Lesson #1: Eat 4 or 5 Meals Per Day


 
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Since you are learning to eat less at each meal, you will likely need to eat these smaller meals/snacks more often in order to meet your fuel requirements. And this is OK!

There are several reasons to eat smaller meals more often throughout the day.

Reason One:

You are probably realizing by now that when you don’t stuff yourself at a meal, you get hungry sooner, maybe 2-3 hours following the meal. When this happens, it is important to eat another small nutritious meal or snack because you don’t want to let yourself get very hungry.

You want to eat something before the feeling of hunger gets so strong that you are going to make bad choices. When you allow yourself to get very hungry, you are likely to (a) over eat, and (b) eat whatever you find first, which is probably not a nutritious meal.

Reason Two:

Another reason to eat smaller meals throughout the day is that it keeps your energy more stable all day. When you eat a huge meal, a few things happen. First of all, it makes a lot of work for your digestive system. When your digestive system is working hard, it takes energy, which you may prefer to use for other tasks (thinking, moving your body, paying attention).

When you eat a smaller meal, a smaller amount of energy is required to digest it, so you have energy to do what you need to do during the day.

Reason Three:

Small meals keep you from having a post-meal slump, sometimes called “food coma”. If you eat a huge meal that contains carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, fruit, chips, cookies, etc., your body needs to release a lot of insulin to deal with the carbohydrates. When your insulin level rises dramatically like this, it causes your blood sugar to drop sharply, which can actually make you feel hungry again. Or, at the least, you’ll feel that “food coma” feeling.

When you have a small meal, your body is much less likely to over-produce insulin, so your blood sugar will not drop too low.

Reason Four:

It turns off fat storage. Another side effect of insulin is fat storage. So when you eat a large meal as described in Reason Three, the insulin that has flooded your blood stream stores the excess carbohydrates that you just ate as fat.

When you eat a small meal, your body will use the energy provided in that meal and not have to store it for later in your fat cells.

In summary

Eating less at a meal may cause you to get hungry sooner. Be sure to eat before you start feeling very hungry. Eating more frequent smaller meals is good because it requires less energy to digest a small meal, your blood sugar will stay more consistent throughout the day which will give you a steady source of energy, and you will not be consuming an excess of calories at any one time that would be stored as fat.


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