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Strive For Five-Why Eating at Least 5 Meals a Day is the Answer to Permanent Weight Loss
This is a very debatable topic here – Food!
Let’s take a look at a lifestyle plan (remember, DIETS DON’T WORK!) that is guaranteed to make you eat healthier, speed up your metabolism and lose FAT in the process! Sounds great, doesn’t it?
I’m talking about eating small meals throughout the day. Or what I refer to as “Lifestyle Eating”.
Some of you may have heard before, and for others this is completely new. Even if you have heard of this, keep reading as I will show you how this can be easily achieved.
Gone are the days of eating just the big three: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. They just don’t have to be big meals, as they are for most people. This new way of eating seems very strange to you and may take a little time to get used to.
The typical schedule for eating smaller meals throughout the day will look like this: Small meals at 7:00 am, 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Depending on your work schedule, family, etc., you may not be able to eat at the exact times mentioned above. For example, you can start work at a much later or earlier time. If this is the case, just adjust and try to have a “small meal” every 3 to 3-1/2 hours. The goal is to have anywhere from 5 to 6 “small meals” a day. I feel like 5 is a reasonable goal to shoot for.
Why this works
“How in the world can I eat more times throughout the day and lose weight?” You’re probably wondering that right now, aren’t you? I’ll let you know why this works in the simplest way I know how. No scientific medical terminology, just the straight facts.
When you eat small meals throughout the day, you speed up your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories. People with fast metabolism are relatively thinner than people with slow metabolism. The thing is, most people don’t know that they can “speed up” their metabolism. A good way to do this is by eating more often throughout the day and not just eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Often I will hear people say when they are losing weight “I skipped my dinner at night and I lost 10 lbs.” That can be true and cutting out one of your meals can work a bit. But in the long run this will not work. Sooner or later you will go back to eating your dinner or whatever meal you cut out and your body will start to store that extra meal as fat for fear that you might decide to cut out that meal again in the future . Remember, the body adapts to what you throw at it. If it senses that you are starving it (which it will feel if you cut out a meal) it will adapt and start storing food away to compensate for the reduced calories it is now experiencing.
Okay, back to eating more all day. I want you to follow along with me here. I want you to pretend your stomach is a separate person from the rest of your body. If you could hear your stomach talking, this is what you could hear it saying if you only ate 3 big meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Here we go again, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m going to start sticking to all these meals. There’s no point in “burning off” these meals, they’re few and far between. You give me breakfast instead 7:00 a.m. and then I don’t get lunch until 12:00 p.m., and then I don’t get dinner until 6:00 p.m. I’m going to hold them until you can give me a reason to fire them.”
I’ll tell you what you can hear your stomach say when you feed it every 3 to 3-1/2 hours. “This is great, I just had lunch at 12:00 and because I know I’ll get that next small meal at 3:00, I’ll just burn off my lunch. There’s no reason to keep any of these meals. I get food every 3 hours I’m never “hungry” and therefore I never overeat.
The bottom line is the more meals you eat throughout the day, the more efficient your body becomes at burning these meals. The exact opposite applies if you don’t eat very often throughout the day. Your body goes into a mode of “starvation” and “holds” on each meal, fearing that the next meal will not be for a very long time.
On the other hand, some of you may say, “Well, maybe I’ll eat lunch at noon and come dinner time I’m not really that hungry yet, why would I eat now, that sounds crazy?” The answer to that is very simple; to speed up your metabolism.
So for those of you who feel like you have a slow metabolism, or those of you who feel like you need to stop eating to lose weight, the answer lies in; Lifestyle Eating. I also like to refer to this lifestyle eating plan as “Kevin’s Strive for Five”. You should ideally aim to eat five to six times a day, but start by trying to eat at least five.
That’s also very important – as I mentioned before, it’s a lifestyle, not a diet. So when someone asks, “What’s that new diet you’re on”? Just tell them, “It’s not a diet, it’s how I eat all the time from now on and I never plan on “going off” it.
What exactly is a “small meal?”
This is probably a question you’ve had since the beginning of the article and I’ll cover that in just a minute. First of all, I want to say that all meals throughout the day should be healthy – I do not recommend a cheeseburger and fries as one of your meals. But remember, healthy food is delicious and they are not limited to just tofu and cottage cheese, there are plenty of options and we will get to them in a bit.
Remember also I can not give exact sizes and calories of meals because a 300 lb. woman is going to eat very differently than a 180 lb. wife The idea is still the same, small meals throughout the day, but the size of the small meals will be a little different.
One big piece of advice that will really answer the question of the size of the meal is that you must eat every meal until you are satisfied (note that I said SATISFIED and not FULL, there is a difference). Once you are satisfied, stop eating and do it again in 3 to 3 ½ hours. Your body will be so in tune with this that you won’t even need to be around a clock and you’ll know when it’s time for another meal (your stomach will growl, that’s really your metabolism saying it needs more fuel ). When you first start eating this way, there will be some trial and error and you will take some guesswork as to what the right serving size is for you. But in a while you will know exactly how much food you need.
How many times have you eaten lunch or dinner and left the table feeling completely full? I know I have many times. The reason you don’t want to feel this way is because:
a) that means you probably consumed too much.
b) your next “small” meal is only 3 to 3-1/2 hours away. You don’t have to eat if this is your last meal.
The biggest obstacle you may have is cutting back on the amount you eat at dinner. Breakfast and lunch too, but most people consume most of their calories at dinner. But if you have those “small meals” in the morning and afternoon, you won’t
be when hungry come lunch / dinnertime, and that will prevent you from having a big meal at those times.
That is why the name small meal is used. It takes away the perception of the big 3 we mentioned – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead of these being the normal large portions of the day, they now become 3 of the 5 to 6 small meals you have.
That brings me to my next point and something that might take you a little longer to get used to. I want to break down the “small meals” even further and suggest that once you get the hang of eating 5 to 6 times a day, here is another strategy that will help you even more. Try and have a lean protein, a starchy carbohydrate and a fibrous carbohydrate with each meal. Let’s look at the breakfast example on the previous page. The egg whites are the lean protein, the red pepper is the fibrous carbohydrate, and the whole grain bread is the starchy carbohydrate.
So the goal is to try to get one item from each of the 3 categories in each meal, and the meals should be pretty close to equal in size. That means the piece of
grilled chicken (lean protein) should be about the same size as the baked potato (starchy carbohydrate) which is the same size as the serving of broccoli (fibrous carbohydrate).
There are also some strategies you can use to further improve your fat loss. One of those strategies is to cut back on your starchy carbs as the day goes on. That means you’ll have most of your carbs during your pre-lunch meals and then less and less after lunch, so by the time you get to dinner and every meal after that, you’re just eating protein and almost no carbs . This strategy and others like it would take up an entire book, more than anything I just want you to understand the concept of eating 5 to 6 times a day.
Note that you may not be able to eat every 3 – 3-1/2 hours after a meal, and you may not be able to eat a portion of each type of food immediately. All I ask is that you try to do better than what you are currently doing. If you can do that every week, you are guaranteed to see an improvement and it won’t take long
you’ve mastered the art of lifestyle eating and it’s becoming as routine as putting on clothes before leaving the house.
One last note: Always keep in mind that this is not meant for someone who wants to lose weight really fast. Lose fat, get stronger, etc. is a gradual process that must be done over time. No “quick fixes” here. Just a guarantee for a faster metabolism and skinnier jeans!
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