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Strive For Five-Why Eating at Least 5 Meals a Day is the Answer to Permanent Weight Loss
This is a very debatable topic right here – Food!
Let’s take a look at a lifestyle plan (remember, DIETS DON’T WORK!) that is guaranteed to have you eating healthier, speeding up your metabolism and losing FAT in the process! Sounds great, doesn’t it?
I’m talking about eating small meals throughout the day. Or what I refer to as “Lifestyle Eating”.
Some of you may have heard of this before, and for others this is completely new. Even if you have heard of this, continue reading as I’ll show you how this can easily be accomplished.
The days of eating just the big three are over: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. They just need not be big meals, as they are for most people. This new way of eating might seem very foreign to you and might take a little time to get used to.
The typical schedule for eating smaller meals throughout the day will look a little something like this: Small meals at 7:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Depending on your work schedule, family, etc., you might not be able to eat at the exact times listed above. For instance, you might start work at a much later or earlier time. If this is the case, just adjust accordingly and try to have a “small meal” every 3 to 3-1/2 hours. The goal is to have anywhere from 5 to 6 “small meals” a day. I feel that 5 is a reasonable goal to shoot for.
Why This Works
“How in the world can I eat more times throughout the day and lose weight?” That’s what you’re probably asking yourself right now, isn’t it? I will let you know why this works in the simplest way I know how. No scientific medical terminology, just the straight facts.
When you eat small meals throughout the day you are speeding up your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories. People with fast metabolisms are relatively thinner than people with slow metabolism. The thing is that most people don’t know that they can “speed” their metabolism up. A good way to do this is by eating more often throughout the day and not just eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Often times I’ll hear people say when they lose weight “I skipped eating my dinner at night and I’ve lost 10 lbs.” That might be true and cutting out any one of your meals might work for a little while. But in the long run, this will not work. Sooner or later you will go back to eating your dinner or whatever meal you cut out and your body will begin to store that extra meal as fat fearing that you might decide to cut out that meal again in the future. Remember, the body adapts to whatever you throw at it. If it senses that you are starving it (which is what it will sense if you cut out a meal) it will adjust accordingly and start to store food away to compensate for the reduced calories it is now experiencing.
Okay, back to eating more throughout the day. I want you to follow along with me here. I want you to pretend that your stomach is a separate person than the rest of your body. If you were able to hear your stomach talk, this is that you might hear it say if you were eating only 3 big meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Here we go again, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m going to start holding onto all these meals. There’s no use in “burning off” these meals, they’re few and far between. You give me breakfast at 7:00 a.m. and then I don’t get lunch until 12 noon, and then I don’t get dinner until 6:00 p.m. I’ll have to hold onto them until you can give me a reason to burn them off.”
I’ll tell you what you might hear your stomach say if you fed it every 3 to 3-1/2 hours. “This is great, I just got lunch at 12 noon and since I know I’m getting that next small meal at 3:00 p.m., I’ll just burn off my lunch. There’s no reason to hold onto any of these meals. I’m being fed every 3 hours. I’m never “starving”, and for that reason I never overeat.
The bottom line is the more meals you eat throughout the day the more efficient your body becomes at burning off these meals. Just the opposite applies when you don’t eat very often throughout the day. Your body goes into a mode of “starvation” and “holds” onto each and every meal, fearing that next meal will not be for a very long time.
Some of you on the other hand might say, “Well often times I’ll eat lunch at 12 noon and come dinner time I’m still not really that hungry, why should I eat now, that sounds crazy?” The answer to that is very simple; to speed up your metabolism.
So for those of you who feel you have slow metabolisms, or those of you who feel you need to stop eating in order to lose weight, the answer lies in; Lifestyle Eating. I also like to refer to this lifestyle eating plan as “Kevin’s Strive for Five”. You would optimally aim to eat five to six times a day, but start with trying to eat at least five.
