Why Eating Every 2-3 Hours is a Bad Idea

I used to eat all day long. Every 3 hours on the mark. I was always hungry. 

Even at the 2 hour mark my tummy started to rumble and I was thinking of food. But how come? I just friggin’ ate 2 hours ago? Why eat again?

But, it was a good thing right? I was stoking my metabolism, keeping my body fuelled and running efficiently with my mini all day meals. 

Then one day, 4 hours went by and I hadn’t eaten. It wasn’t pretty!

I was HANGRY (angry+hungry), moody, bitchy and literally couldn’t even process anything. Food was all I needed and I needed it bad. Like NOW!

Well, I learned my lesson. I made sure to always have food with me, to never skip a meal and to always eat every 3 hours to balance my blood sugar to avoid those ravenous bitchy monster moods. 

Then I learned about this little thing called Insulin. 

Insulin is quite powerful. In fact, Insulin is one of the MOST important hormones in the body and it’s important you understand and manage it effectively. 

But before I go on, I want to talk about dieting and weight loss, as insulin is a primary factory in weight gain and loss.

There are many ‘diets’ out there that fall within the 5-6 mini meal 2-3 hour category. In fact, there are many men and women (many of which I know) that compete in body building competitions and biking contests and follow a 5-6 meal a day diet. 

Do they get results? Yes! 

Are they ripped and toned? Yes!

Can you lose weight eating 5-6 mini meals every 2-3 hours all day long? Yes!

But that’s not what I’m talking about. If you are a competitor or an athlete, then there is a good chance you can manage insulin effectively (since exercise helps with insulin sensitivity) and you’re probably working out and training at a pretty elite level.

However, sustaining 5-6 meals a day long term can be difficult and I tend to see many people rebound and develop insulin sensitivity over time due to not sustaining this type of eating. 

But, if you are not an athlete, work out 3-4 days a week (or don’t work out at all), have over 20+ pounds to lose or are obese, have PCOS, are pre diabetic or diabetic, are struggling with hormonal imbalances like PMS or irregular cycles, are constantly craving sugar and on a blood sugar role coaster all day, dealing with sleep disturbances and highly stressed, well… you get the picture. 

Eating every 2-3 hours is not the answer for you!

If you are currently following a diet that has you eating every 2-3 hours, you are doing your body (and your insulin levels) a real disservice.

Let’s look at Insulin a little deeper…

Your pancreas produces insulin, the hard-working hormone that seeks out sugar, also known as glucose and turns it into useful energy.

When you eat a meal, sugar enters your blood stream in the form of glucose. Your pancreas secretes insulin to manage the sugar in your blood and transports the sugar to your cells. Once at your cells, insulin basically knocks on the cell door and asks to enter with sugar in tow.

In a healthy body, the cell doors will hear the knock and open the door. On the other hand, if you are consuming a high carbohydrate diet and not exercising, this process doesn’t always happen and the cell door won’t answer the knock. If you are constantly forcing insulin to over work and knock on the cell doors, over time, both your pancreas and cells become exhausted. 

Your pancreas is one tough little bugger, and when your cells won’t open their door to insulin, your pancreas is forced to produce more insulin in an effort to get the sugar through the cell door. 

Chronically high levels of insulin make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight. 

When your cells no longer respond to insulin, this is what is called Insulin Resistance and it’s the precursor to diabetes.

Insulin resistance is caused by poor gut and liver health, depleted gut flora (good bacteria) and inflammation caused by the over consumption of inflammatory foods such as sugar and processed oils.

So… if you are eating every 2-3 hours, not only are you forcing your pancreas to produce more insulin throughout the day, but you’re constantly knocking on your cell doors, hoping to let sugar into your cells. Can you see how this would pose a problem?

To balance your blood sugar and insulin levels, eating every 2-3 hours is not the answer. You should be able to go at least 4-6 hours between meals without feeling jittery, moody and hangry. 

This is why my clients have such high success on my Metabolic Weight Loss Program. We manage the insulin with 3 meals a day, comprised of the right macronutrients, and not only do they lower their insulin levels, but they lose weight, with ease. 

It’s really an incredible thing to watch. Especially when you have diabetic clients who get off of their meds or lower the dosage, all because of choosing the right foods, managing portion sizes and eating 3 meals a day. 

Just to note, without the right meal plan specific for your body, it may take time to get used to eating every 4-6 hours between meals, but I do encourage you to try. Incorporating the right amount of protein, eating a lot vegetables and incorporating healthy fats can help to balance your insulin levels, keeping you satiated between meals. 

If you’re eating every 3 hours, what your body is doing is burning through glycogen (stored sugar). To actually burn adipose tissue (fat), then the sweet spot is the 5 hour mark between meals.

Really, when you think about it, were we ever designed to eat 5-6 meals a day, every 2-3 hours? If we date back to the Paleolithic era, there wasn’t an abundance of food. We followed a feast and famine type of ‘diet.’ 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s easy and it’s effective for weight loss and balancing hormones.

