helps you lose weight, you’re ready to take the eating lunch challenge.

While your goal is to eat a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s important to make small changes. So let’s start with lunch!

Over the next 7 days get your body into a healthy lunch routine.

For some people this might mean adding an apple or a dairy product (full fat is the healthiest) to your lunch. For others it could mean including a sandwich.

To help you get started here are the 7 sandwiches I ate over the last 7 days—they’re basically what I’ve been eating for lunch over the last 18 years that I’ve been a healthy weight.

Eating lunch Day 1:

Peanut butter and banana

eating lunch - peanut, butter and banana

Eating lunch Day 2:

Tuna, mayonnaise, a squeeze of Sriracha sauce to give it a kick, onion and celery with tomato & basil

eating lunch - Tuna, mayonnaise, a squeeze of Sriracha sauce

Eating lunch Day 3:

Cheese, cucumber, tomato, mayonnaise & basil

eating lunch - Cheese, cucumber, tomato, mayonnaise and basil

Eating lunch Day 4:

Avocado, brie, tomato & basil

eating lunch - Avocado, brie, tomato & basil

Eating lunch Day 5:

Egg, mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, onion and celery with tomato & basil

eating lunch - egg, mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, onion and celery with tomato & basil

Eating lunch Day 6:

Classic bacon, lettuce and tomato with mayo & basil

eating lunch - classic bacon, lettuce and tomato with mayo & basil

Eating lunch Day 7:

Smoked salmon and full-fat cream cheese with capers

eating lunch - smoked salmon on full-fat cream cheese with capers

When I was overweight I would NOT have eaten even half of one of these sandwiches for fear of gaining weight. During the 10 years I struggled, I thought I had to eat less than everyone else. I was sure I was born with a slow metabolism.

At the time I had no idea that all my food restrictions and being off and on diets was confusing my body.

After 10 years of eating in a disordered way I was completely frustrated. I decided it was more important to be healthy than to be thin. So I brought some order to my eating by getting into a healthy routine via a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I was shocked that this healthy pattern:

Please note:
Along with each of the 7 previous sandwiches I either had a latte or milky coffee made with 3.25% milk and a piece of fruit or sliced vegetables (like tomatoes, cucumbers and/or carrots) to make the meal more balanced.

Eating lunch challenge: Troubleshooting

These sandwiches are just ideas. Often I’ll eat a cheese, tomato and mayo sandwich a few days in a row because it’s fast to make and I always have cheese in the fridge.

All these sandwiches were made on the bagels I made from the easy bagel recipe I posted here. However the same sandwiches would be just as good on white bread, a wrap or any other bread you fancy.

Include a higher-fat filling on your sandwich when you’re eating lunch. Remember, fat from a natural source is part of a balanced meal, which helps you lose weight naturally. Eating fat also helps you stay full so you can concentrate on your real goals. Staying focused on what you care about helps you lose weight. And that’s not all! Eating fat prevents cravings. And cravings often lead to overeating.

Meal Prep:
Your goal is to eat a roughly balanced lunch made mostly of whole foods. Don’t count calories or weigh your portions. Stop getting lost in the details! Just assemble a sandwich.

What to expect after a eating a balanced lunch:
You should feel full! It’s good to feel full after lunch. Then you’ll know you’ve met your body’s needs, which keeps your body happy and thus, your metabolism ticking! It might take some time to get used to the feeling. Don’t overthink it. Just eat a balanced lunch and get busy with the work or fun you have planned for the afternoon. If you’re hungry again before dinner eat a balanced snack.

What if you’re hungry right after lunch?:
Get busy. Sometimes it can take 10 minutes or so to feel satiated after a balanced lunch. If you’re still hungry, eat a balanced snack. Then try eating slightly larger portions the next day when you prepare your balanced lunch.

Are you up for the 7 day eating lunch challenge?

Stop eating low-fat salads for lunch made with processed dressings. Processed dressings are full of artificial ingredients that confuse your body and make you feel hungry.

eating lunch - how many ingredients are natural

Eating lunch helps you lose weight

Take the 7-day eating lunch challenge. It will remind you what a healthy meal looks like and how good it feels to give your body what it needs.

