When it comes to nutrition, yes, WHAT you eat is key. But sometimes, going cold turkey & completely overhauling your food choices can downright cause insanity.
In my trainings at Duke Integrative Medicine as a professional integrative health & wellness coach, and in my Functional Nutrition trainings as well, I’ve learned some key nuggets of intel when comes to making changes to up-level our overall health & well-being.
One method my clients have been enjoying lately is not stressing about WHAT they’re eating, but instead becoming more aware of HOW and WHY they’re eating.
Read on to find out why it works …
WHY MIND YOUR MEAL SPAN: It’s important to control your hunger rather than having your hormones or emotions control you.
NOT SO ACCURATE THEORY: Recent diets told us to eat every 2 to 3 hours “to keep our metabolism up,” but studies have suggested that’s not biologically true.
BLOOD SUGAR IS QUEEN: You want to keep a steady blood sugar so your body can release fat, protect your new lean muscle mass, eliminate cravings & increase energy. And –> Eating too many snacks disrupts that clean & steady blood sugar level.
MIND BLOWN: In her book Body Love, certified holistic nutritionist Kelly LeVeque is just one proponent of the theory that fat burning and weight loss happen during an optimal time of 6 hours between meals.
IT MAY SOUND CRAY: But with complete, nutritious, filling, super-healthy meals you CAN spread your meals 5 to 6 hours apart. Instead of relying on too many snacks, try to eat complete, filling, nutritious meals to satiety (just to full, but not overfull) that contain enough of the following:
- Protein: lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, lentils
- Fat: olives, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, avocado
- Fiber: leafy greens, ground flaxseed, fruits
- Greens: spinach, kale, romaine, Swiss chard, broccoli, brussels sprouts
- Flavor: pink Himalayan sea salt, cracked pepper, garlic, cayenne, paprika, ginger, turmeric, mint, lemon, curry, cumin, the list goes on.
BYE BYE, HUNGER HORMONES: You’ll be able to turn off your hunger hormones by eating these full, complete meals, then you can go about your day without being a slave to snacks!
ACCORDING TO SCIENCE:
- Every time you eat, you begin the process of digestion, which requires your body to expend a lot of time & energy to break down food into molecules.
- Complete digestion can take 6 hours or more.
- When you snack, you’re asking your body to restart the process it has not yet completed from the last time you ate. This takes energy away from other repairs needed in your bod. And when your body cannot absorb and utilize food — it stores it as fat.
- You’re also not allowing your bod to burn fat between meals if you eat too frequently.
- BECOME MORE AWARE of how long you let your body digest between each meal & snack. 2 to 3 hours? 4 – 6 hours? 6+ hours?
- WRITE DOWN in a journal, on a post-it, or make a mental note what TIMES you eat throughout your day. To start, don’t even worry so much about WHAT you eat, but more so every HOUR you eat. Has it only been 2 hours? Are you truly hungry? Did you eat a complete enough meal?
- TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
- Try giving yourself a 12 hour window to eat, and a 12 hour window to noteat.
- For example:
- Breakfast: 7AM
- Lunch: 1PM
- Dinner: 7PM
- This will elongate your blood sugar curve rather than adding spikes to it. You’ll have fewer cravings, you’ll remain calm & centered, and you can trigger your body to lose weight – because healthy weight loss happens BETWEEN MEALS when we have balanced blood sugar and no excess insulin.
- Essentially, you’re retraining your body how to feel full & satisfied and find its optimal weight on its own.
- If 6 hours just isn’t working out for ya, even with complete & nutritious meals, try starting with 4 hours, then work your way up to 5, then 6. Keep yourself busy. And remember, every day is different!
- WHEN YOU JUST NEED A SNACK
- To get you there, you may need to incorporate a bridge snack to get used to this new method of eating.
- Consider having a healthy snack several hours after lunch, but several hours before dinner. You’ll need Protein & Fat. Some options include:
- A hardboiled egg with nuts or an almond butter packet
- Half an avocado with olive oil & salt
- Beef jerky
- Protein Fat balls
- Shoot me an email, tell a buddy, or post in the Community what you found.
- Are you a grazer and never really satisfied?
- Have you been using the excuse that you’re “supposed” to be eating every 2-3 hours?
- Get real honest with yourself, be open to trying a new strategy, and have FUN with it! My processes are all about LEARNING, never failing.
Hit me up with any questions if you try this nutritional exercise. More to come on simple tactics to become more aware of your eating HABITS if you’re looking to make changes in your overall health & well-being.
Wholeheartedly in health,
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- Body Love, Kelly LeVeque
- Duke Integrative Medicine, Professional Health Coaching Manual