Wednesday, April 25, 2007

5 Meals

Recently, fellow Challenger Joy commented on my 5-meals-a-day habit. I thought it might be a good time to explain it--or at least explain the way I approach it, since I realize some people might not be very familiar with it.

(Note: I think that people should pick the diet and nutrition plan that works best for their appetite, lifestyle and needs. Some people do best with three squares a day, others are "grazers" who nibble all day long. Like everything else in life, not everything works for every person.)

I mostly started adopting the mini-meal principle the first time I tried the Body for Life Challenge. Bill Phillips suggests eating 6 meals per day. I found that just too difficult, but I can usually manage five.

As I continued reading and learning about fitness, I realized that many bodybuilders, fitness competitors and fitness models also eat mini-meals throughout the day. It's also promoted in different diet books, such as The Ultimate New York Body Plan and The Abs Diet.

Advocates of the mini-meal plan say that it...
  • Keeps your metabolism revved
  • Prevents hunger and feelings of deprivation
  • Keeps your energy levels high
  • Fuels your muscles for growth and strength gains
When adopting a mini-meal plan, it's important to remember that the meals are supposed to be much smaller than a typical 3-a-day meal. A mini-meal for me might consist of one veggie burger, half a baked sweet potato, and some plain green beans. Some meals are a bit larger... others are a bit smaller.

Mini-meals take a lot of preparation. Since I eat so frequently, I have to have easy-to-grab meals on hand--soups, salads, sandwiches. I do a lot of "cooking ahead" so there's always something quick to heat-and-eat in my fridge.

I don't always eat 5 mini-meals. It can be difficult to maintain that diet, especially during weekends, special events or travel. There are times when I'll eat two larger meals and two smaller meals, or perhaps three larger meals and two very small snacks. Life requires flexibility and adjustment. I'm not super-strict about my diet, which is one reason my abs are still like jelly.

1 comment:

JOY said...

You have enlightened me!

I can see how this would work logically by keeping your metabolism revved up!

I am seriously considering trying this as I always feel hungry and end up having 3 large meals everyday because I feel deprived!

This month I did challenge myself to portion control and have been cutting down but still feel hungry.

I am considering setting this as one of my "May Challenges".

I appreciate you filling me in about this - and I am SO happy it works for you! You are an inspiration.

Thanks for sharing it - you have given me food for thought so to speak!