Make Today Count

make today count - the10principlesGet into a healthy lunch routine. Make today count! Eat a balanced lunch today.

Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.

Does eating lunch help you lose weight?

Next Steps:

Take the 7 day lunch challenge. Start eating lunch! Ask a friend or family member to join you. Then consider how you can make your breakfast and lunch more balanced. Whether you’re eating very little most of the time or too much, you can turn your present choices into healthy habits. Sign up for my newsletter (below) and you’ll receive one of the best habit-building strategies I learned.

Stop “breaking all the laws of science” and start working with your body. Meet your body’s needs regularly. Eat a balanced lunch made of real food.

What does eating lunch usually look like for you? What’s your favourite sandwich?

  Buy Now - It took me 10 years to lose 10 pounds


Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it

Eating lunch helps you normalize your relationship with food and lose weight.

By |2018-08-15T15:38:39+00:00August 15th, 2018|Work With Your Body|10 Comments

About the Author:

Hi! I'm Kelly. I lost weight when I stopped dieting. And I got my life back. Here's more about my turning point and why I'm passionate about sharing what I learned.


  1. Catherine August 15, 2018 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    This post makes me brim with joy! This post just smashes out of ball-park the dieting mentality. When I used to be on a diet, I was scared to eat a sandwich, let alone put other things in them such as a full-fat cream cheese, smoked salmon, bacon, peanut butter and everything that you named. I thought that feeling full was not a feeling you should feel if you wanted to reach a healthy weight (and STAY there). But the proof is in the pudding. I now eat a sandwich very frequently, along with two other roughly balanced meals a day and I am losing weight slowly but surely. Thank you so much Kelly. Those bagels look awesome, by the way.

    The more I read your posts, the more I realise how you focus on helping us normalise our eating. Your advice almost mirrors the way a child would eat if they had little knowledge on nutrition and experience with dieting. They would know that vegetables, fruit have important vitamins and minerals and that meat, dairy and eggs help you grow strong and that bread and other refined carbohydrates give you energy and are necessary for our function and are to be mostly eaten as part of a (roughly) balanced meal. And children are often lean and healthy. It seems that the more we overthink things and buy into the dieting culture and industry, we end up getting caught in self-defeating cycles which can and will ruin our mental and physical well-being. It wasn’t until I started dieting that I forgot “how to eat normally” and ended up gaining more weight in the process.

    It takes some of us a while to realise that dieting just does not work. Period. Unfortunately, some of us may have to hit rock-bottom before realising this fact. My experience, like yours, was extreme as it culminated in a full-blown eating disorder (from severe restriction to severe binging). But, through going back to the basics and adhering to some principles such as breaking bad habits and creating healthier ones, I feel that I, too, am getting my life back. You’ve certainly helped this individual here, if not for many others who are also reading and following your wonderfully curated blog 🙂

    • Kelly Clark August 15, 2018 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much Catherine!

      I really love your statement:

      “It seems that the more we overthink things and buy into the dieting culture and industry, the more we end up getting caught in self-defeating cycles which can and will ruin our mental and physical well-being.”

      Getting lost in details (as dieting teaches us to do) lead me to over-complicate weight loss. Unlearning all the diet info we’re taught to believe can be the hardest part. For example, it took me a while to get used to higher fat milk after years of drinking and believing skim was best! Once I understood the importance of simplifying my approach and eating like a kid, as you’ve said, I lost weight.

      BIG CONGRATULATIONS Catherine for all the awesome progress you’re making!!! Keep up the great work and keep moving forward. Having setbacks is part of building healthy habits. Really appreciate your feedback. xoKelly

  2. Louise August 16, 2018 at 1:06 am - Reply

    I agree with Catherine that this is a great post – and so is your entire blog/site. I’m really happy to have found a kindred spirit and so many excellent posts. After a pre-diabetic blood sugar result in November 2016, I decided to improve my life by focussing on: eating 3 delicious, nutritious, and satisfying meals per day; slowly reducing portion sizes; slowly limiting or eliminating snacks; and enjoying occasional treats (baked goods, alcohol). I wasn’t looking to lose weight per se, mostly because I thought the post-menopausal weight gain was just an unmovable fact of life. Well, at the rate of about 1-2 pounds/month, I’ve now lost 20 pounds without ever feeling hungry or deprived! Exercise? Walking daily and swimming 3 times/week plus a generally active life.

