If you’ve been following the typical nutritional advice of cutting back on calories and consuming no more than “three square meals” a day in the hope of shifting your fat-burning efforts into high gear, you may actually be throwing the whole process into reverse. According to scientists at Georgia State University, active people who consume fewer calories and eat infrequently (only three times a day) may be training their bodies to get by on less energy and therefore more readily storing unburned calories as body fat. Instead, these researchers and many others advise active people to eat frequently (about every three hours) to accelerate metabolism and maintain steady energy levels throughout the day.
Here are my top 10 points on why eating small and often is the key to weight loss.
Eat fruit and vegetables to stay healthy
1. Eating 4 – 6 small, frequent meals per day helps increase energy levels. When you are fueling your body at regular intervals (every 3 – 4 hours) you will have peak energy levels. No mid-day fatigue and no feeling like you’re ready to plop on the couch at 5 p.m.!!
2. Burn body fat and extra calories. Sounds crazy but you have to eat more, to burn more calories. Each time you eat, you stimulate your metabolism, which burns more calories.
Now this doesn’t mean 4 – 6 “junk” meals each day. It means reasonably sized meals that include protein, carbohydrates, and a LITTLE fat. When you restrict calories by not eating, your body refuses to give up the extra body fat. So you must give your body what it wants, and it’ll burn calories more efficiently.
3. Eating frequently keeps blood sugar levels high all day. Keeping food in your body at regular intervals keeps you from feeling that crash when you get hungry. Then you head for the closest vending machine to get the blood sugar levels back up. The trick is to not let your blood sugar drop in the first place.
4. Your moods will stay stable all day long. You may not realize it, but food affects your mood. When you don’t eat or when you don’t eat healthy – your mood changes drastically. That’s your body trying desperately to tell you something – and your loved ones and co-workers get the brunt of it!
5. By eating frequently, you will avoid that stuffed feeling. By eating only a few times a day, our natural reflex is to stuff ourselves. Then we endure excruciating pain and become a couch potato afterwards. Eating 4 – 6 times per day will eliminate this altogether.
6. The digestive system works more efficiently. Our digestive systems aren’t designed to work on overload. As a matter of fact, overeating is unhealthy for all of the internal organs. Give your body food in small amounts and your insides will appreciate it much more.
7. Eating frequently keeps adequate calories in the body. Most of us really don’t eat enough. We are all running around with a full daily schedule, stress, trying to exercise (or not) and expecting to do it all on a few meals per day. And we can’t figure out why we’re not healthy or why we’re not losing weight. Focusing on small, frequent meals ensures that we are getting the full amount of calories we need.
Lean tuna steak and salad is a good meal choice
8. You have no choice but to focus on good nutrition. Let’s face it, eating more often takes time and thought. But it’s very possible and when you put a little thought into what you’re doing you tend to do it better. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll begin to learn about nutrition when you focus on it a little bit.
9. You have no choice but to listen to your body. Once you begin eating frequently, your body will respond quickly. Pretty soon you won’t be able to go more than 3 hours without something to eat – that’s a good thing. Your body will tell you what it needs and when.
10. Eating this way will challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. What have you got to lose – except weight! Challenge yourself to this method and see what happens. It’ll also make a great conversation piece.