Adopting a pattern of eating smaller, more frequent meals provides a number of benefits to both your health and weight loss goals. You’re less likely to overeat, and you’ll have a regular influx of energy to help keep you active. All the while your body will be burning calories more efficiently.
While fighting for for nicer looking physique you’ve probably read hundreds of articles presenting various opinions on what shall be done to achieve the goal. You may have looked for a magic solution or at least you did initially. The most common rule, however, isn’t very magical at all. The rule states that to keep in shape, one shall eat smaller meal every 2 to 3 hours. To be more precise, instead of eating your whole-day calories requirement by consuming 3 meals, divide the overall intake into smaller parts (6 to 8 effectively).
The logic behind this approach is simple. Smaller portions of food can be easily digested and absorbed by humans body. They deliver nice and steady energy levels that are maintained throughout the day, instead of having huge spike of energy delivered once in a while and then nothing for a long period of time. When you do it, your body gets confused: once it has lots of wok to do, so it tries to speed up, then, it has nothing to do, so it slows down. When another ‘load’ comes in, it’s not quite ready to manage it properly. By having more often, but smaller meals, you teach your body to burn more effectively, to work in a, more or less, steady pace. And you can also teach it to burn faster, to speed up metabolism, by adjusting calories intake. Of course, your metabolism can be affected by your activity – if you train hard, you’ll be able to burn more than when you don’t do anything! More frequent, smaller meals also teach your body that it is fed constantly, so there’s no need to store any calories as body fat. Unfortunately for body builders and anyone wishing to keep body fat levels as low as possible, human body is programmed to survive – it’ll do anything to store energy, just in case there’s a long starvation period. It’s the heredity from our ancestors, as they used to have problems with food supplies. In case of starvation or insufficient food supplies, the body ‘slows down’. It switches to storing, trying to cut on spending calories, hence, sadly, your muscles are killed in the first place! They simply burn calories! So keep your body fed and it won’t have to do it! Furthermore, each meal tells your body it needs to run, actually that it needs to keep going. That’s a very important message.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals is also valid from another point of view. Depending on how fast and efficient your metabolism is, you can only burn a certain amount of calories delivered in a meal. So every time you deliver more, yes, you’re right, the excess is stored as body fat! Imagine a bucket with a drainage pipe at the bottom, standing over a barrel. If you overfill the bucket, the excess water pours into the barrel – that’s the storage part. Indeed, some water will drain out through the pipe, outside the barrel – that’s burning part. And it’s very difficult to drain the barrel out! So try not to overfill the bucket, and drainage pipe will secure emptying it in a nice, steady pace, without overfilling the bucket!
Please bare in mind that sticking to splitting daily calories intake into more often meals is a general rule of thumb. Quite obviously there are times throughout the day when you actually need less calories, say while you’re at work, sitting behind the desk and some times when you require more – like around workout time. It would be desired to cut on calories while at work (please do not cut on proteins and not so much on fats) and increase the intake around the training – it is desired to increase proteins and carbos intake then! Try not to drift away from the average meal size too far away though, so that you don’t confuse your body. Eating the same, required daily calories intake, divided into 6 to 8 meals is way more effective way of speeding up and controlling metabolism, than delivering the same amount by consuming just 3 meals. It’s a bigger effort to eat more frequently, but give it a try. It’s worth it!