    I found your blog about a month ago and really appreciate how well you’ve articulated how to go about leading a healthy and happy life. You’ve set out a blueprint for those who want to make positive changes. And although I’ve successfully been on much the same path, your posts have helped me go further. For example, I’ve been adding full fat dairy back in to my diet but was finding it surprisingly hard to go against so many years of low(er) fat programming. Your posts have been helpful!

    It’s frustrating to see friends continue to punish their bodies and themselves with rigid dieting and/or unhappiness about their weight. It seems everyone has to discover their own path but if there’s an opening, I hope to gently steer some towards your site.

    • Kelly Clark August 16, 2018 at 3:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your message Louise! I love that you’ve made change gradually and not deprived yourself. Those approaches are key (and took me 10 years to figure out!!) Your exercise routine is also great. I was a total over-exerciser and now do just 3 (25 min.) workouts a week. I also LOVE walking. My dog makes that choice easy! Your feedback means a lot to me and I’m excited you want to share this blog with your friends. xoKelly

  3. Kathy August 16, 2018 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Thanks, Kelly, this is really helpful! I’ve never made bagels and look forward to trying your recipe!

    • Kelly Clark August 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      I’m so happy this post resonated with you Kathy. I try to write about things that I struggled to figure out. If you have any specific questions, etc. let me know and I’d love to do a blog post on them! If I don’t know the answer I can do my best to find out. Thanks again Kathy, xoKelly

  4. Carole August 19, 2018 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I was interested to read Louise’s comment as I also was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and have since been following the dietary and lifestyle guidelines from the 10 Principles. I have always tried to eat healthily and thought I was on the right track but the diagnosis pulled me up short! I have been eating regular 3 meals per day, using natural foods, avoiding processed food and using full fats (cold pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil). I am careful which fruits I eat as many are high in sugar so in general, berries are best! I have just completed my 6 month review and have lost 2.2 kgs, 5cm from my waist and, best of all, my blood sugar reading, HbA1c is now 33, normal!! I exercise as much as I can, I am very active but try to fit in swimming twice a week and walk everywhere as much as possible. Yours is a very sensible approach Kelly and it works, I am the proof. Thank you!

    • Kelly Clark August 19, 2018 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      This is amazing news Carole! I’m so happy for you. Avoiding processed food, as you said, is so important. We’re trained by the diet industry to think low-fat diet food is good for us! I spent years reading the back of boxes and bags (of rice cakes, diet pop, low-fat yogurts, etc.) to check calories and fat content, believing wholeheartedly that I was making the best choices for my body. Now I know factory food is stripped of the fiber and nutrients that our bodies need and often replaced with sugar, artificial ingredients, salt, etc. Fake food keeps you feeling hungry! Woohoo re: your normal blood sugar reading. It’s wonderful to control your health through eating and exercise.

  5. Lee January 16, 2019 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I eat breakfast, I eat lunch and I eat dinner, but I still graze. I know my reason is boredom and right now we are very slow at work. I am fine on the weekends at home because typically we are busy. I think the only way I can overcome at work is to empty my desk drawer of snacks and eat a more filling lunch.

    • Kelly Clark January 16, 2019 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Lee! Thanks for writing about your experience. I think that “boredom” and “habit” are guilty as charged. That’s awesome you noticed a pattern. I used to love cracking open a can of diet pop (24 a day to be precise) and if I opened a pack of gum I had to chew every piece. Neither of these choices were out of hunger. Simply habit. Rather than feel disappointed in yourself and trying to have the WILLPOWER to stop right now (I tried that unsuccessfully for 10 years), try being kind to yourself by making small changes. Then the change you make will be lasting. This sounds so simple, and possibly frustrating if you want dramatic change. (Who doesn’t!?) BUT, I learned the hard way that gradual change is the FASTEST way to build a healthy habit. Here’s a technique that will help you STOP snacking at work: You can also bring an apple and/or other natural food for snacks so that if you’re hungry between meals you have healthy options. Let me know how it goes! 🙂 Kelly

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Never Miss A Post Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it.