For years, we have been told that eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day will provide us with a faster metabolism which will help us lose weight quicker. However, there is a major problem with that theory.
By eating around the clock, you are actually making it harder to burn fat. When you're constantly eating, you're consistently releasing insulin and that insulin is actually storing sugar and not letting other enzymes in your body release sugar to break down fat.
What we really want our body to do is eat, digest the food, which then gets stored as glycogen, which then will give us better energy to have a better workout and will be used to burn fat more appropriately.
Now before we go any further we need to differentiate between frequent small meals and having a snack.
Having three normal size meals a day is good. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Having a snack mid morning or mid afternoon can also be a good thing in order to meet a healthy amount of calories in a day.
What begins to be an issue is when someone eats EVERY 2-3 hours. For example, eating breakfast at 7am, snack at 10am, lunch at noon, snack at 3pm, snack at 5pm, dinner at 7pm and another late night snack around 9pm.
When snacking this often you run into that constant spike in insulin, but you also run into the problem of over consuming calories for the day.
For example, trail mix is a popular snack, but did you know that ¼ cup is the serving size? And within an average trail mix serving size you get approx. 130 calories. Which is no problem if you are only eating ¼ cup, but how often do you find yourself grabbing a few handfuls which easily turns into ¾ cup or more? Which quickly turns into 390 calories.
Now, this article is not about counting calories, but it is about practicing mindfulness, so that you are not overworking your digestive system and pancreas.
Lastly, because your body's working overtime to keep the metabolism going, you are also left feeling unsatisfied at the end of the day, which is why you end up looking for those late night snacks or overdoing food at the end of the day.
The bottom line is that you want to find balance within your day. Stop obsessing over eating every 2-3 hours and instead eat approximately every 4. Give your body time to settle the food you are eating, so you can put in a good workout in the gym and feel fully fueled!
*DISCLAIMER: This is for a general overview. Every situation is somewhat situational and results may vary. 😉 Things that can vary are the types of foods being eaten….. i.e. proteins, carbs or fats. Your body type…..i.e. ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph (Refer to our article on “Lifting for your body type”) and your day to day life….i.e. sedentary lifestyle vs. highly active.
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