By: Emily, RD, LD
Traditional mealtimes are limited to the familiar breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, the traditional structure of when we eat is interrupted by an ever-changing demand to balance long work hours, socializing with friends, caring for family, an exercise routine, as well as hobbies and self-care.
One basic need busy humans are constantly forgetting about is food! We budget time for everything else except the thing that is meant to keep us alive. Because of this, we are either undereating for the day or so ravenously hungry that we easily eat more than our body needs for one sitting (queue weight gain over time!).
For those trying to lose weight, small meals have been found helpful for many things, including reaching your healthy goal weight. This is why your Livea program encourages eating 6 times per day.
Why Is Eating Smaller Meals More Often Better for Weight Loss
We want your metabolism to stay busy! Eating small frequent meals will help the body stay in an active ‘burning-mode’ or producing energy for all your body’s needs. Especially on a weight loss plan where calories are in a deficit, skipping a meal or allowing too much time to pass between those meals and snacks may signal the body to go into a starvation mode due to not having enough protein and nutrients.
The goal of eating more frequently will help make the body comfortable, protect muscle mass, and allow the body to burn fat.
Stabilize Blood Sugars
When we eat food, our blood sugars increase. When we do not eat, our blood sugars can drop low. That yo-yo motion is not as optimal for long-term health or weight loss when the spikes are consistently very steep. To keep blood sugars balanced, we recommend eating smaller meals to help create a shorter spike (think: a hill versus a mountain).
Eating more often will also prevent the blood sugar from dropping too low, ultimately creating a shorter range in blood sugar levels. Weight loss is a great outcome, but this may also help manage and/or prevent pre-diabetes, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. The composition of our foods (protein, carbohydrate, fiber etc.) also make a difference.
Talk with your registered dietitian for balanced meal and snack ideas that help support your goals!
If we are anything alike, you might get a little cranky when you are hungry. Either a meal or snack was missed due to our busy lives, or we haven’t eaten all day and are ravenous by dinner. Our mood and energy shift in that moment is the body’s way of telling us we need food!
Eating small, frequent meals can be helpful in regulating hunger. For under eaters, eating more often can help the body to give them hunger signals that they may not have recognized before. For others, they feel less hungry with small, frequent eating because they are trickling in the nutrition to avoid the blood sugar drop that piling in a large meal might cause.
Learning Portion Control
Sometimes, weight loss is the easy part of your wellness journey, even if it does not seem that way while enduring it. However, maintaining the loss afterwards is where the real challenge may come into play. Enjoying meals and snacks six times per day allows you to practice portion control throughout your weight loss journey and beyond.
When it comes to maintenance, practicing portions by continuing to eat more often is a tool you can keep utilizing to prevent the body from storing excess calories. At a small meal, the body is more likely to utilize the nutrients more immediately with few leftovers that need to be stored.
When we revert back to only having three main meals per day (or less), you are more likely to eat more at that meal, but the body may not need everything that you are supplying right away. Therefore, it has to store the remaining nutrients for later as glycogen (stored carbohydrates) and fat in the body. Portions allow you to take only what you need in the moment.
Break Up Your Day
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned the constant efforts of trying to balance work, home, a social-life, and so on. We sort of adapt to function in a dark tunnel of constant busyness, and the only time to come up for air is when the work day is done and we are exhausted.
Eating small frequent meals each day can be an opportunity to come up for air and take a small break from our work environments. Think of it as punching holes in the dark tunnel to create more light and energy. After a snack and a few minutes away from our computer screens or stressful work environments, we can return to work more energized to focus on the tasks at hand. You will literally be fueling your brain and body to keep working.
A Forbes article also suggests that taking more breaks at work, especially lunch, may improve productivity and mental-health (1). This seems like a no brainer: Take breaks and eat snacks!
We hope this sheds some light on why you eat six times per day on the Livea plan! For more information call 1-855-GoLivea or visit livea.com.