You may have heard people talking about eating 4 – 6 smaller meals more frequently (about 2.5 – 3 hours apart) throughout the day as opposed to 3 large meals? You may also have heard that eating fewer calories at night is ideal? Lets think about..eating a large meal increases the opportunity for fat cells to extract fat from the blood and, therefore, grow bigger. Fat cells can actually adapt to a pattern of large, infrequent meals by becoming more efficient at storing fat. In addition, a 2 – 3 meal-a-day pattern causes the body to face long stretches without food. By the time lunch or dinner rolls around, you’re so famished you’re more likely to make unwise food choices and overeat. Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the days, on the other hand, not only prevents you from gorging on unwise food choices; it helps you feel energized and satisfied (and keeps your metabolism “revved” up) throughout the day.
In addition to eating smaller meals more frequently there is some logic in not eating your largest meal late at night. The body’s metabolic rate has a natural cycle of highs and lows, peaking late in the day and dropping to its lowest level during sleep. So, it makes sense to avoid putting a large meal into your system 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, when your metabolic rate is beginning to slow down. If you do feel hungry after this time, you don’t need to go to bed hungry; just eat something especially low in calories and in a small portion. Protein and fibrous carbs (vegetables) are the very best types of food to eat at night because they’re so low in calories and have almost no adverse affect on blood sugar levels.
Oh and it’s important to note, just because you eat at night, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll gain fat. If you’re still in a caloric deficit, whether you eat at night or not, you’ll still likely lose fat. But eating less at night is an easy way to keep calories under control, especially since these extra calories aren’t needed at night before you go to bed because you’ll be inactive while you’re sleeping. Make sense?
OK, so additional helpful points to remember when trying to lose weight:
1. Eat small, frequent meals (4 – 6 meals/day) about 2.5 – 3 hours apart, and…
2. When working out your daily meal plan try organising fewer calories later in the day (which can easily be accomplished by focusing on protein and/or veggies).
Image by Eating Guide