Although the rule of thumb for those trying to lose weight is to not consume more calories than you burn, there are many more tricks out there. One of them is the five-meals-per-day plan. As easy as it sounds, it implies eating five times a day, instead of the traditional three or the often-practiced one meal a day. Even though nutritionists do argue about its benefits, one key factor is for sure: psychologically, it makes your body think “oh, more food is on it’s way, I might as well just burn the calories recently consumed”. Eating at regular intervals and not allowing more than five hours to pass without having at least a healthy snack does have an impact on your body, whether you are trying to lose weight or get rid of that ugly habit of overeating.
- Eating more often can help curb hunger: If you are following a weight-loss plan based on a low-calorie diet, hunger is your biggest enemy. You must have read a thousand times that there is no need of starving to lose weight, but you have no clue how this can be possible. Well, eating five times a day is the answer. The secret, though, is to indulge with small, balanced, highly nutritious meals. As you might have guessed, having deep-fried chicken and sugary drinks five times a day will be of no good. The same effect will occur when choosing five huge meals a day. Eating smaller meals throughout the day is the right answer.
- Breakfast within one hour of waking up is the Holy Grail of weight loss. People who never skip breakfast are more likely to resist the temptation to snack or crave unhealthy or junk food. Experts believe that if you begin your day with a nutritious breakfast and continue having a meal every three or four hours a day, you are less likely to go overboard during the mealtimes. Following this scheme, your day should include a breakfast, a mid morning snack, lunch, evening snack and dinner. Research has found that people who eat three meals a day or less, tend to eat more calories than those who break up their intake of calories throughout the day.
- The habit of having five small meals a day also controls your blood sugar levels and insulin production. When eating more often, you get a steady supply of blood sugar. What happens when you get large blood sugar spikes from eating two huge meals a day? The feeling of fatigue, which so many of us dread, is one of the side effects. On top of that, your body gets its supply of all necessary vitamins and minerals. How? Studies have shown that people who have more meals per day do vary their diet more than those who go for two or three big meals a day.
Although eating more times a days sounds pretty easy, you must keep in mind that other factors also have their say. First of all, do not forget to measure your portions – you should not eat more calories than you were eating on a three meals per day plan. It is easier to have a reasonable portion if you measure it using your hands. Your stomach is the size of your fist, and the meals you have should not be bigger. Also, make sure your snacks are high in protein or fibre and drink plenty of water.