In fact, think about the weekend. How many times on a Saturday, have you slept in, ate a large brunch, went about your day running errands and then before you knew it, it was 6pm and time for dinner. You’ve probably had many laid back weekends where you ate only 2 meals a day.

It’s also important to note, that women who suffer with PCOS tend to have insulin resistance. Following this type of diet and protocol can help to manage PCOS symptoms and improve insulin sensitivity. I’ve seen it work beautifully over and over again. 

High insulin levels can stimulate the ovaries to produce testosterone, which is why women with PCOS tend to suffer with acne and facial hair growth. By managing insulin, you manage the overproduction of testosterone.

Both PCOS and diabetes can be managed effectively with the right diet and nutritional protocols. I encourage you to seek out a practitioner (such as myself) that can design the right nutrition program for you and work to balance your hormones effectively. 

As with weight loss, it is complex and unique to every one. Although calories in and calories out serve some (very small) part, hormones play an even bigger role. Addressing both hormones and weight will not only ensure you lose weight effectively, but will help you to keep it off for good. 

*To learn more about my weight loss program and discuss your health history and goals, email me at – samantha@holisticwellness.ca for a complimentary consult call.

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7 Ways to Overcome the Sunday Blues

The Sunday blues are a feeling of anxiety, depression, moodiness and withdrawal that 40% of people experience each Sunday. It’s that feeling that your freedom is being pulled away and that you have to go back to responsibility. There have been many studies that show a variety of  shocking stats around Sunday depression, however the underlying message here is that these numbers are way too high!  These are real emotions many people are feeling before the dreaded Monday even arrives. If you are experiencing these Sunday blues, dreading to go to work on Monday, there are things you can do about it. Kick those Sunday blues to the curb by trying a few of these tips! Trust me they work! 😉

  1. Wake up early – We all know Sunday is the “day of rest”, people sleep till noon hour, lounge around in their PJ’s till 3pm and then have insomnia Sunday night because they overslept. Kick this habit by waking up early on Sundays. Get your day going early so you can enjoy it and make the most of your free time!
  1. Have a special Sunday dinner – This is actually something my family has always done. We have Sunday evening BBQ’s. It’s been a family tradition and maybe, all along it was simply to kick those Sunday blues. Sitting around waiting for your work week to start will only enhance these undesirable emotions. So instead, start a tradition where you have an amazing home cooked meal for dinner with your friends or family.
  1. Plan your meals for the week – This is the perfect time to get creative and plan your meals for the week. Have some fun in the kitchen. Have your recipes ready or better yet do the cooking on Sunday and pack them up so you can grab and go. That way during the week you can reduce your morning stress of packing a lunch or wondering what you should have for dinner.   Keep in mind smells of food can awaken your senses and make you feel alive also helping kick those Sunday blues!
  1. Get active – I’m not saying get your butt to the gym, I’m saying do what feels good and do what you enjoy that is active. This could be going for a walk, doing a yoga class, playing beach volleyball or playing a round of golf. Whatever it is that you love to do to feel good and get those endorphins flowing, go out and do it! You will feel awesome, I promise!
  1. Spend time in nature – Majority of people are stuck indoors during the workweek and then spend Sunday lying by the TV because they are exhausted and stressed. Well, this is only going to make you feel more exhausted and more stressed. In a recent study, 70% of Canadians reported excessive stress levels. So, go for a walk near the water, a hike on a trail, or head to a nearby park. When we are connected with nature, we can lower stress levels, anxiety and increase levels of connectedness and spirituality which overall boost happiness levels and help to eliminate those Sunday blues. It also restores the minds ability to focus, which can even help improve your performance at work.
  1. Turn off technology – Ok, I know this is a tough one! For me too. Start off by making a goal to not go on any form of technology for a few hours on Sunday, and then slowly increase it until you give yourself the entire day away from technology. Here’s the thing, all week you are staring at a computer or iphone and you need time away from your tweeting, e-mailing and facebooking to fully feel restored and relaxed. Feeling blue on Sundays is often related to a feeling of being overworked, so the best thing you can do for yourself is to stay away from technology, really allow yourself to relax and be present with your day. 
  1. Set your intention for Monday – Sunday blues are often triggered by the mindset that Monday is going to suck, am I right? So why not change that mentality and pick a strong intention for the following day. It is commonly thought, “Monday is going to be a drag and I am going to be angry, frustrated, bored etc”. Whatever you typically think, you are going to be, so I’d like to emphasize the power of ‘I am’. The thought you choose to put after ‘I am’ becomes a reality and can affect your mood and actions. So instead, pick a positive intention and focus on it. Let’s replace it with “Monday, is going to be amazing, inspiring, uplifting etc., and I am going to be happy, cheerful, energized, etc.” If it makes it easier to write it down on paper do it! I have done that many times. It helps me get super clear on my thoughts and brings awareness to what’s not serving me.

What works for you to kick the Sunday blues? We’d  love to keep the conversation going! Share with us below.

Cheers, to Loving Monday again!

Stephanie 🙂

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