I used to think I was being smart by forcing myself to eating just one main meal every day. It played into my desire to be as efficient as possible when it came to doing those things that were not directly responsible for moving me toward the goals I had set for myself.
I’m health and fitness expert Carolyn Hansen, author of the ebook “21 Days To Healthy Eating”:
I might have been efficient at using my time, but as far as my eating habits go I was about as inefficient as I could possibly be at maintaining my health and avoiding the middle-age spread that inevitably catches up with all of us who fail to allocate time to understanding what is going on with our body.
It turns out that when you eat fewer meals over the course of the day, you are signalling to your body that food is a scarce commodity. In response, your body “hunkers down” and prepares for the worst: an ongoing period where food will be in short supply. It lowers its metabolism, and instead of using every scrap of energy you provide it to power your bodily processes, it siphons off as much as it can to stash away for the coming days when it will need to draw upon those energy reserves. So builds a much fat as it can, usually around your midsection.
Oops. My once-a-day meal plan has actually been causing me to gain weight, rather than lose it. No wonder I always feel drained by the time evening comes around. My depressed metabolism is responsible for that! Fortunately, I now know the correct course of action to take. I need to eat more often. Not just 3 times a day like I used to do, but 5 or even 6 times a day. I know it sounds wrong, but according to experts like Carolyn Hansen, the more often you eat, the better.
The reasoning isn’t that hard to follow, given what I have already said about how depriving yourself of food causes your body’s metabolism to slow down. You can go entirely in the opposite direction by eating more often, but making your meal size correspondingly smaller, so that you take in no more calories every day than you would have if you were eating 3 times a day, or even just once.
The important thing is that the meals are spread out so that your body gets the message you want it to hear: “Hey, there’s plenty of food around. Look, so much of it in fact that I can find something to eat every few hours. No need to store belly fat. No rainy days on the horizon right now. Let’s stay trim and ready to pounce on the next food hunting expedition.”
I’ve alluded to the kind of evolutionary programming that has been wired into us over countless generations. Long ago when we actually DID have to hunt for food, and when the winter months saw long spells of enforced food rationing, getting fat when food supplies started to dwindle really did increase the chances of survival until the spring months. But these days we have food year round. Not only that, but we have made a habit of “denaturing” our food. We process the nutrition out of it, dip it in sweet syrup, trans fats, and other equally unhealthy concoctions, and supersize it for good measure.
In other words, we put ourselves on the fast track for weight gain every day that we ignore the principles of health eating that are spelled out in my book “21 Days To Healthy Eating”:
Take it from me, if you want to have your eyes opened to the damage you may be doing to yourself unawares, get a copy of my book and let me show you the error of your ways. At the very least you’ll think twice about that second helping of glazed donuts when they are placed in front of you in the tea room tomorrow morning.