Today I want to go a little deeper into the widely accepted nutrition “rule” that you may want to ditch.
The first time I ever played around with “SIX SMALL MEALS A DAY” was when I started training for figure competitions. I can’t even say a truly positive about this approach for me. If anything, maybe I got to look forward to eating so many times per day? But, what it cost me outweighed that “perk” so much.
So the science will say how eating every 2-3 hours will keep your metabolism running best. It will keep you from letting your blood sugar drop and ultimately reduce cravings. Well, maybe it does for some. BUT it didn’t for me. And as I ventured into my intuitive eating journey, I quickly found why this was not for me. Aside from being a giant pain in the ass to prep and pack six meals, I WAS NEVER SATISFIED. AND WHEN YOU AREN’T SATISFIED, BEWARE OF TROUBLE.
This small meal approach left me always wanting more. Always preoccupied with food. And always drooling over my next meal. And because they have to be limited in calories so you don’t overeat by the end of the day, I found it restrictive because I most often wanted more. ***A couple disclaimers here: show prep is different than real life eating. You enter it knowing it can’t be sustained for life, even though you’d love it to be. Also, you may be a grazer who loves this approach! If so, this blog isn’t for you.***
However, if you find yourself not very satisfied and wanting more, try this. EAT REAL MEALS. Go back to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks optional and as needed. I often find one snack sufficient, but it varies depending on the length and intensity of my day.
When I increased my amount of real food, I became more satisfied. I stopped measuring my rice and sweet potatoes. Shit, I even went back to butter on my sweet potatoes cuz I freakin love it. I allowed myself to eat turkey sandwiches again sometimes. I don’t measure my meat. I don’t eat fake food. I choose real ingredients. I bake. And I d my use Splenda. Xylitol. Etc. I make meals I love and in turn, my satisfaction increases. Meals you may not see on a nutrition plan. Meals like chicken, rice and peas with a little sweet and sour sauce. Turkey, lettuce, cheese and cucumbers on a whole grain bagel, with some chips. A chicken wrap with lettuce, cheese and BBQ. Tomato and zucchini sauce over chickpea noodles (no, not measured to 1/2 cup). Taco meat with salsa, tomatoes and corn over rice, in a wrap, over salad or even with corn tortilla chips.
Guys, this is real food. This isn’t pizza and wings cuz I allow myself whatever I want. I value health. I value how I feel. And eating ENOUGH real food has helped eliminate bingeing and greatly decrease any overeating. You ever think how freeing it would be to sit down with a bowl of chicken stir fry over rice and not have shit measured??? I’m not saying dump a bag of cheese or bottle of sugary sauce on your food. But you can use them. You don’t have to stick with mustard and freakin hot sauce. Try to avoid high fructose corn syrup and then enjoy your freakin meal.
Now, it just so happens I eat most of my daily calories by 3pm. Not on purpose. But because I feel best eating breakfast. No, I don’t eat it at 5am when I wake up. I tend to not eat until 7-8 depending on when I’m hungry and what my schedule allows. Lunch is around noon and it’s a meal for a queen! I pick what I want. At this point, I’ve been up since 5, trained 6-8 hours, and possibly did a workout. My body needs more than 300-400 calories. So I give it that.
This means I don’t have to pack 2-3 meals for my morning shift at the gym. I enjoy my lunch. And maybe I bring a small snack with me for my afternoon shift, in case I do get hungry. And then I eat dinner around 7. And this works for me. It keeps my belly and mind full and satisfied. I’m not preoccupied with food and prep. I have flexibility and I’m not tied down to eating and prepping.
This is not the end all be all. This is just MY experience that I wanted to share in case you are finding that you are never satisfied and maybe even overeating because you are under eating. Whatever the reason, you may want to try going back to 3 meals and 1-2 snacks if needed. You don’t have to follow the 6 meal law. You won’t get thrown in jail for not packing six containers of food. You may actually break out of food jail by allowing yourself satisfying, balanced, real meals. Think about it.
This is only a suggestion but if you have any questions, please reach out to me. I had to stop following conventional fitness rules to find my food happiness. I had to stop listening to everyone else and listen to myself. This helped me and maybe it will help you too.