A guest post by Samantha Gladish, Holistic Wellness ExpertI’ve seen it over and over again; people who spend their days prepping 5-6 meals and race to the fridge every 2-3 hours to devour their food. Not only does this approach leave you really hungry, because your portions are very small, but eating all day long forces your body to overproduce insulin.
Now don’t get me wrong, can one achieve their weight loss goals with 5-6 mini meals spread evenly throughout the day? Yes, this is totally achievable, however, this approach may not be the healthiest or the best option for you, especially when it comes to managing blood sugar and insulin.
Let’s take a deeper look into insulin and blood sugar to really get a clear understanding of this:
Your pancreas produces insulin, the hard-working hormone that seeks out sugar, also known as glucose and turns it into useful energy.
When you eat a meal, sugar enters your bloodstream in the form of glucose. Your pancreas secretes insulin to manage the sugar in your blood and transports the sugar to your cells. Once at your cells, insulin basically knocks on the cell door and asks to enter with sugar in tow.
In a healthy body, the cell doors will hear the knock and open the door. On the other hand, if you are consuming a high carbohydrate diet and not exercising, this process doesn’t always happen and the cell door won’t answer the knock. If you are constantly forcing insulin to over work and knock on the cell doors, over time, both your pancreas and cells become exhausted.
Your pancreas is one tough little bugger, and when your cells won’t open their door to insulin, your pancreas is forced to produce more insulin in an effort to get the sugar through the cell door.
Chronically high levels of insulin make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight.
This is why spreading out your meals, roughly 4-6 hours apart not only manages your insulin levels effectively, but it also helps you to burn fat! Not only do your burn through glycogen (stored sugar), but your burn through adipose tissue (fat) when you space out your meals this way.
On top of fat loss and balanced blood sugar levels, eating only 3 meals a day helps to eliminate gas and bloating and optimizes digestion, allowing your digestive system to actually have enough time to digest and assimilate food and nutrients between your meals.
Although calories play a role when it comes to weight loss, eating less and exercising more seems to be the go to approach. Unfortunately, this type of model doesn’t fit well with many people especially with their lifestyles.
I’m a huge proponent of exercise and we should all be doing what we can to move our bodies, but the reality of the matter is; our diet serves the biggest role when it comes to managing weight. In fact, exercise is one of the best ways to manage blood sugar and insulin, so the two really do go hand in hand.
What matters it that you find the healthy balance for you and don’t feel like you need to spend all day prepping 5 or 6 meals and hours in the gym.
Simply following 3 healthy and balanced meals a day with moderate weekly exercise will bring you close to your weight loss and health goals.
Be sure your meals contain adequate and healthy protein sources, such as chicken, turkey or fish, an array of vegetables (and lots of them), plus healthy fats like nuts, seeds or olive oil and be conscious of carbohydrate intake. Remember fruits are carbs too. Including some in your salad or as part of your meal can sometimes be enough to get in that “sugar” fix.
If you’ve been stuck eating 5 or 6 meals a day and find this approach just isn’t working for you, try to take your meals and divide them into the 3-meal model. You just may find that not only is it less stressful and easier to follow, but that you feel more energized, less bloated and more balanced.
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