One of the most common misconceptions about weight loss is that you have to exercise more and eat less. A study conducted by the Association for the Study of Obesity in Las Vegas, Nevada found that eating the right food in small portions 5-6 times throughout the day is actually more effective in losing weight. The study found that “eating more low-energy-dense, water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, was associated with lower body weights,” said Dr. Barbara Rolls, a nutritionist who directed the study. This strategy includes eating three meals and two snacks. To retrain your body to accept new eating patterns, follow these simple rules:
1. Eat often – Eat every three to four hours. Think of your metabolism as the gas tank in your car. If you keep it above “E” you will never run out of gas or have to rush to the station to fill it back up again to the top. If you let yourself get too hungry between meals you often overeat because you are so famished, which leads to discomfort and added unnecessary calories. When you eat every three to four hours you keep your metabolism in-tact, which fuels your body giving you the needed energy to get you through the day. This will ensure that you don’t crash which can lead to bad food choices.
2. Snack right – Use your snacks should be used to satisfy your hunger between meals, not to fill your time to relieve boredom. Stay away from packaged food like chips, cookies and bars. These are generally packed with sugar, fat and calories which will make your hungrier in less time and lead to a spike of energy followed by a steep crash. Choose foods high in fiber like fruit, vegetables, and nuts. These will fill you up and keep you satisfied until your next meal without the added sugar, calories or fat content. These snacks should stay between 100-200 calories. Add protein like peanut butter with your apples slices or hummus with your veggies to enhance satisfaction and fulfil your daily servings. (Making healthy snacking easier by keeping grab-and-go snacks on hand like bags of almonds and a stick of cheese or an apple that you can just throw in your bag on your way out the door)
3. Always eat breakfast – Eat first thing in the morning, even if your not a “breakfast person”. You need to give your body fuel to start off the day. Going back to our gas tank analogy, you can’t get very far on an empty tank without having to stop at whatever gas station is available to fill up. This means no matter where you are, when hunger strikes, you will reach for whatever is available, which is generally not the healthiest options. Try a piece of fruit and whole wheat toast or Greek yogurt with grapes and almonds. If you can stomach it, eggs are your best option because they are packed with protein.