When we think of dieting for weight loss we think of restrictions, when instead we should be focused on timing and moderation. We often fail to remember that the most important aspect of losing weight isn’t necessarily what you’re eating but rather when you’re eating it. Whoever came up with the idea of three square meals per day was wrong. It turns out that we had the right idea since birth – babies eat about every 2 hours and so should we. The science is rather simple when it comes to reducing body fat.
The Benefits of Eating Frequently
Having about five to seven small meals a day helps speed up your metabolism, improves energy levels, and assists in preventing muscle loss. Whereas, if you wait several hours in between meals, your body’s metabolic rate slows down considerably in order to conserve energy. Eating every two hours keeps your metabolism high and your insulin levels stable, which helps to maintain your energy and stabilizes your mood. Additionally, long periods without food may cause your body to break down muscle tissue for energy, resulting in a slower metabolism. It’s important to maintain lean muscle mass for an elevated metabolism – muscle mass burns more calories than fat mass. Eating frequently in combination with strength training turns your body into a fat burning machine. Click on this link for tips on the best way to start on a strength training program with an in-home personal trainer.
What Should The Small Meals Consist Of?
Protein (view protein bioavailability)
I found it difficult to have a good source of protein every two hours so I ate way more protein bars than I should have. Otherwise, my small meals consisted of foods that were easy to prepare and carry around with me. This included eggs, apples and some kind of nut butter, different types of nuts, veggies, seeds and whole grain foods, quinoa, various types of meats etc. For cooked food, I would do a lot of batch cooking for the week and freeze or seal them in Tupperware if I was consuming them within a few days of preparation.
A diet that is high in fiber has many benefits, including assisting with weight loss. While fiber is a carbohydrate, it is not easily digestible. It adds bulk to satisfy a feeling of fullness after a meal, while not boosting your blood sugar or adding any calories. Many of the best sources of fiber such as avocados, broccoli, and apples are also nutrient dense, so you get to kill two birds with one stone in maintaining a healthy and belly friendly diet.
The Keto diet is all the rage right now but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. You can see some of the pros and cons in this Healthline article. Reducing carbs is an important aspect of fat loss and for people with insulin sensitivities, but going into ketosis is completely unnecessary. I am particularly sensitive to carbs and I introduce them gradually throughout the day as to not spike my insulin after a long night of rest. For instance, I can tolerate about 20mg of carbs in the morning and about 40-50mg at night, as long as they are healthy complex carbs in combination with fats and proteins. If you’re looking to reduce carbs for losing fat, then I’d suggest gradually adding carbs throughout the day and then reducing again about 3 or 4 hours before bedtime. Eventually, your metabolism will be so efficient that having a high carb dinner can be burned off pretty easily.
Fat doesn’t make you fat! Fat helps you balance your blood sugar and your blood sugar level impacts insulin levels, which also affects your mood, cravings, and food choices throughout the day. Eating sugary processed foods with too many refined carbohydrates and not enough fat can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and subsequently crash. Including healthy fats with your meals and snacks can help keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day.
Losing fat in a healthy way doesn’t have to be so complicated. You don’t have to count macros or go into some super restrictive diet. What’s more important is proper balance of macros and the timing and consistency of your meals. Follow these tips and the weight will come off quickly and be sustainable for the long-term.