One of the most important lessons I learned as I went through my Round 1 transformation was the importance of properly timing my meals. It goes against our mindset to think that eating often will help us shed body fat — but it’s true!
I have been doing P90X / Insanity for well over 2 years now, and I eat 3,000 – 3,200 calories per day! That’s enough to make almost anyone gain body fat, right? Well, not if done properly! I learned during Round 1, on my 1900 calorie diet, that the proper timing of meals is the key to keeping the body fueled, speeding recovery, keeping the body energized, and keeping the metabolism running at high speed! Once my body had adjusted to well-timed meals and my metabolism had sped up, I could give it a lot more fuel and watch it burn that fuel up to build muscle and give me energy — all without storing any of it as fat! What a wonderful situation!!!
So how does this look, practically? I make sure that I never go more than 3 hours without getting some sort of fuel (either a meal or a snack with protein). My daily routine looks something like this:
7am = Breakfast
9:30am = Snack
12pm = Lunch
2:30pm = Snack (sometimes I break this into 2 smaller snacks, one at appx 2pm and one at appx. 4pm)
5:30pm = Dinner
8pm = Snack
As you can see, my body’s fuel tank never has to hit “empty”, so the metabolism never has to slow down. Before P90X, I used to think the key to losing weight was to eat fewer calories through my day, and I would often not eat anything until lunch. Then, I would not eat again until dinner. And then I’d be so hungry that I’d snack on junkfood from the pantry before bed. What I was actually doing to myself was letting my body “fast” all morning, thus shutting down my metabolism. Then, I’d eat a fairly big, unhealthy lunch, which my body would immediately store as fat to be sure it would have enough to sustain me until dinner. Then, at dinner, I’d be so hungry that I’d pig out, and of course keep snacking until bed! What a disaster! And not only did this NOT WORK as a weight loss plan … I felt tired and hungry all the time as well!
Now I keep my body fueled all day. My metabolism is at full speed all day. And I don’t feel starved. I get to eat every 2-3 hours all day long! Trust me, train your body to run on a steady stream of fuel all day long and it will feel so much better than the feast/famine cycle you may be used to now!
Dr. Wheeler, a nutrition expert who recently spoke at a Beachbody event, even pointed out that studies show that people who eat 5-6 times per day (like I advocate) will burn 340 MORE calories than people who eat less often, even if all other factors are the same. In other words, if you eat more often, you can actually eat MORE calories and still lose weight faster! Imagine if you’ve been skipping that 200 calorie afternoon snack in an effort to lose more weight. You are actually 140 calories WORSE OFF than the person who eats that 200 calorie snack! LOL! Keep your body fueled and your metabolism running! But keep it within your nutritional plan of course! You’ll have more energy, burn more calories, and lose body fat faster!
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