In the media, there’s always hearsay about eating this way or that. It’s ever-changing and ultra-confusing, especially if you are trying to follow along with the latest hype.
But there is one habit that will help you blast fat and slim down that has withstood the test of time. And when I say time, I mean super ancient, as in from the origins of Ayurvedic medicine, which stem back at least 5,000 years.
What have we all been told in the past to “rev up our metabolism?” Eat little meals during the day, which purportedly keeps your blood sugar balanced and your metabolism fired up by forcing your body to start digesting whatever food you eat.
But is this way of eating really benefiting you…? Or is it making it harder for you to lose weight?
In The Beauty Detox Solution, I lay out how eating often is actually aging you faster because your body has to kickstart digestion every time you eat, which burns your body’s natural supply of enzymes. That’s just what it is — a supply. Your enzyme reservoir is not infinite, so you want to use them wisely and intelligently, like poker chips that are worth a lot, which they essentially are!
I’ve always taught that eating often happens to also be fattening for most people because it compiles the food in your system before being properly digested.
Barring a medical condition like having a blood sugar issue (in which case your doctor may advise you that you have to eat often. Though be sure to read on as well!), you can do much to balance your blood sugar and energy by eating a fiber-rich diet of mostly plant foods (remember only plant foods contain fiber!), thereby maximizing the times you do eat, and avoiding having to eat all the time. Fiber creates a feeling of fullness and a sustained release of nutrients into your system so you don’t burn out or crash.
As I’ve started to dig really deeply into my Ayurvedic studies (I’ve committed to a 6-year program to become an Ay.D (Ayurvedic Doctor) and am finishing up my first year this fall), I am constantly and pleasantly amazed at the many similarities between the Ayurvedic belief system and our Beauty Detox philosophy. I truly think I must have lived in India and been an Ayurvedic practitioner in some of my last lives!
As it turns out, Ayurvedic philosophy also agrees with me on this point. It teaches us not to snack in between meals, but to eat enough fiber-filled foods so that you can last to the next meal (sound familiar?!). Sure you might have to snack in the afternoon if you have a long stretch to dinner or are active and worked out (as I do sometimes), but it is the constant grazing that is A) fattening B) aging. Hence it must stop!
Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar is a celebrated Ayurvedic physician whom I met where we were both speaking at a recent medical conference at the Chopra center. He is not only knowledgeable, but animated, kind and I enjoy hearing him speak and talking with him very much. As he writes in his recent book, The Hot Belly Diet:
When the body is fed every two to three hours, it uses fuel from those meals rather than burning its fat stores. So the body adapts to being spoon-fed consistently without needing to dig into its fat storage. Conversely, when you eat three meals a day and don’t snack in between, the body is forced to turn to fat. When your body uses fat as active fuel, you will experience increased energy, ability to focus, stable moods, better sleep, fewer cravings, and of course, effortless weight loss.
The New York Academy of Sciences published a report in 2002 stating that grazing all day, as opposed to eating a few set meals, puts one at risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes[i]. Another study, from 2013, presented at the American Diabetes Association conference, revealed its results that those with type 2 diabetes that consumed two large meals a day lost more weight than when they ate six smaller meals with the same total amount of calories.[ii]
My clients that are pregnant and nauseous of course have to eat often to help appease the pesky morning (or day long) morning sickness. That is a very special circumstance for these and other sorts of conditions…
But if you are not pregnant, and are trying to lose weight, or got down to your ideal weight and want to maintain it (especially after all that work!), try applying this to your life:
1. Start your day with a fiber-filled Glowing Green Smoothie ®. If you are still hungry, have some oatmeal made with water about 25 minutes later (also rich in satiating fiber).
2. Have a nutrient-packed lunch with a huge salad, veggies, soup, avocado, etc. To bulk up your lunch, try a veggie wrap, an Open-faced Avo Beauty Sandwich, some quinoa or brown rice avocado sushi. If you have a long stretch until dinner and want to add a Power Protein Smoothie post-lunch, mid-afternoon that would be okay also. Smoothies digest fantastically well.
3. Aim to eat dinner a few hours before bed. Bake or cook some veggies, add some salad, a great soup, some animal protein if you eat that (once a day max is enough of this, which is acid-forming and does not have any fiber, and is a lot slower and more work to digest). Chew well and enjoy!
As you can see, the key is that when you do eat, you make the best possible choices packed with fiber and nutrients. This keeps you feeling great and sustaining your energy. And if you need recipe ideas, we got them for you! Check out that section of the blog. :)
Let your body digest one thing thoroughly at a time.
Think about how you do best when you perform only one task (playing with your kids, talking on the phone, writing a thoughtful email) at a time, and lovingly let your body digest the best it can too, and it will respond by doing what you want, burning that fat!!!
Try eating smarter, not more often, which is the way to increase your natural beauty, which is your birthright!
You will also think more clearly and have more energy to boot.
Try it for yourself, and let me know how you do. :)
Have a great day, and see you back here soon.
With love and gratitude,
[i] Kshirsagar, Suhas G. The Hot Belly Diet. Atria Books. New York, NY. 2014.