Two days before Australian Championships
Placing: 2nd in Australia.
When my children were born, I was fascinated with their eating behaviour. They ate every 2 to 3 hours without fail, around the clock. As most of you would know (especially parents), the first few years of a child’s life can cause huge sleep deprivation on parents (especially mums).
I asked the question why society teaches us that the main times for food intake should be breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why don’t we just follow what we have all gone through in our first years. It seemed like we were biologically born to consume food every 2 to 3 hours. It seems that society’s expectation is forcefully applied to us as ‘normal’ eating behaviour because that’s just how it has been for centuries. Probably helps us all become better employees when we are older – less time eating, or for breaks and more time devoted to working.
Apparently, great for productivity and the “bottom-line”.
The thing is that the body works more efficiently and effectively with energy pumped in to it regularly and this is where snacks come in.
If you’re like most people and being ‘busy’ and busier than everyone you know, then you would probably only make time to eat three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whether your goal is fat loss, muscle gain or a combination of the two, the smarter way to get your daily energy intake is to spread them throughout the whole day. It’s the way our bodies are made to work.
We need to work with our body, not against it.
I’ve always told people that body re-engineering or transformation is mainly about hormonal management, through management of raw materials going in ( your body and your mind). Frequency of meals is a key factor to success in your body transformation.
You see, anytime you eat, blood is rushed in to your stomach for digestive aid. If you eat huge meals (as most people do three times per day), your energy and vitality levels get affected and fluctuate. Many people feel intense sleepiness in the office after a big lunch. The more food your body has to process, the more blood it steals from other areas of your body to aid in stomach digestion. The same can be said for digestive enzymes.
Losing blood from other areas of your body could affect your metabolic state and so slow down the distribution of energy within your system (hence the sleepiness feeling after a hearty lunch). This leaves you feeling less sharp and tired you struggle to focus.
Having large meals also triggers a higher insulin response which inhibits fat burning as it alerts the body to desperately store unwanted body fat. So, an answer to reducing your meal sizes is to go back to eating with more frequency just like you did when you were a baby, being luckily breastfed or bottle-fed every 2 hours. You need to eat more often and so increase your meals from 3 to 6.
How do you do this? Simple: eat more smaller, well-compositioned meals.
Try preparing or having at least three snacks ready to eat between your three main meals, spreading your calories throughout the day. On the face of it, it may sound like you will be eating more but spreading out what you eat can actually cause you to eat less. This is what I tell most if not all my clients – “I’ll show you how to eat more to change your body shape … and lose weight”. They then say, “but shouldn’t I be eating less?”
Another mis-perception propagated by the weight-loss industry.
You see eating six to eight smaller, well-compositioned meals instead of three large meals, keeps you blood sugar levels in a good range and does not encourage sudden fluctuations. For your body, this equates to a constant flow of readily available energy which reduces your tendency to eat more.
Eating smaller meals more frequently also allows you to feel fuller, longer and does not encourage you to over-eat in your main meals. More importantly, keeping your blood sugar levels in a good range, does not trigger the hormone – insulin, which when triggered forces your body in to ‘starvation’ mode that encourage fat retention and storage.
The key to body re-engineering and transformation is fundamentally hormonal management.
So, snacks are necessary but when people talk about snacks they think of ‘junk food’. It does not have to be. When possible choose snacks that are a combination of the three macro-nutrient groups: protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Some good examples of:
- Protein sources: lean meats including chicken, beef/kangaroo, ham and fish, tofu.
- Carbohydrate (low GI) sources include: fruits and/or vegetables like beans, broccoli, spinach, celery.
- Fat sources: most nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts and avocado, ricotta cheese
Each snack can combine all three, for example, two pieces of chicken breast (120g) + avocado (30g) + long beans (120g). Keep nuts to 30g or less per snack intake.
So pack your snacks in lunch boxes just as you or your parents did when you were a kid and have it ready to eat at work. It will save you time (waiting in line to get a sandwich) and will help improve your overall sense of vitality throughout the day.
Adding snacks to your life should help you take one step closer to the body you want. Little habits like this, when practised deliberately – daily, over time is where the real miracle is.
A little change within has a greater change – without.
Try this one change in your day. See how you look in two months.
All the best,
Until next time,