I’m going to start with a full disclosure: I am a nerd. I’m not ashamed to admit it (anymore). Apparently it’s now “hip” to be a nerd. Of course, if you would have told me way back in 1991 (The first time I read “The Hobbit” in sixth grade) that being a nerd would be “all the rage,” insecure, pimpled me would not have believed you. But alas….here we are.
So since I’m a nerd and all, it shouldn’t surprise you that I love all things nerdy, like Star Wars, Star Trek (yes, I love them both, and I did “The Trouble with Tribbles” as a play in 7th grade English and already knew the script), and Lord of the Rings. With that comes the startling revelation that I know all the Hobbits meals….I even have a t shirt.
So if you’re not a nerd, or not a nerd that embraces LOTR, some backstory. Obviously there is a quest. And Merry and Pippin, two of my very favorite Hobbits, are worried that Aragorn won’t know about, or allow for, all of their meals. Now here is where my nerd-dom REALLY takes over, because true Hobbits will know that Tolkien only writes about SIX meals: Breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper. The movies added the seventh meal: dessert. While I’m a purist at heart, I will concede I celebrate dessert, but I don’t necessarily consider it a separate meal. Tolkien also started both “The Hobbit” and “Fellowship of the Ring” with great feasts. So inhabitants of Middle Earth really like their food.
I used to be small. Like REALLY small. I had the best metabolism ever. And, like every young twenty-something, I took it for granted. I ate crap and lost weight, simply by breathing, really. It was so awesome. Then pregnancy happened, and a wicked addiction to McDonald’s double cheeseburgers lead to a massive weight gain that, 12+ years later, I still claim as “baby weight.” So now, I’m a happy fat girl. A happy fat girl with some crazy health problems, like Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease and depression and irritable bowel syndrome and a myriad of other things that all go together.
When I started researching all my “issues,” one of the diet trends that popped up, of course, was eating several small meals every couple of hours. IMMEDIATELY, I thought “I SHOULD EAT LIKE A HOBBIT!” (Hey, I warned you that I am a nerd.) I mean, how hard could it be?
“As for the Hobbits of the Shire, with whom these tales are concerned, in the days of their peace and prosperity they were a merry folk. They dressed in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow and green; but they seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles and were clad in a thick curling hair, much like the hair of their heads, which was commonly brown. Thus, the only craft little practised among them was shoe-making; but they had long and skilful fingers and could make many other useful and comely things. Their faces were as a rule good-natured rather than beautiful, broad, bright-eyed, red-cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking. And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them). They were hospitable and delighted in parties, and in presents, which they gave away freely and eagerly accepted.” (Prologue I-Concerning Hobbits, The Fellowship of the Ring, JRR Tolkien)
Tolkien romanticizes this relationship with food, implying that this is what contributes to the happiness seen in The Shire (ps….I have tagged my house as “The Shire” before.) So, naturally, one can deduce that having a similar relationship with food can help with their own moods. Obviously, this is fiction, but how off could it be?
So let’s get right to it, shall we? My dining went a little bit like this:
-Breakfast: hard boiled eggs (because I am usually on my way to work, and they’re easy to eat in the car)
-Second Breakfast: oatmeal (made overnight, for quick and easy microwaving and simple “break food” at work)
-Elevenses: fruit, cheese, or nuts (sometimes trail mix or granola, depending on what was on hand)
-Luncheon: totally depends on the situation. Sometimes soup, sometimes salad, sometimes leftovers, sometimes a package of fun fruits
-Afternoon tea: cheese, fruit, or nuts
-Supper: chia pudding or trail mix
Upon reflection, it LOOKS good. It seems well thought out, well planned, and simple to execute. The problems, though, are there. First of all, I am in no way organized enough to think out, let alone plan out, this daily. I always have lofty ideas but then I get to the execution phase, and it’s a lot easier to scan Pinterest for six hours. Secondly, I am incredibly lazy, so thinking much past bed time is a daunting task. Along with this, I think I have a touch of OCD, but when it overwhelms me, I shut down and nothing gets done (exhibit A: this basket of laundry next to me on the floor that has been there for five days). So if I actually plan things out, the plan rarely gets carried out. Finally, eating every 2 hours or so means that you spend a large majority of your day eating. And, if you’re anything like me, a “small meal” can be a huge calorie fest by the end of the day. So by the time you get to “Dinner,” you have about 27 calories left to eat for the day.
So what happened? Well, my mornings always went well. Making large batches of boiled eggs and making overnight oats are both very simple tasks that become robotic after a while. And take literally no time at all. I usually make my eggs (because, as I said, easy to eat in the car on my way to work, so I still do this) while we’re eating dinner. If they’re on the stove in my line of sight, I’m less apt to forget about them, which means I won’t burn them. Also, if I then leave the oatmeal to eat at work, by the time “Second Breakfast” rolls around, it’s time for my 15-minute break anyway. After this, the problems start. Because who really has time for Elevenses AND Luncheon?
Long story short, this didn’t work out well for me. The nonstop eating was overwhelming. The “meals” turned into major calorie fests, which lead to overeating, which DINGDINGDING turned into weight gain….which is the exact opposite of the desired outcome. Also, I was not happy and jovial like the Hobbits.
So can it be done? I suppose it can, but you need to be INCREDIBLY disciplined and meticulous in your planning. I have never been any of these things. But I am willing to give it another try, with much planning and much MUCH smaller “meals.” If Frodo could make it all the way to Mount Doom to destroy the ring, I can certainly make it to actually implementing my meal plan.
“I will take the ring,” he said, “though I do not know the way.”