1: Eat More Frequently Throughout The Day:
Knowing your metabolism means knowing what happens to your body when we feed or when we do not. Eating more often is usually advantageous for a variety of reasons. Eating more frequently helps to maintain a stable level of blood glucose levels that helps to give us consistent levels of energy during the day.
Balanced energy comes from stable food consumption. I typically prescribe 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. Those with higher calorie counts may, however, choose to divide their calories evenly over 5 to 6 meals.
For example, a person who consumes 2000 calories per day may prefer consuming 5 meals, each consisting of 400 calories rather than consuming three big meals and having 2 smaller snacks.
When calories are consumed, a thermic effect that takes place; that is, the metabolism rise in order to process those calories. It is simple; the more often we eat, the more ‘thermic’ effect the body is getting, thus a higher metabolism overall.
It only makes sense that if we are eating more often, we are providing the body with a more steady stream of nutrients. Our bodies can only process so much food at one time with maximum efficiency.
Imagine you have a paper cup, and there is a small hole in the bottom of it. Now, take that cup and hold it under a faucet of running water. The amount of water released at the bottom of the cup is limited to how much can pass through the small hole, and if you do not turn off the faucet in time, the water will overflow from the top of the cup before the cup has a chance to be emptied. Conversely, if you turn off the water before it overflows, the cup can empty properly, and the water can be turned on once more.
Our bodies are the same. When we either ‘turn on the faucet’ or start feeding, our bodies start digesting the food. When we allow the water to run (overeating at any given meal), there is not enough space in the body to hold all those calories, and the probability that they will ‘overflow’ and be deposited as fat is greater.
Smaller, More Frequent Meals:
It is better to eat a smaller amount, let the body properly handle that volume, and then re-feed it once there is room. Getting into this habit teaches the body to more efficiently use the calories it is given.
With this in mind, I’d also like to mention that regularly eating throughout the day will teach your body to become hungry at intervals parallel with increased meal frequency. It is very important not to skip any of these valuable meals. Those hunger pains are often warnings that the body has run out of fuel, and is thinking about dipping into your precious, metabolism sustaining muscle stores.
When you feel the hunger pains, you can eat, or your body can resort to your muscle protein and glycogen stores. The stress hormone cortisol is growing right around this moment, so if you don’t eat muscles will be broken down into sugar so fed to your brain in a cycle called gluconeogenesis.
In layman’s terms, you say? Your body will use your muscles for energy if that’s what you give it to work with, thus the importance of regularly eating throughout the day. Furthermore, the lower the calories, the more likely this is to happen.
I have observed in my own clients that those who are faithful to eating more frequently throughout the day lose less muscle over longer periods of time than those who skip breakfast, forget meals or choose to eat only two or three times per day.
Not only will you be moving toward your goals faster by doing this, but mentally you will be stronger simply from having more energy in the body and the mind. You are MUCH less likely to experience excessive hunger or feelings of deprivation, which means the likelihood of “binging” and eating excessive calories in an effort to make yourself ‘feel better’ is greatly reduced.
Inevitably doing this only leads to ‘feeling worse.’ Eliminating tiredness, preventing slowed metabolisms, increasing the digestion and absorption of nutrients, and preventing muscle breakdown are all huge effects that will ultimately lead to increased feelings of satisfaction for yourself and the progress you are making. Bottom line, increase your meals, and decrease the monkey wrenches.
2: Eat Enough Protein And A Little Bit Of Fat At Every Meal:
It is essential to eat protein and some healthy fat at each meal, for various reasons. One very simple explanation is that for a longer period of time, this holds us whole. Nobody enjoys being hungry all the time, so adopting this habit of making your meals more balanced is a sure way to stave off hunger pains. There’s a valid explanation for that, though.
Digesting the proteins and fats takes our bodies longer than digesting the carbohydrates. Eating protein and fat not only helps avoid rapid spikes in blood glucose and subsequent spikes in energy level.
