Eat Frequent Smaller Meals
Eating frequent smaller meals throughout the day can help speed up your metabolism, resulting in more calories being burnt throughout the day. But how does it work?
To put it very simply, when you don't eat for a long period of time your blood sugar levels drop, then when you eat again they spike. When your blood sugar spikes that causes there to be excess insulin in your blood. When there is excess insulin in your blood your body stores fat more easily.
Therefore, under eating or going long periods without eating can actually have the reverse effect on your goals. It can cause your body to store fat rather than burn it and as a result assist in slowing down your metabolism. This is because when you are under consuming calories your body goes into ‘survival mode’, hanging on to everything it can as it doesn't know when the next meal will be coming. A slow metabolism = greater fat storage.
This is why people who consistently starve themselves or partake in a ‘meal replacement' fad diet gain weight soon after finishing the diet. Sure, during the diet they have lost ‘weight’ (both muscle and fat) but they have also slowed down their metabolism and turned their body into a ‘fat storing’ rather than ‘fat burning’ machine.
Also, if we are consuming frequent meals throughout the day we reduce the chance of binging on whatever food we can get our hands on when hunger strikes - which is usually junk food. The longer you wait between meals, the hungrier you get, and the more likely you are to overeat. After about 3 hours without food, blood sugar begins to fall, after 4 hours, your body has already digested whatever you ate earlier and once you’ve crossed the 5 hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel. Eating frequently will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day.
Another benefit is consistent eating has been proven to assist in helping you build muscle. As our body can only metabolise so much protein at one time, consuming your required protein intake over a number of smaller meals increases the amount of protein your body actually utilises and as we know, protein helps build muscle mass, which helps burn fat.
So how do we change to a fat burning machine and speed up our metabolism?
The answer; proper nutrition. Eat 4-6 portion-controlled, balanced meals every 3-4 hours throughout the day, and remember the quality of your food is just as important as the quantity. Ensuring your meals contain a mix of protein, good fats and fibre-rich complex carbohydrates will give you that feeling of satiety (fullness) and keep your metabolism fired up.
Still struggling with the concept? Think of this way; If you have a camp fire burning and you don't add wood to it, eventually it will burn out. But if you add a little wood every few hours, the fire will continue to burn. Our metabolism is the same, never or rarely feed it and it will slow down, feed it every few hours and it has no choice but to speed up! Faster metabolism = more fat burning, less fat storage.
And really, who doesn't love to eat!