Eating consistently is one of the most important things you can do for your body and mind. Everyone has always said not to skip meals and the like, so... I'll say it again! I've tried a lot when it comes to tweaking my metabolism to see what works best to feel great and stay healthy. Though I'm sure I still have much to learn, I think I now know what's most important for me. While these aren't totally original, here are just a few pointers I should have listened to more today:
1) Don't skip breakfast: Like many teenage girls, I have to admit that I did skip breakfast for far too long. Adding breakfast back into my life was perhaps the single most noticeable dietary change I made before going raw. Eating breakfast keeps you awake, active, alert, and ready for what the day holds. It fuels you. You can't run an engine on empty or nearly empty without damaging it, can you? And what do all nutritionist and fitness instructors say anyway? It's been proven time and time again that regularly eating breakfast is the best way to lose weight not to gain it.
The most important thing is to keep breakfast light, simple, and nutrient packed. That's why I always go for smoothies (both "plain" fruit smoothies or green smoothies) or simply have some fruit. If you want to go fancy or want a little bit more substance, you can always make your own raw granola and have a tablespoon or two with your smoothie or have it with some homemade nut milk and fruit.
2) Eat Consistently: If you've ever dieted, I'm sure you've felt hungry at some point during your day which probably led you to do some form of binge eating on one day or for one meal leading to a tremendous amount of guilt. Did you also see very little results from that? And if you did get thin, were you healthy, energetic, alive? Probably not. The reason? Metabolism. Again, when you skip meals or don't eat enough, you slow your body's capacity to process food, lowering your metabolism and decreasing your ability to build muscle and burn fat.
Some people say that you can curb this by eating small frequent meals throughout the day, some say every 2 to 3 hours, some say every 3 to 4. Luckily, I've tried it all. When I tried out the Body for Life Diet, I was eating every 2 to 3 hours and while I got great results in terms of muscle-building, it wasn't really what I wanted and it felt like a little too much food. I then tried to make my portions smaller and that worked much better but 5 meals was still kind of pushing if for me. I then tried eating about every 3-4 hours and that worked great too, leading to about only 4 meals a day. More recently, I've also recently back to the traditional 3 meals a day only because I like to stop eating before 6:30-7pm (which also makes a big difference for me) and that's what my schedule allows for. All of these have worked when I made small changes in the amounts and time difference between meals... however, the one consistency is that I always eat my meals and it feels perfect.
On occasion, I'll miss a meal and definitely feel it, because my mind will make me overcompensate for it during the next meal (except during fasting days). So long story short? Skipping meals is always a bad idea!
3) Drink Plenty of Water: We often think we are hungry when all we are is actually thirsty. We think we know the difference between the two, but the body often registers thirst as what we think is a feeling of hunger. When we actually feel thirsty or what we have actually labelled as "feeling thirsty", our body is already dehydrated and telling us it's time to act. Beyond keeping our skin taught and vibrant, drinking lots of water helps us curb unnecessary food cravings and helps us stay full when you might think you need food! So next time you feel hungry, drink a cup of water instead. Wait 20 minutes and then see how you feel. I guarantee you, most of the time, you'll feel just fine. Drink up!