When most people begin a weight loss program in order to burn body fat and get into shape, the notion of eating more often throughout the day would probably be the last thing on their minds.
For the majority of individuals, the prospect of eating a greater number of daily meals in order to lose body fat would seem counter-intuitive.
However, what may seem logical on the surface isn’t always the correct way to go…
What if I told you that the generally accepted approach of “3 square meals a day” is actually one of the primary reasons why so many people fail miserably when attempting a fat loss program?
In fact, when you don’t eat often enough throughout the day, you actually program your body to become a low-energy, food-craving, fat storing machine.
How could this be?
All it takes is a very basic biological explanation to understand why this is so…
From a purely physical standpoint, your body is only concerned with one ultimate goal: to keep you alive and healthy at all times. The body is absolutely riddled with all kinds of fancy “defense mechanisms” to aid in accomplishing this. These defense mechanisms automatically kick into action during times of stress.
One of these mechanisms is referred to as the “famine response”.
You see, although your mind is consciously aware that you could sit down for a meal at any time, your hardwired genetics are not. They simply act in a mechanistic way and automatically make adjustments in the body based on certain conditions.
Since your body has no idea when its next meal is coming, and since our bodies evolved and developed during times where food was scarce and eating patterns were uncertain, it must take the proper precautions in order to preserve energy in between meals.
If you go for too long in between “feedings”, the famine response kicks in.
What happens as a result?
To put it simply, the two major adjustments made are the 2 things that are the most harmful and counterproductive to your bottom line progress…
First of all, the fat burning metabolism slows down.
Remember, body fat is simply a stored form of energy. If your body is not provided with an external source of energy through the food that you eat, it will do whatever it can to preserve and maintain its stored forms for when it needs them most.
In other words, when you don’t eat frequently enough, you stop burning fat at an efficient rate.
Secondly, you lose muscle tissue.
The body requires a certain amount of protein in order to carry out its regular daily tasks, and when you fail to provide it with a steady stream of protein through your diet, it will enter into a state of “muscle catabolism”.
Housing a large amount of muscle tissue is low on the body’s list of priorities, and when dietary protein is insufficient, it will literally begin eating away at your muscles in order to obtain a useful source.
If you didn’t already know, the amount of lean muscle tissue that you have on your body has a direct effect on your metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn.
The muscles basically act like giant furnaces where fat can be burned around the clock, and any properly structured fat burning program places its emphasis on maintaining as much muscle tissue as possible.
To sum up what we've covered so far: when you don't eat frequently enough throughout the day, the body's famine response kicks into gear, which in turn causes you to burn less fat and to lose muscle tissue.
How long does it take for this famine response to kick in?
It depends on the contents and size of your previous meal, but as a general guideline, it will take about 3-4 hours to settle in.
Aim to consume a small meal at least every 3 hours!
Your overall daily food intake does not necessarily have to change, but you should simply aim to spread out all of your meals over this set interval.
This means that on any given day, you should be consuming around 5-7 small meals. It may sound like a lot, and the truth is that it will require some discipline and willpower to initially get started on.
That being said, frequently grazing on small meals throughout the day truly is one of the real “secrets” to developing the lean, energetic and healthy body you’re after.
Not only will this method keep your fat burning metabolism working on overdrive and allow you to preserve a high amount of lean muscle tissue, but it will also:
- improve the digestion process
- keep your blood sugar levels balanced
- control your food cravings
- keep your strength and energy at top levels
If you really want to see dramatic results as quickly as possible, this is one fat burning guideline that you cannot go without.
To learn more details about structuring an effective fat burning nutrition plan, visit www.HowToBurnFat.com. You'll discover everything you need to know about proper fat loss nutrition, and will also gain instant download access to a full collection of customized body-sculpting meal plans.
About the Author:
Once an awkward, out-of-shape "social outcast", Sean Nalewanyj is now a renowned fat loss and muscle building expert, best-selling fitness author, and creator of the wildly popular online fat loss program: "The Real Deal Body Transformation System". Learn how to burn fat and lose weight quickly, safely and permanently by visiting: www.HowToBurnFat.com.