On the plane home, Iola Meadows reflected on her life She’d been on countless diets, but none ever stuck. Between a full-time job as a safety inspector, a packed volunteer schedule and loved ones who needed her, she couldn’t find the time for counting calories and prepping meals. But now she had diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Her doctor was urging her to make changes. And maybe God was urging her too. But where should she start? Lord, lead me to the help I need, Iola prayed.
A few days later, a Facebook post caught Iola’s eye. That’s a funny name, she thought, clicking on the Eat Like a Bear diet page. She was quickly drawn in by hundreds of success stories, most from women her age, many of whom had lost over 100 pounds. And they’d done it by eating just one huge meal a day, then “hibernating” between meals and allowing their bodies to live off their own fat. The meals they ate were low-carb, but could be made quickly with ordinary foods — and there was nothing to track or measure. Is this real? It sounds too easy, Iola thought. It’s even budget-friendly ! “I’ll try it for one week,” she told herself.
Iola felt a bit nervous when she skipped her usual breakfast sandwich the next morning. But it wasn’t hard to sip herbal tea until midday. Then she tucked into salad with chicken, cheese, bacon, and dressing. It was so big, she ate from a serving bowl. “That’s it for the whole day?” her husband, Stephen, asked. “That’s the idea,” she replied. “I’m Thanksgiving-full, so maybe it’ll work.” And it did! As Iola got ready for bed, she smiled. “I feel less hungry now than I do after a night of snacking!”
As days passed, Iola was a bit tired — yet, to her surprise, she had little hunger. And since food wasn’t the focus of the day, she suddenly had extra hours to do what she loved. Her pants loose, she bought a scale. In less than a week, she’d lost more than 10 pounds!
In the weeks that followed, Iola’s energy began to soar. She often read posts on the Eat Like a Bear diet site and learned about changes going on inside her. As she did her little mini fasts between meals, it was giving her body a chance to heal. Her skin, joints, and especially her metabolism were improving. Encouraged, Iola experimented with other “ridiculously big” meals, like a cauliflower-beef skillet loaded with so much cheese that it felt like cheating. Pounds continued to pour off. “Eating one big meal a day is like magic. I’m ago,” she shared with friends.
‘Eat Like a Bear’ Diet Meals are Hearty and Slimming
To use Iola’s approach, set an eating window (one to four hours long) during which you’ll eat all your daily food — unlimited veggies, eight ounces of protein, and several servings of natural low-carb extras (like nuts, berries, oil, dressing, and cheese). Sip natural zero-calorie beverages whenever you wish. Though Iola didn’t count or track, each of her “ridiculously big” meals contained 1,200 to 2,000 calories. Learn more at EatLikeABear.com.
VEGGIES GALORE: Warm a skillet on medium-high, add 1 tablespoon of oil and 3 to 4 cups veggies, fresh or frozen; cook until crisp-tender.
FLAVORFUL SAUCE: Mix 1⁄4 cup to 1⁄2 cup broth, garlic and/or onion powder, any spices you like and soy sauce or salt to taste; add to skillet.
HEARTY PROTEIN: When veggies are tender, add 8 ounces of cooked protein. Stir until heated through. If desired, stir in 1⁄4 cup cream until warm.
FUN EXTRAS: Stir in or toss on yummy low-carb stuff like bacon, cheese, nuts, seeds — whatever you like!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.