Permanent fat loss is all about obtaining and maintaining a fast metabolism. There is a very simple way you can condition your body to burn more calories, even at rest. This is one of the most effective steps you can take in your weight loss efforts. Make it a habit and you will succeed with your weight loss.
Do not save up calories for one big meal. By eating at the correct times you minimize the risk of triggering your body’s “starvation protection mechanism“, which protects fat supplies. Frequent eating encourages the body to burn fat instead of muscle tissue. It takes about 3 hours to fully digest a meal. Furthermore, after a meal food is broken down into sugar,the sugar then travels through the blood, providing energy to your entire body (controlled by insulin hormone). This means that each time you eat, your blood sugar levels spike. In total it takes two to three hours for blood sugar levels to go up and then back down again. If you eat a large meal, you dump large amounts of fuel into your system at one time – more fuel than your body needs. The excess fuel gets stored as fat. Frequent, small meals on the other hand deliver manageable amounts of energy over the course of the day, which your body can utilize immediately and therefore does not need to store it as fat for later use.
SMALL MEALS FOR BETTER WEIGHT LOSS
Smaller, more frequent meals not only boost your fat-burning ability but has other numerous benefits.
1. FASTER METABOLISM
Your body is genetically programmed to conserve energy when food intake stops. Blood sugar fluctuates every three hours and if you don’t eat something to raise your blood sugar your metabolic rate may slow down. Frequent, small meals can help increase your resting energy expenditure (burn more calories) and decrease your body-fat percentage.
2. EASIER WEIGHT LOSS
It is very difficult to lose weight when your metabolism is slowing down and your body trying to hang on to every calorie. Furthermore, long periods between eating can lead to poor food choices and quickly turn weight loss into weight gain. Low blood sugar stimulates hunger, therefore, you’ll cut down on cravings. Cravings often happen simply because you let yourself get too hungry or waited too long to eat. If you eat frequently, you won’t be ravenous, and you can make the tastiest and most nutritious food choices. Even better, you’ll avoid overeating and filling up on empty calories.
3. REDUCED CHOLESTEROL
Research by the University of Toronto suggests that switching to several smaller meals reduced participants’ total cholesterol levels by approximately 8% and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels by 12%. Frequent meals kept blood sugar levels more even, helping to eliminate insulin spikes that can trigger cholesterol production.
4. SUSTAINED ENERGY
Food supplies the body with energy and the body in turn burns this energy to function. It is relatively easy to upset this delicate balance by skipping meals or going too long without food. When your blood sugar levels are high, you feel energised. Conversely, when they drop your energy levels plummet. Eating frequently helps to keep blood sugar levels steady, meaning you’ll feel more energized all day long. Furthermore, studies have shown that female athletes who ate every three hours concentrated better, moved faster and could exercise for longer periods of time. This means not only do you get through your day better, but also that you can exercise harder and burn more calories during your workouts!
5. MOOD STABILITY
There is a strong scientific connection between food and mood. Eating more often can alter brain chemistry. The key is to include complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, all of which help maintain levels of serotonin (a mood-boosting chemical) in the brain. Anti-depressants work similarly – by increasing serotonin levels. The right foods can accomplish the same thing.
HOW TO EAT LITTLE & OFTEN TO LOSE WEIGHT
The more you present your body with small amounts of food, the faster it becomes at processing and utilizing this food. Eating at the correct times and frequency is the secret to speeding up your metabolism. Eating every 3 hours (5 meals per day) is the answer. By eating every three hours, your metabolism stays revved, your body burns fat instead of muscle, is less likely to hold onto calories and your starvation protection system isn’t triggered. Make this routine a habit and watch the results it brings.
Bear in mind to eat enough to feel satisfied, but not overly full. Eat often and in moderate amounts, just enough that you are not hungry again for another three hours. The sizing of your 5 meals depends on your calorie requirements. You can try six equal-sized small meals or three small meals with two or three “snacks” each day. Although this will be discussed in more detail elsewhere, every meal or “snack” should contain protein. Whether it is low-fat yoghurt or a tuna sandwich, make sure it contains protein.
The great thing about eating every three hours, is that it actually feels as though you’re eating more food than usual (you’re not – your calorie intake is calculated!). Psychologically you do not feel deprived because it seems you’re eating more often.
Super sexy Jennifer Lopez keeps trim and hangover free by avoiding alcohol. She doesn’t smoke either. ‘I don’t need to drink alcohol to have a good time’ she says. However, her weakness is Caribbean-style food such as fried plantain and beans, but avoids them as much as possible. Instead, she eats four to six small meals a day. Favorites include protein shakes, turkey meatballs and veggie burgers.
Salma Hayek keeps her energy levels up by she eating five small meals a day. Her favorite recipe, which she takes in a tub to film sets is tuna, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and coriander.