You may have been told that eating 5-6 mini meals a day will help you achieve your fat-loss goals faster, and there is plenty of literature to back it up too. As a former fitness competitor, I was lead to believe that eating every 3-4 hours was the only way to gain lean muscle and loose body fat. Like a good student I did just that. I found myself spending hours in the kitchen meal prepping, lugging around Tupperware everywhere I went, timing “spontaneous” outings, and tripping out if I happened to miss my last meal. The funny part of it all was that I was constantly watching the clock because I was “starving” all the time! How can you be eating all the time and still be hungry?
Although at first, it sounds great that you get to eat more often, this strategy often backfires.
The mini meals are often too small and leave you hungry and more likely to reach for “extras”
Life gets in the way and spending 3 hours on a Sunday in the kitchen just isn’t possible
Eating every few hours causes you to fixate on food and time. We are striving for food freedom guys!
Blood sugar levels become unstable which leads to intense cravings, anxiety, and fatigue
Missing out on family and social events leads to feelings of isolation which can lead to emotional eating
More recent studies have shown that eating larger, less frequent meals leaves you less hungry, and more in tune with your body’s REAL hunger cues
Now that we’ve talked about why eating many meals throughout the day may be sabotaging your results, now what? You want to aim to eat 3-4 meals without snacking in between. Ideally you will be going 3-5 hours between meals. If you’re wondering how you are going to make it, don’t worry! We are going to adjust what you’re eating and how you’re eating at your main meals in a way that will leave you feeling satisfied, free, and in control.
Ensure you are eating healthy fat with each meal. The “good” fat will trigger your leptin and ghrelin hormones, which signal your brain that you are full and satisfied. Aim for at least 15 grams of fat with each meal from things like avocados, cold pressed olive oil, nuts, or nut butters.
Drink enough water. 99% of the time when extreme hunger hits it’s not actually hunger, it’s thirst. If you are feeling like you could devour just about anything and it’s only been an hour or two since your last meal, drink water!
Know what hunger really feels like. You want to look for belly-centered sensations such as grumbling or a hollow feeling in the stomach.
Watch the language you use. Stop using words like “starving”. Unless you’ve been without food for days, you are not starving. Words are powerful so try new ones like “I’m hungry”, or “I’m uncomfortable”.
Don’t multi-task while eating. Eating in the car, while watching tv, or at your desk will not allow you to identify when you’ve had enough. Take time to breathe, chew, and pay attention to what is going into your mouth.
Eat mostly whole foods. You’ll not only get more nutrients but your body will actually absorb them, only increasing your level of satisfaction.
Eat your veggies, and lots of them. Aim for 1-3 cups of low glycemic veggies with each meal. Examples are brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collard greens. They will add volume to your meals and send messages from your stomach to your brain signalling that you are full and satisfied.
Include a protein-rich food with each meal, and aim for 30-40 grams for each meal. The more active you are the higher on the spectrum you want to be. Try things like tempeh, tofu, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs and chicken, or a high quality undenatured protein powder. Consuming enough protein at each meal will also turn on the appetite satisfaction signals in your gut.
You can expect to experience some resistance when embarking on these new changes, and that is completely normal. First, you’re changing a habit and we all know habits are not easy to change. Second, there will be a period of adjustment in your body’s natural signals and responses. Give it time and you will quickly see that food will no longer need to rule your life.
If you are ready to get your body back you will want to join my 12-Week Momma Got Her Body Back Group program starting on January 14th, 2019. Click Here to join. If you are:
Struggling to feel totally free in your body?
Ready to shed those last stubborn pounds without extreme meal plans or hours in the gym?
Ready to ditch the diet lifestyle once and for all?
This is a program you don’t want to miss.