The day in the life of a health conscious person could be likened to walking through a mine field of temptations, of the edible kind.
If you do not follow a structured eating plan and have not prepared your meals in advance, the chances are that:
1. You will be forced to resort to buying your food from your local food hall or vending machine.
2. What is actually available, even if it looks healthy, most probably is not.
There are very few places these days that make tasty yet healthy meals available. Many sub sandwich restaurants claim to provide healthy meals and snacks but when you take a closer look at how your body makes use the meal for fuel, it is clearly not a great option. Highly processed meats (which usually consist of ingredients such as flour, water and nitrates and only consist of about 70% actual meat) wrapped in a highly processed bread casing with a few token veges thrown in, does not provide the body with much nutritional value. (I will post more about processed foods in future blogs)
So the key is, be prepared and don’t let yourself get hungry. Make sure you have taken the time to prepare healthy meals in advance so you don’t need to reach out for that vending machine. By the time you feel hungry, your body has already decided to take action and that action is to shut down and store body fat. This is an automatic survival mechanism that is triggered after approximately three to four hours after your last meal.
Basically, the mind sends a message to the body, instructing it to hold onto as much fat as it can, in case the body does not get fed again.
With prolonged periods between meals, our metabolism starts to slow down and at this stage could be likened to a very dull fire.
Often after a hard day at work, we arrive home with fast food in hand, or if we still have the energy, cook up a big feed and sit down to devour the biggest meal of the day. By this time our blood sugar levels have dropped, leaving us feeling ravenously hungry and often resulting in us pigging out and eating far more than what is actually required to satisfy our hunger.
For a moment, our body lets out a sigh of relief that it finally has food… a lot of food! It then responds by holding onto as much of the meal and storing it as you know what… fat. After subjecting your body to prolonged periods of mild famine throughout the day, when it finally receives a good helping of food, the body does its best to hold on to it in case it experiences more famine the following day.
Ever felt sleepy after your evening meal and just wanted to fall asleep in front of the TV? This is your brain instructing your body to go to sleep so that it can slow the metabolism further to store even more fat. We often then turn into bed and as we are no longer active, the majority of the meal gets stored as opposed to being used as fuel and burned off.
Fat contains 9 calories per gram, (more than twice the calories of protein or carbohydrate) and therefore in cases of extended famine, our body’s can survive far longer on stored fat.
So tip one: Be prepared and make sure that you always have healthy foods available. A home cooked meal that you have prepared yourself and know what’s in it, is far better than the game of Russian roulette you play when eating out.
Tip two: Eat every 3 to 3.5 hours so that your body gets used to knowing that there is always food available and therefore does not need to store it.
Keep the fire burning!