Eating more often each day to lose weight may seem counterintuitive. However, eating four to six smaller meals throughout the day can actually be better for your overall health. When you limit your food intake to two or three large meals per day, you’re more likely to fill up on bigger portions, and overeat as a result. Also, by limiting your caloric intake to only a few times a day, your blood sugar drops, leaving you feeling sluggish and craving empty carbs for a quick energy boost. Smaller and more frequent meals can actually help you live a healthier lifestyle.
Small Meals Keep Your Appetite in Check
Eating four to six smaller meals keeps your body feeling satisfied throughout the day, rather than fluctuating between feeling starving and stuffed after only two or three large meals spaced further apart. Eating small amounts frequently helps prevent the cravings that set in between meals, and the subsequent bingeing when it’s finally time to eat. That way, you’re less likely to feel the need to reach for a sugary snack to hold you over until dinnertime.
Increase Your Energy Levels With Small Meals
When you eat, your body converts carbohydrates into glucose to give you energy. However, eating too much at once leaves your body with more glucose than it needs, causing spikes in your blood sugar levels. In the same vein, when you go too long between meals, your blood sugar levels plummet. This sets your energy levels out of whack and leads to a cycle of cravings and energy crashes. Eating smaller meals more frequently keeps your blood sugar levels steady, which provides you with a steady flow of energy throughout your day.
Boost Your Metabolism
Eating smaller, more frequent meals helps keep your metabolic rate high and efficient, helping to aid in weight loss. While intermittent fasting can be beneficial, going long periods without eating too frequently will slow down your metabolism, as your body tries to conserve energy. It’s much easier to be active and burn calories when you’re not being slowed down by digesting a large meal.
Keep Your Hormones in Balance
Several hormones in our body control our weight and metabolism, such as insulin. When we eat too infrequently, eating causes larger insulin spikes. In addition to causing increased fat storage, these spikes are followed by crashes, which cause strong hunger and cravings. This can result in weight gain, as well as potential chronic health issues like insulin resistance and high blood pressure. Eating multiple small meals a day helps to regulate these hormones.
Improve Your Digestion
Eating a lot at once puts a strain on your digestive system. When you eat a big meal, it takes a lot more effort for your body to process it and absorb the nutrients. Your body directs blood flow to your gut to help with digestion, resulting in less blood flow to the extremities and brain (hence the infamous food coma). Smaller meals means less stress on your digestive system, resulting in a healthier gut. Plus, eating small, frequent meals is often recommended for people with digestive conditions, such as acid reflux, to lessen their symptoms.
Stay in a better mood
Everyone knows you get crankier when you’re hungry. Drops in blood sugar signal your body to go into survival mode, and it releases stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline). This can lead to mood swings and sleep issues. Keeping these hormones in check keeps you energized throughout the day, and leaves you able to rest better at night. Having a steady stream of nutrients also bolsters your brainpower, improving your memory, concentration, and productivity.
Save more time
Our lives are busier than ever, and trying to plan, cook, and sit down for big meals that meet all of our dietary needs is often time-consuming. Smaller meals involve quicker prep time and don’t take as long to eat. They’re also typically easier to take on the go as well. This can help prevent those times when you skip a meal because you’re running late, only to overeat later on because you’re starving.
It’s important to keep in mind that what you eat is still important for ensuring you lose weight. Eating frequent small meals isn’t going to make a difference if you’re still loading up on refined or sugary foods. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods, and pairing carbs with protein and healthy fats. In addition, listen to your body’s cues. Eat when you’re hungry, but don’t wait until you’re starving. Don’t force yourself to eat if you’re not hungry yet, either. This can lead back to a pattern of overeating.
If you’re struggling to maintain healthier eating habits, Revival Fitness can help you come up with a plan tailored to your dietary needs. Contact us to sign up for a free consultation.