“Why am I gaining weight!?” A common sentence coming from people trying to lose weight. They may do multiple things to see lower numbers on the scale, but in the end, it seems like those numbers are stagnant if not increasing. This is a problem for a lot of people today. This kind of problem leads to frustration, lowered self esteem, and in some cases health problems. Anorexia, bulimia, and food phobias are common in a lot of people, male and female. And while it makes sense to eat healthy foods with a rounded diet, the times that you eat are important as well.
What do you mean by timing?
Considering that everyone is different, it takes a different amount of time for food to be emptied from the stomach into the small intestine. As I’ve mentioned before, the small intestines is where nutrients are absorbed (all except fiber). The stomach liquefies everything. The stomach liquefying the food is what the meaning behind eating in intervals. This is what takes the 1-3 hours to begin to feel hungry again.
By eating every 1 to 3 hours, you can benefit yourself as I’ll discuss later in this.
OK, that makes sense. But how can I eat a meal that often?
As I’ve said before, having a major meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) is not what I mean by eating every 2-3 hours. Small snacks that are healthy work great. Doing so will keep your metabolism churning because of the continuous amount of food and nutrients being ingested.
Nutrient dense foods are foods that contain a high amount of nutrients but not as many calories. Examples would be whole grain, low fat dairy, lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables legumes (beans), and nuts.
Snacks I would recommend would be cereal bars by Special K, Nutrigrain, and even oatmeal bars. These have a good amount of carbohydrates for fuel as well as good vitamins and minerals which I’ll mention later in this.
Other snacks that are all around good are sandwiches. My personal favorite is peanut butter on whole wheat with a little jelly. Come on, who doesn’t like peanut butter and jelly? While it tastes good, there are good nutrients to reap the benefit of. For energy, you get good fats from the peanut butter, carbohydrates from the bread, and a little protein from both. You get sugars and vitamins from the jelly to help with quick energy and letting the carbs and fats take over to keep you awake.
What about large meals?
Large meals such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner should be slightly larger than that of the snacks you consume. By this I mean they should be large enough to give you energy for the next few hours, but not too much food to where it makes you tired. Then you’ll be groggy for the next few hours (think the traditional nap after Thanksgiving).
Anytime you hear large or major meals, think whole foods like 8 or more ounces of meat, potatoes, pasta, side salad, etc. Remember that there is a difference between snacks and meals. Granted you can eat left overs for snacks between meals, but proportion is usually the main difference.
Does metabolism play an effect? How?
Your metabolism has a few different parts to them. With reasoning, you need to convert absorbed nutrients into energy. I’m not going to go into detail for every step, but you’ll understand me.
There are three steps towards the rate that a metabolism is working.
The first step is to turn amino acids (protein), fatty acids (Triglycerides) and glucose (sugar) into a two carbon molecule called Acetyl CoA. While amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose have separate steps towards digestion and absorption, they all end up being converted into Acetyl CoA.
The second step puts Acetyl CoA into the TCA Cycle. The TCA cycle is a cycle of chemical reactions. Two Carbon molecules from Acetyl CoA attach to a 4 Carbon molecule named oxaloacetate (OAA). As the cycle proceeds, Carbon and Hydrogen bonds break. Carbons combine with Oxygen to form CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and the hydrogen’s electrons are charged and carried to step 3 via coenzymes (electron carriers). Two coenzymes are part of the structure of the B Vitamins Riboflavin and Niacin.
The third process releases the energy via ATP (adenosine Triphosphate). This is done by ATP capturing the charged electrons from the TCA Cycle. Small amounts are also formed from the initial breakdown of glucose and triglycerides. Then the electrons are transported on the Electron Transport Chain. The hydrogen is then fused with 2 oxygen molecules to form H20.
*The TCA cycle is the “backbone” so to speak. Without it cycling, there is a build up of OAA. This is the main fuel to keep the TCA cycle going. By keeping an abundance of protein (amino acids), tryglycerides (fatty acids), and glucose (sugar), allows more OAA to be made. Consequently, the TCA Cycle keeps moving.
Another thing to do is keep a good intake of the B Vitamins Riboflavin and Niacin to help electron carries transport the charged electrons to the final stage. You don’t need much. Just make sure you are getting some into your diet.
Foods good in riboflavin include milk, whole grains, and enriched grains.
Foods good in Niacin include milk, eggs, meat, poultry, and fish.
Making these kind of changes to your diet will help. Yes, they’re not major changes, but over time you’ll begin to see a difference.
What about activity?
Keeping yourself active is never a bad thing. The more you move, the more your body will tell you that you need energy. In consequence, you’ll find your stomach growling. This will also help speed your metabolism.
Follow the steps above to get a good fuel intake from a healthy diet.
Above all else, continue to make small goals for yourself. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Patience is key here. Sure you can pop a few fat burners, but that may cause problems down the road for you. Other than that, keep your head up and drink plenty of water.