Tuesday, June 9, 2009
HEALTH & FITNESS
WANT TO LOOSE WEIGHT..?
EAT SMALL MEALS
Have you ever wished that you could eat more and still lose weight? Well, there may be some secret to this particular piece of advice for weight loss. Many diet programs and diet gurus advocate eating smaller meals more frequently. Instead of the usual three square meals a day, the practice of consuming smaller amounts of food at regular intervals throughout the day has been afforded attention. It is said to that this practice helps with weight loss by changing the body’s metabolism, or by taking advantage of it.
Imagine if you were to put just a small amount of fuel into a car and then forced the car to work that bit harder in order to use the last amounts of fuel in the tank before adding more fuel to continue onward. With this method, you will add “fuel” to your body several times throughout the day, kick-starting your metabolism to work that little bit harder for you.
The digestive system and hunger center in our brain are connected, so how we eat affects how long we feel full. Remember that the human body evolved for survival, thus it has many mechanisms to ensure survivability. For example, the brain signals hunger when your stomach is empty, and will cause you to want as much food as you can stuff into your belly. This mechanism evolved over times when food was scarce, and eating a lot was the only way to store energy for lean times. Even though times have changed, and food is readily available at most any time of the day, we still have these urges from our primordial beginnings. Thankfully though, by understanding why we eat what we eat, we can work against these urges, and even change them to some extent.
Unfortunately, this reaction can also be conditioned so that you feel hungry at certain times of day, even if you still have food in your stomach. Eating small meals frequently throughout the day will train the brain to feel less hungry by “informing” it that food is readily available for you to eat whenever you want to. Your body never enters the harmful starvation mode that can happen if the body goes too long without replenishing the fuel source. You also feel more satisfied, since you will be receiving food at periodic times throughout the day.
More frequent, but smaller meals can also mean better control over the food. When you are very hungry, you might feel that you do not care about the portion size or caloric content, as long as you get full! While this is a natural mechanism, it can prove to be a problem when you are trying to control your portions. Eating more often changes how your body seeks food, and you will always have something in your stomach, making you feel less hungry. Thus, the next time you eat, you can keep your portions controlled. By keeping the portions small, one is able to monitor the amount of calories one is taking in, as compared to the feeling of not caring about it when you are very hungry and then eating large meals.
The human metabolism rises and falls throughout the day, in accordance with how you eat. When food enters your stomach, the digestive system revs up to a higher state in order to deal with what is coming in. After a few hours, the food will have moved on and your digestive system goes into a low state. The highs and lows affect your energy levels, so you feel energetic a short while after eating, and tired in the couple of hours before the next meal.
Certain foods can cause this to happen with more fluctuation than others. Foods with high levels of MSG, such as certain Chinese dishes, have traditionally offered a crashing sensation after a large meal. Other dishes, like turkey with its high levels of tryptophan, can easily make you seek out a nap. It is at these times, you should fight the urge to snooze and instead choose to walk to rev up your metabolism after a large meal.
The concept of eating more frequently takes advantage of the system by keeping the digestive component of metabolism from going into a low state. By periodically injecting fuel into the system, you can keep metabolism in medium-to-high cycles instead of the usual low-to-high cycles. This means that in the times between your small meals, your body can keep burning calories at a reasonable rate, some of which will come from fat deposits. This practice of eat-often-eat-less keeps our energy levels at more-or-less constant levels, so we feel more energetic and thus can do more. By adding exercise into the mix, the amount of energy taken from fat deposits increases even more, and weight loss becomes a serious reality.
Now we are all aware that there are so many weight loss scams and quick fix promises out there that you will wonder sometimes just who or what you can trust, but don’t lose faith as I would also add that there are many genuine weight loss programs out there among all of the nonsense. A good rule of thumb is to remember that in the majority of cases excess weight has a cause and therefore also has a cure.
Let’s face it. Weight loss isn’t easy and when it comes to feeling good about yourself it is often a person’s biggest goal. Unfortunately very often you will try a diet, lose a little weight for a few weeks and then stop losing weight altogether or you will try a new diet and find yourself hardly eating at all whereupon you become depressed. We’ve all been there. Remember to keep an eye on the scientific facts, combine dieting with exercise and try to keep everything as natural as possible. Utilize supplements by all means, but use supplements that Mother Nature has supplied and not a laboratory!
The great thing is just by reading this article you have shown that you are determined in your mind to lose weight. You have proven that not only do you want to lose weight but you are unlike the people who just talk about it, you are someone who is intent on doing something about it. You are a go getter, you take action and you WILL get to your dream weight no matter what. So, well done – give yourself a pat on the back.
by: Mike Hooker