Tuesday, August 17, 2010

they tell you this all of the time, but it really works.

i am beginning to think that eating all of the time is the way to go.

it sounds crazy, but that whole eating 5 or 6 small meals across the day instead of 2 or 3 large ones? it really works.

for a host of reasons, this the way that i am eating now and it's more challenging than it seems.  so, if you have been considering doing this, please learn from my process--here are a few tips, tricks, and psychological strategies to help you make the transition from the traditional 3 meal mentality to a healthy, metabolism-boosting grazer.
  • don't forget to eat. this may seem silly and, perhaps, impossible, but it's not.  at first, i started eating smaller meals because i just wasn't that hungry.  after doing this for a few days, my stomach seemed to shrink, making the 5 to 6 meal plan the necessity rather than the choice.  but i would forget to eat because it was so unnatural for me to include so many snacks and meals in my day.  (that's bad, in case you didn't know.)  if you let yourself get too hungry, all manner of bad things will happen. let me tell you how it manifested itself in my world: headache, fatigue, dehydration (if you're not eating, you're probably not drinking either), and, what is most likely for all of us, seeing food and inhaling whatever came into my wake without regard to nutritional or caloric content.
  • relish in your multiple opportunities to choose wisely. sometimes it's easier to just grab something that has no nutritional value. but when you're eating 5 or 6 small meals, you have more chances to choose wisely.  you decided to eat 250 calories worth of ice cream?  that's okay.  you have another chance coming up again to choose a meal of greens and protein. 
  • plan ahead.  sometimes, for me, that planning is just a few hours ahead.  if i have just eating something carb-heavy, i think about what i can choose for the next meal that will balance out that carb choice. i try to include, in my snacks, a heavy dose of fruits and vegetables, but it's sometimes challenging to do. but having carrot sticks readily available, for example, would make that choice a lot easier to make.  for a while, we had big bowls of cantaloupe available in our fridge, already cut up. since cantaloupe is a superfood, the ready availability of this sweet and healthy snack made it easy to incorporate into my small meal planning.
  • be aware of portion sizes.  if you have been calorie counting for a while, you will know that, mathematically, you'll need to be aware of portion sizes when you're eating these small meals. you can't eat 5 meals of 500 calories each and expect to do anything but gain weight. however, depending on your caloric goals, you can easily eat 4 meals of 300 calories each (at the absolute lowest end) or 5 meals of 300 calories each (perhaps a more moderate goal) and still see success.  
  • begin to tune in to your body's cues.  if you do this for a while, and if your goal is to listen to your body and feed it well, you'll begin to pick up on what works for you and what doesn't work for you.  i have been literally astounded at how much better i feel, psychologically and physically, when i am paying attention to the cues that i am being given.  
  • drink your water.  you should be drinking, at the bare minimum, 64 ounces of water.  really, though? you should be drinking much more, depending on your individual circumstances.  water not only helps your body run and helps you lose weight, if that's your goal, but it also keeps your body's cues more clear.  thirst can often mask itself as hunger--and thirst is a sign of dehydration. your goal, really, should be to not feel thirsty at all.  it's hot, it's still summer, and we're all busy, active people.  keep water with you and make it your friend. 
i posted a few weeks ago about wanting to get more in touch with my body. boy howdy, am i.  i am here to testify that, if something's not working for you, try something different.  keep your body guessing, but keep it fueled with healthy things.  if you do, your metabolism will thank you.

2 comments:

  1. my mom and i had this exact discussion last night. two weeks ago, she cut out all liquid calories and switched to water and crystal light..and she started eating every two hours..and she has lost 9lbs already!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi this is Meghan's Mom. Since I work in an area that allows breaks for employees every 2 1/2 hours for 20 min I try and take advantage of that time frame.

    I pre package foods for 3 or 4 days at the time for myself and my husband. For me these are some of the things I am trying to do on a regular basis.

    Drink one bottle of water with every snack or meal. Drink one bottle of water as soon I get up in the morning.

    My 20 minute breaks do not allow you time to eat lots of food. Zip lock bags or small storage containers are great to control the portions. I spend a few minutes one day every 3 to 4 days prepping the food. I put together a variety of nuts in packaged portions, tuna salad with tomato,fruits cut up in bite sized pieces or grapes, grain bars etc, small pop corn bags, you get the idea. Just have it ready the food choices thought out.

    I watched my friend loose a lot of weight thru a popular weight loss plan that had her eating small portions of food every two hours.

    By keeping her system balanced and lowering her calorie in take she lost weight.

    I have eliminated fruit juices ( excess calories) and soft drinks (sugar). I totally dislike diet soft drinks. I also have tried to replace my sugar binges with healthier choices. When I have my chocolate cravings I have alternatives ready for that as well. By eating more frequently I do not reach the I must have candy or sugar cravings as FREQUENTLY. So far!

    Like teacher girl I have always waited too long to eat and have seen the signs from waiting too long.

    headaches
    sleepiness
    Loss of focus

    Have a great week!
    It took me a long time to get started so any time is a good time to start or start over.

    Gayle

    ReplyDelete