Lose Weight

BE A GRAZER – MINI MEALS

Let me give you an early hint (other than the one contained in the title of this article!):

If you wanted to get as fat as possible, you should eat one giant meal per day. Sounds ludicrous, but loads of people are following something very close to this type of eating schedule. The practice of skipping breakfast, eating a small lunch, and then eating an enormous dinner followed by dessert is far too common. This is an easy habit to fall into though, because of the nature of our lifestyles. With everything being so faced paced, who has time for breakfast?

Who has time for a healthy lunch? It’s a lot easier to hit the drive thru. And by the time you’re home from work you are starving! Now you’re really in trouble. If you get to the point in the day where you’re starving, it usually means you’ve waited too long before eating again.

When you wait too long between meals, you will overeat and crave the types of food you’re trying to avoid. In addition, your body can go into starvation mode. Through years of evolution, our bodies have learned that in times of famine or
lack of food supply, we should store our body fat for fuel, in case the famine continues. This is programmed into our bodies, and is a big reason why eating all of your food at one, two, or three meals is not a good idea for someone looking to get and stay lean.
Even if you stick with the standard 3 meals a day, your body will dip in and out of starvation mode periodically. Waiting 5-6 hours to eat again is too long. Our bodies perform much better on a more frequent feeding schedule. And eating large meals will provide large spikes in your blood sugar and insulin, which leads to more fat storage.
Instead of spreading our daily food intake over 3 meals, we should be shooting for 5-6 meals per day.

Now, this doesn’t mean adding 2-3 same size meals to the ones you’re already eating…that would be too many calories and a disaster! What is does mean is eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day, making sure you spread them about 3 hours apart. And they don’t all have to be the same size, but keeping them relatively close keeps the body satisfied and less susceptible to cravings.
Some of the other benefits of eating smaller meals more frequently include:
• A faster metabolism (thermic effect). Simply digesting your food burns calories, and by eating more frequently, you’ll increase your resting metabolic rate.
• A consistent energy level. By eating more frequently, your blood sugar level (which can make you sluggish if too high) will be more stable, so you avoid those highs and lows experienced after eating large meals…and you’ll also keep the fat storage machine turned off.
• A diet with fewer calories. Staying full every few hours reduces your chance of binging and loading up on high calorie food.
• Support for lean muscle growth. A constant and consistent supply of nutrients, especially protein for repair and growth, is essential for maximum results from your proper strength training.

The easiest way I know to follow the 5-6 meals a day plan is to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then eat a smaller snack type meal 2-3 times per day. Many people go for this approach as it allows them to work within the framework of the traditional meal schedule, which they have already incorporated into their and/or their families’ lives. This type of schedule would look something like this:
• Meal 1 – Breakfast (7am)
• Meal 2 – Snack (10am)
• Meal 3 – Lunch (1pm)
• Meal 4 – Snack (4pm)
• Meal 5 – Dinner (7pm)
• Meal 6 – Snack (10pm)
Here you are basically eating every three hours or so, with your breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals being slightly larger than your snacks. You can also do well on a 5 meal a day schedule. This is the one I use as it suits my schedule a bit  better:
• Meal 1 – Breakfast (8:30am)
• Meal 2– Lunch (Noon)
• Meal 3 – Snack (3:30pm)
• Meal 4 – Dinner (6:30pm)
• Meal 5 – Snack (10pm)
Whatever schedule you use, just make sure to eat 5-6 mini meals every 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours throughout the day. You’ll keep your metabolism and energy up, provide a consistent flow of nutrients so your body can burn fat and build lean muscle, and keep your body from crazy blood sugar and insulin spikes and dropping into starvation mode while experiencing those uncontrollable cravings.
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