When you eat meals consisting solely or mainly of carbohydrates, this spikes blood sugar and insulin levels, resulting in a sudden “fall” that most frequently leaves you feeling mentally drained, physically tired, and hungry. If your goals are to increase lean body mass or lose weight, increased satiety, and metabolism will only enable you to achieve your goal.
Adding protein and healthy fat to each meal is not difficult to do. Here are some options:
- Cottage cheese
- Beef jerky
- Protein shake
- Shrimp or chicken or steak on a bed of salad – maybe with some avocado on it
- A handful of nuts added to any meal
- Protein bars
- Canned chicken or tuna fish sandwiches
Adding protein and healthy fat to your meals will increase your satiety – increase and maintain your mental and physical energy levels, and your metabolism will rise – aiding in any fitness goals. Doing this will only add the feeling to success into your schedule.
3. Eat Enough Fruits, & Fibrous Vegetables:
How many times did you finish the day feeling guilty of not eating enough fruits and/or vegetables? I know I’ve come across this many times. It doesn’t matter if you are on a diet program to be careful with yourself to make that happen, either.
From our young, we are all told that we must eat fruits and vegetables and fiber, And there’s an explanation of why. They’re too perfect for us! The importance of antioxidants in fruits and their positive effects on the body is unquestionable.
The health benefits of green and fibrous vegetables are unchanged over time, and the sense of satiety that high volumes of vegetables add to our meals is unmatched.
Thankfully this has been indoctrinated into our heads so well that we DO feel guilty if we don’t consume these essential foods. So, simply by consuming more of them, yet another area can be eliminated where you will undoubtedly feel you have ‘messed things up’ in your nutrition.
The first step, of course, would be to make sure your crisper is properly stocked. Methods I use with my clients to get them increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables are things like steaming vegetables over the weekend, so they can be readily warmed up and eaten.
I also suggest cutting things up over the weekend so that they can be thrown into a small Tupperware and brought to work, such as raw veggies. Another method that is fast and easy is to purchase bagged romaine leaves or spinach leaves and use it for a fast, easy salad.
Cutting a Roma tomato over the top of lettuce takes about 30 seconds, add a little salad dressing, and you have a plate full of delicious vegetables to consume. Add the meat that you prepare over the weekend to it, and you are basically eating a salad that is better than what you would get if you went out to eat.
As far as fruits go, grabbing an apple or banana to take with you when you go out is a simple habit, and even things like fruit salad are easy to make if you are simply cutting up apples and pears. This can be a hugely rewarding snack in the middle of the day, especially if you didn’t have to prepare it on the spot. Just add a handful of nuts, some jerky or a protein shake, and you have a perfect meal.
Day in and day out, your feelings of nutritional success will increase, and this time it will be alongside your health as your body enjoys the wonderful benefits these foods have to offer.
4. Eat ENOUGH Food To Sustain Your Metabolism & Your Goals:
There are only a handful of situations I can think of where extreme calorie restriction should be considered justified. Those involve training for a bodybuilding or fitness competition were to be successful; one must reduce their body fat to sub-normal levels. Even then, overeating is likely.
The over a diet is never so successful that your body has no choice but to feed your muscles as a source of nutrition around the clock. When eating increases the metabolism more often, then it stands that eating less often will reduce metabolism.
Not eating enough, in my opinion, is the largest culprit of lowering metabolisms in otherwise healthy persons. Let me describe a scenario for you, one that spells total failure.
It doesn’t sound nice, does it? But how many people have been in this or a similar circumstance? “Jane’s” problem, to begin with, was that she was ‘over-dieting.’ In order for her to lose any fat, it had to be supplied with a certain amount of calories to have the energy available to burn that fat.
It takes work for the body to get rid of fat and build muscle tissues. Trying to do this in a deprived state will only lead to disaster. Feeling of failure will build up day by day as progress isn’t made, and when the huge cravings seduce you, you will indefinitely have, feelings of discouragement will be overwhelming.
It is never worth it to starve yourself to lose weight or come anywhere, even near it. Finding the right amount of food to eat and consuming it responsibly and within reason will ultimately increase your feeling of self-worth as you give your body the exact tools it needs to transform itself.