As a graduate in Biochemistry, I worked at a women’s center helping to improve the health of clinically obese women. The one constant was that each of these women were conflicted when it came to food. They thought food was the enemy and tried eating as little as possible. Every women consumed less than 2 meals a day, mostly at night.
They never ate breakfast because they said they were not hungry. They were not hungry because their metabolism was slowed to conserve calories. By only eating 1-2 meals a day, they were going for an extended period of time without food. Your body does not know if it is stranded in the desert or 5 minutes from a restaurant. It has to protect itself, if it assumes there is a food shortage it will retain every morsel from the next meal.
The hardest part for people to grasp is that you have to eat more food, more often throughout the day to lose excess body fat, especially breakfast. Breakfast means breaking a fast, this meal jump starts your metabolism for the rest of the day. My ladies also said they didn’t eat breakfast because if they did they would be hungry a few hours later, and they were trying to avoid eating. Hunger is a good sign, it mean the metabolism is increasing.
If you wait too long between meals, blood sugar levels drop and you will likely make bad food choices. So the first week I added one mini meal a day to their diet. The next week I added another meal, until finally they were consuming around 5 - 6 mini meals per day, 2.5 – 3 hours apart. Their bodies became a fat burning furnace, utilizing the calories in their meals for energy rather than storing them as fat. Energy levels and blood sugar were stabilized and body fat was slowly melting away.
It is important that each mini meal contain a little bit of protein, fat and fiber. The purpose of these macronutrients is that they help create a steadier rise in blood sugar so you feel more satisfied, for longer. For instance, eating only a container of fat free, sugar free yogurt (a chemical sh*# storm), can spike blood sugar and then drop blood sugar levels fast, leaving you feeling tired and hungry for simple sugar, processed food.
Basically we all should eat like a well-managed diabetic. Keeping your blood sugar stabilized keeps your cravings at bay and improves your energy levels. By the time you are ready for dinner, you are so nutritionally satisfied from your previous mini meals that your appetite is "chill". Your lunch and dinner portions will decrease without having to access your willpower & your food choices will improve as well. If you do happen to have pizza that night, at least you will only have a couple of slices versus the whole thing.
Raw Crunch bars became an integral part of the plan to add convenience, nourish the body and leave them feeling energized. It’s not easy planning for 5 meals, always have convenient healthy snacks or a nourishing smoothie (almond milk, frozen fruit, a little protein powder, scoop of almond butter) as your “go to” so you are always prepared.
My ladies were now feeling light and motivated to move. We were moving alright, especially since muscle, rather than fat is usually the first to go when people deprived their bodies of calories for too long. In turn, body fat percentages increase over time making it even harder for them to lose weight. It takes just a few calories a day to maintain a pound of fat, but 50-100 calories a day to maintain a pound of muscle. Think about how many calories you can burn at rest if you pack on muscle. So keep your body nourished, lift weights, invest in muscle and don't be afraid to eat.
It should not be about what you can’t have, it’s about developing a healthy attitude toward food slowly. Food is an entertainment as well as a process of life, shared in a relaxed atmosphere with friends and family. Consume Food, do not let food consume you.