That’s very important also – as I mentioned earlier, it’s a lifestyle, not a diet. So if someone asks, “What’s that new diet you’re on”? Simply tell them, “It’s not a diet, it’s how I’m eating all the time from now on and I don’t ever plan on “going off” of it.
What exactly is a “Small Meal?”
This is probably a question you’ve had since the beginning of the article and I’ll cover that in just a minute. I just want to first say that all of the meals throughout the day need to be healthy–I’m not recommending a cheeseburger and fries as one of your meals. But remember, healthy foods are delicious and they’re not limited to just tofu and cottage cheese, there’s plenty of options out there and we’ll get to them in a little bit.
Remember also I cannot give exact sizes and calories of meals because a 300 lb. woman is going to eat very differently than a 180 lb. woman. The idea is still the same, small meals throughout the day, but the size of the small meals will be a little different.
One great piece of advice that will really answer the question of the size of the meal is that you should eat each meal until you are satisfied (notice I said SATISFIED and not FULL, there is a difference). Once you are satisfied, you stop eating and do it again in 3 to 3 ½ hours. Your body will become so in tune with this that you won’t even need to be around a clock and you’ll know when it’s time for another meal (your stomach will growl, which is really your metabolism saying it needs more fuel). When you first start eating this way there will be some trial and error and you’ll do some guessing as to what is the proper serving size for you. But in a little while you’ll come to know exactly how much food you need.
How many times have you eaten lunch or dinner and walked away from the table feeling completely stuffed? I know I have plenty of times. The reason you don’t want to feel this way is because:
a) that means that you’ve probably consumed too much.
b) your next “small” meal is only 3 to 3-1/2 hours away. You don’t need to eat like this is your last meal.
The biggest obstacle you might have is cutting down on the amount you eat at dinner. Breakfast and lunch also, but most people consume most of their calories at dinner. But when you have those “small meals” in the morning and afternoon, you won’t
be as hungry come lunch/dinnertime, and that will prevent you from having a large meal at those times.
That’s why the name small meal is used. It takes away the perception of the big 3 that we’ve mentioned – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead of these being the normal large portion meals of the day, they now become 3 of the 5 to 6 small meals that you have.
That brings me to my next point and something that might take you a little longer to get used to. I want to break down the “small meals” even further and suggest that once you get the hang of eating 5 to 6 times a day, here’s another strategy that will help you out even more. Try and have a lean protein, a starchy carbohydrate and a fibrous carbohydrate with each meal. Let’s look at the breakfast example on the previous page. The egg whites are the lean protein, the red pepper is the fibrous carb, and the whole grain bread is the starchy carb.
So the goal is to attempt to get one item from each of the 3 categories in each meal, and the meals should be pretty close to equal in size. That means the piece of
grilled chicken (lean protein) should be about the same size as the baked potato (starchy carbohydrate) which is the same size as the serving of broccoli (fibrous carbohydrate).
There are also some strategies you can use to further enhance your fat loss. One of those strategies is to cut back on your starchy carbs as the day goes on. So that means you will have most of your carbs during your meals before lunch and then keep having less and less after lunch so by the time you get to dinner and any meal thereafter, you are just eating protein and almost no carbs. This strategy and others like it would occupy a whole book, more than anything I just want you to grasp the concept of eating 5 to 6 times a day.
Now remember, you might not be able to get to a meal every 3 – 3-1/2 hours right off the bat, and you might not be able to get a portion of each type of food right away. All I’m asking is that you try and do better than what you are currently doing. If you can do that each week, you’re guaranteed to see an improvement and it won’t be long until
you’ve mastered the art of lifestyle eating and it becomes as routine as putting your clothes on before you leave the house.
One final note: Always keep in mind that this is not intended for someone who wants to lose weight really fast. Losing fat, getting stronger, etc. is a gradual process that needs to be done over time. No “quick fixes” here. Just a guarantee of a faster metabolism and skinnier jeans!
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