Eat More Often to Lose Weight
I'm sure you have heard it before, but one of the best ways to control your caloric intake and lose weight is to eat more often throughout the day. Ideally, you should eat 5 to 6 times per day, with 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours between each meal or snack. There are several reasons why this works.
1. Eating more frequently gets your metabolism going and keeps it working at an elevated level continuously throughout the day.
2. It will amp up your energy and keep your insulin level constant.
3. Because you are eating more frequently, you should eat a smaller portion at each meal or snack. Use some common sense here and remember the key word is SMALL! If you are eating your normal portions, this won't work! This isn't as hard as it sounds, because you just won't be as hungry since you just ate 2 or 3 hours ago.
4. Since you are not as hungry, it is much easier to pick a lean and healthy snack. When you let yourself get very hungry, you are much more likely to grab whatever is in sight. This is also when you start to crave all of those things that are so high in fat and calories, and you will probably eat more of it.
5. Even though you will ideally be eating LESS food that you are now, you will feel like you are eating MORE. Your mind and body will equate eating more frequently with more food, and therefore feeling more satisfied.
6. Knowing that you will be eating more often, you should plan ahead for your meals and snacks. This, too, will help to insure that you pick foods that are good for you and fit into a lean and healthy diet.
7. The thermogenic effect of eating several small meals is slightly higher than eating the same amount of calories all at once.
8. Eating little and often also really helps to control hunger and makes you less likely to binge.
Is it easy to incorporate eating 5 to 6 times per day into your schedule? Not at first! It does take a little extra time and planning. Is it worth it? Absolutely! If you do it sensibly, it will help you to control your fat and calorie intake. The result is reaching and/or maintaining your weight loss goals.
Another great tool is to use a diet journal to track your food intake. Once you start tracking your nutritional intake, you will really start to see every aspect of where your calories are coming from. Here is a free diet journal:
Make sure each small meal has a lean protein source. Shoot for about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight and divide this number by your total meals throughout the day. Here are a few quick and healthy snacks I incorporate into my daily plan:
Healthy Snack #1: 1 cup of Non-Fat Cottage Cheese & 1 scoop of whey protein powder (chocolate mint). Mix them up in a bowl and you will be amazed how good it tastes!
Healthy Snack #2: 1 cup of all natural rolled oats & 5 egg whites. Mix the oats with a little water and microwave for about 1 minute. Spray a little Pam cooking spray on a pan and cook up the egg whites over medium heat. Finally pour the egg whites into the oatmeal and mix.
Kris Bierek is a fitness specialist for the health and fitness site http://www.ShapeFit.com where you can find FREE fitness tools like fitness newsletters, dieting tips, weight loss help, exercise questions and a free fitness analysis to help you get into the best shape of your life!
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