This is Part 4 of my Fit To Lead Series. Today we’ll discuss eating more often. What! But this series is supposed to help you get fit and healthy. Isn’t eating more often going to be counter-productive? The simple answer is No. The complicated answer is what follows.
We’ve all probably been there. You’re on a “diet” and you’re eating like a bird. You nibble on this, nibble on that. You eat a salad, but you’re absolutely starving! Would you be surprised to hear that I lost 20 lbs of fat last year and I wasn’t hungry once? That’s right, I always felt nice and full. It wasn’t like I was starving myself. I didn’t feel the need to binge or feel worn out. I felt completely normal, well except for the loose fitting jeans of course. One of my biggest contributors to being able to lose that much weight and not feel like I was starving was the addition of 3 extra meals per day. By eating 6 times a day I was able to beat the diet blues and win the battle against fat! Here is why:
- Smaller Stomach – your stomach is a flexible muscle that expands when it’s full and contracts when it’s empty. That painful feeling you get after Thanksgiving dinner and 2 slices of pie, is your stomach being stretched out beyond its comfort zone. Years of stretching the stomach like this will result in a larger stomach and yes, a larger gut. But the opposite is also true. If you don’t eat much, your stomach will shrink. This is a good thing for two reasons. First, it will make your gut look smaller. And two, when you are used to small portions, your stomach won’t be willing to consume as much as before, therefore, you won’t be able to over eat even if you want to. It will take a few big meals to stretch it back out again.
- Constant Supply – When you’re eating every 3 hours, your body will get used to having a constant supply of food. Bodies respond in either a feast or famine type of reaction. This is why many diets fail. You starve yourself for weeks and your body thinks there is not enough food supply. Then, when you return to eating normal, your body stores everything it can in preparation for the next famine. By eating 6 times a day your body is tricked into believing that there is plenty of food and that there is no need to hang onto the fat you currently have.
- Less Bingeing – When you’re eating so many times a day your stomach is always full. You may go through a small hunger stage while your stomach shrinks but once it does you’ll never feel hungry again. Your body will digest your last meal in about 3 hours, then, you’ll eat again. This constant feeling of being satiated will help keep you from binge eating since you’re not hungry.
- Minimizes unhealthy meals – since you’re not hungry, that dream of a cheese pizza will drift away. Without your empty stomach conjuring up dreams of unhealthy treats you’ll have the will power to stick to the healthy stuff.
- Teaches portion control – eating small meals, say 250 calories each for a total of 1500 calories a day, teaches you and your body portion control. Once you eat meals of this size for a while it will be very easy for you to recognize meals that are over 250, under 250, and so on. Think about your last several meals. Were they the same size, less, more? They usually fluctuate. As such it’s hard to have a size by which to judge a meal.
Give this a try and let us know how it’s going in the comments section.