There are a surprisingly large number of ways to be healthier. For example writing can improve your health, helping your body heal faster, reducing stress, and improving your mood, among other benefits. Similarly, getting enough sleep is very good for you, with it reducing your craving for junk food, curbing inflammation, and even extending your lifespan. And then there’s dieting – or rather, not dieting, as dieting puts you at risk for heart attack, strokes, and diabetes. And that’s not to mention the fact that most dieters end up heavier than when they started, which is obviously entirely counterproductive.
The point of weight loss is not centered around how you look, although many people view it that way, instead it’s about health, quality of life and longevity. Having a healthy body makes a big impact on your mind, spirituality and physical energy. These things affect your whole life.
Weight Loss Through Frequent Meals
Of course, that’s of little use to those of us who are lugging around more pounds than we’d like. We still need to find a way to lose them (or do we?), but the thing is, there are much healthier ways to do that! One of them, surprisingly enough, is to make certain that you eat five meals a day.
How does this work? Well the idea here is obviously not to stuff your face. This is not an excuse to throw portion control or caloric intake out of the window. Those still matter. The point of five meals is to make them smaller, so that you’re still eating about the same number of calories.
So why go through the hassle of eating five times instead of three? The advantage here is that, by making certain that you sit down to two extra meals, you aren’t famished when you eat, which makes it far less likely that you’re going to gorge.
Cleveland dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic explains, “After about 3 hours without food your blood sugar begins to fall. And after 4 hours, your body has already digested whatever you sent down earlier. Once you’ve crossed the 5-hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel.”
That means it’s much more likely that you’re going to eat junk, especially as new research seems to suggest that glucose is a vital ingredient in fighting off ego depletion (that’s willpower for those not familiar with psychobabble). And guess what you just ran out of? That’s right, sugar is just another word for glucose, and that’s what you don’t have enough of in your bloodstream. So that means you’re low on willpower and that’s what you need to resist the cookies and go for the celery instead.
Incidentally, that’s also why dieticians all over the world keep yelling at you to have your breakfast, as the gap between the last meal before you go to sleep and the first one you have when you wake up is the longest that you go without food, with all the consequences thereof. That is why people who eat breakfast are generally lighter than those who don’t.
What You Should Eat
Eating five meals does not come without risks, however – the biggest one being that you could end up eating more than you should. It is important, therefore, that you watch what you eat! Pre-plan your healthy snacks. Aim for things like:
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- Low-fat cheese and fresh fruit
- Carrots, celery, and other raw vegetables with healthy dips
- Mixed nuts, dried fruit, and whole-grain cereal
- Berries and non-fat Greek yogurt
Basically, you want to get a few ounces of protein, one or more cups of raw vegetables or fruit, a small amount of unsaturated fats, and finally either whole grains or starchy vegetables. The exact numbers that you’re looking at depend on how many calories you’re supposed to be consuming per day.
What you should avoid like the plague is processed foods. You see, the only way that the food companies can keep the costs down low enough that these products seem like a good deal while also keeping them delicious is by stuffing them with sugar, salt, and other additives that might feel great in your mouth, but feel pretty horrendous when they’ve made their way down to that inner tube around you tummy. The same goes for sugary drinks, though if you didn’t know about that that must have been a very comfortable rock you’ve been living under.
Eating Is Not Enough
One thing to note is that just restricting what you eat is not going to be enough. You also need to move. After all, we were never meant to be a sedentary species. We used to hunt, walk, gather, beat things with sticks, hit rocks together, and other such things (does it show that I don’t really know what we lived like back then?). The closest we can come today is exercise.
And here too the news has done a 180, as it turns out that aerobic exercise might not be the best way to lose weight and reduce fat. Instead, you should aim at high impact and strength training. They can’t make up their minds, can they?
Also, make certain that you eat your meals close to when your exercise. Have one before to give you the energy you need to actually see your session through. Then have one after to refill your energy stores and avoid that ever-present danger that your low sugar levels will make you pig out on unhealthy junk food, because if you do that you’re just defeating the entire purpose!
Five Meal Final
There is no magic bullet (pill?) for weight loss. At least not yet. Who knows what science will come up with a decade down the line? While we’re waiting for that to happen, however, we’ve got to do something and the five meals might just be that thing. The important point to remember, however, is that we’ve got to be aware that this is not just some short-term fix; this is a lifestyle adjustment.
That means two things:
- You can’t stop once the weight is gone, because then it will simply come back
- You’ve got to let yourself have a bit of fun. We’re not machines, we’re human beings and we have needs. If you try to deny that, your body will force you to remember. If you embrace it, however, then it might take you a little longer to lose the pounds but you’ll be able to keep going and, more importantly, you’ll have far more fun doing it. And what’s the point of life if we’re not having a bit of fun?
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