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 – firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consult call.