By Rita Bryan
You hear so much about eating smaller meals more frequently if you want to lose weight, burn fat, and build lean muscle. But why? This article will explain more…
Why is eating frequent meals so important? While one of the goals of your eating endeavors is to get as much “good food” as you can past your fat cells and into your lean muscle tissue, you must be wary: Your lean muscle tissue can handle only a certain amount of food at a time.
In other words, after you eat that amount, the cells in your muscles shut their doors and don’t allow any more food in, no matter how nutritious it is, until it has burned up the food already there. So where does the excess food go? You guessed it. Straight to your fat cells.
Let’s look at an example of what we’re talking about. Let’s say it’s lunchtime, and you have the type of body that needs 300-400 calories to keep functioning until your next meal. But then you sit down at lunch and ingest enough food to add up to 1,000 calories. That excess 600-700 calories (no matter where it is coming from chicken, fruit, or cookies) is most likely to be stored as fat.
Are you getting the picture? If, at some point during the day, you eat a very large meal, you’re liable to saturate your fat cells. And don’t think you’re doing yourself a favor if you overeat at one meal and then wait several hours before eating another meal. By then, it’s too late. Your body has already taken the extra calories from that first meal and sent them to its fat cells.
What’s more, all that you’re doing by waiting several hours to eat again is to build up your appetite to the point that you’ll almost certainly overeat the next time. In fact, your fat cells will play a vicious game with you if you try to lose weight by “under eating”. The more meals you try to skip in the hope of losing weight, the more your fat cells, sensing an oncoming famine, will send out enzymes in your blood stream in order to grab most of those calories that you ingest when you finally eat again.
Moreover, when you spend too much time between meals, your body isn’t going to want healthful food. Every study done of eating patterns has found that the longer you wait between meals, the greater the amount of high fat food you will consume at the next meal. Let’s say you’re trying to lose weight and get leaner, and you have a cup of coffee and toast for breakfast. Then you eat a salad and yogurt for lunch. Then you go from 1:00 P.m. to 7:00 P.m. without eating. When you walk into the house, exhausted and hungry, what do you think you’re going to want to eat? Certainly not a healthful meal, like a grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli and brown rice. You are craving fatty foods and sugar the very things your muscles will never take in. This craving is a physical need, not just a psychological one. Your body is shutting down and requires energy in a hurry and sugar and fat are two of the best ways to get that quick fix.
Another reason you crave fat is because you want food that is instantly satisfying, that fills you up fast. It’s a fact: Under eating always leads to overeating. Skipping meals will set off an increased craving in your body for the very foods that you’re trying to avoid.
How Can You Eat So Often?
You think there is no way you can eat so much food four or five times a day. And you believe there is no way you can even find the time to squeeze in so many meals a day. The fact of the matter is that most people already eating four to five times a day. There’s no question about it. What many are conveniently ignoring is the caloric impact of your little sixty second “snacks” that you have in the mid-mornings and mid-afternoons.
You’re also forgetting about that quick graze in front of the refrigerator right before you go to bed at night. You don’t realize that those little snacks are usually so high in fat and so loaded with calories that you might as well be eating a full meal.
Let’s consider the typical American diet. Doughnuts or a couple of bagels in the morning, then lunch, then some vending machine stuff in the afternoon, a big dinner, and then ice cream late at night. That’s five meals.
Now, if you ate that many times a day, eating all the right foods, you’d be overwhelmed by the amount of food you could eat and you’d be even more overwhelmed by the fact that you’d start losing weight.
Consider this final bit of research: Researchers have discovered that when people take the same amount of food that they eat in their three regular meals, regardless what that food is and divide it into five meals – they start losing weight. Isn’t that amazing? Just by sequencing your meals, spreading them out, and keeping them from going over the recommended calorie limit, you can start losing weight! HERE is a great diet program that I highly recommend that combines eating several small meals daily (but with a little secret twist). Check out my full review of this program at http://www.FatLossIn11Days.info
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Rita Bryan is the President and co-founder of Genesis Personal Fitness® of Newtown. Her uniquely structured personal training, nutrition coaching and weight management center offers both small group and one-on-one personal training, state-of-the-art metabolism testing, and nutrition and weight management programs. Rita’s mission is to provide each of her clients with a high quality, personalized fitness program that produces consistent and predictable results, and is easy to integrate into one’s lifestyle on a permanent basis.
Rita’s health and fitness career was preceded by fourteen successful years as an educator, corporate executive and entrepreneur. After retiring from her corporate position as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Administration in early 1990, she began her health and fitness career by teaming with physicians to open physical therapy centers. Her unanticipated challenge with a rare form of leukemia caused her to take time to re-evaluate her priorities. After a complete recovery, she co-founded Genesis Personal Fitness with the mission to educate, encourage, and guide individuals towards a healthier lifestyle through the practice of effective exercise, balanced nutrition, and positive thinking.
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