Yes, we are going to talk about eating between meals! Were you brought up in a generation where you ate a routine three meals a day, 7 days a week, and had parents tell you that eating between meals would spoil your dinner? If so then this is going to contradict a lifetime habit.
The body is an amazing machine. A machine that never clocks off or takes a holiday, it works 24/7, three hundred and sixty five days per year. The food you eat is both the fuel and the oil for that machine in keeping it functioning and working at its best. By leaving large gaps between meals as you will when only eating three times daily actually puts your body under a great deal of stress and strain. These gaps cause a cascade of internal reactions that support the ongoing function in the absence of YOU re-fueling yourself!.
So let’s look in brief at what happens when you leave large gaps between meals. Hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol increase, glycogen is broken down to provide glucose for energy. Insulin then increases to manage this. If you don’t use up this extra energy (glucose) then it will get restored, likely as abdominal fat due to the specific hormone response mentioned.
Mostly, you are often unaware that this is going on, or at least think you are. Here are some cues that can occur that you might identify be able to with.
1). Hungry, Irritable
2). Afternoon slump around 3-4pm
4). Sluggish, lethargic feelings
5). Poor concentration at work especially in the afternoon
6). Training feels harder and you have no energy to give it
7). Building muscle is difficult and doesn’t seem to be happening
8). Jittery, moody especially in the afternoon
9). Fat loss progress is slow, stalls or even stops
10). Cravings for coffee / high sugar / stodge foods
So what can you do immediately to help keep your body energized all day. Include a Food Pit-Stop both mid morning and mid afternoon. Choose a protein and healthy-fat based snack. This will keep you satisfied and your body balanced. By adding in these mini-meals it will help making the right food choices the rest of the day easy and keep you progressing towards that body goal with confidence and enthusiasm!.
Tips for your Pit-Stops
- Don’t over complicate it choose something quick & easy
- You can have the same in the morning as you do in the afternoon for ease, however do vary them each day so that you introduce other nutrients & Vitamins to your body. This also prevents boredom too.
- Don’t leave snacks to chance, plan them in like your other meals, so you are never caught out and reach for the muffins instead!
- Make the time to take 5 to eat your food. This will actually help you be more productive at work afterwards as taking 5 minutes is all your need to eat and refresh your mind too.
- Notice how you feel when you add in these Pit-Stops?
- Make sure your snack includes protein and some healthy fats.
By including food pit-stops into your day you will support keeping your body happy and in balance and also reap many health benefits too such as of increased energy levels, productivity at work, mood, sleep quality, fat loss, muscle gain, performance in the gym and general overall well being.
I had the pleasure of putting this post together with my trainer friend & Fitness partner in crime Mirella.
It would be great to hear from you, if you already do this as routine what is your favorite snack?