I am currently going through the Nutrition Science for Fitness course and am realizing that a lot of what I held as true, turns out to be not so true after all. What exactly these are, well I will cover in another post. Another Wow factor is, I didn’t realize our body was such a complicated piece of machinery and there is just so much you can do by tweaking your nutrition plan. Anyway, all that to be covered some time soon. For this week, I just want to share one of the most important things I have learnt from the course and I thought it’s a must to share with everyone, especially those who want to lose weight.
One of the best and simplest rule you can follow is “eat for what you are about to do in the next 3 hours”. Now I am sure all of you have read millions of things about weight loss in magazines, on the web, on Oprah. Well sometimes there is just so much information out there, its hard to remember and decide what to do. So, if you forget everything else you have read on the internet and magazine, its fine, just remember this simple line “eat for what you are about to do in the next 3 hours” and you will be fine. What exactly does this mean? Let me break it down for you.
Ideally, we should all be eating 5 meals a day or every 3 hours that you are awake. The reason for doing this, is to ensure our body has a continuous stream of nutrition, so it never ever has to feel like its in a state of famine and start storing reserves… in our body, reserves means storing nutrition in our fat cells. I know doing a 5 meal a day plan is hard for most of us, and the best I can do is 4 meals a day – Breakfast, Lunch, evening meal (between lunch and dinner) and dinner.
Now for those who are more committed and more serious than me, you can plan your day ahead and pack food for all those odd moments when you need to load up. Ideally you want to pack up things which are simple to consume and of course, easy to prepare so you don’t spend 3 hours preparing for it. Things like carrot sticks, celery, sandwich, high fiber biscuits, muesli bars etc are easy to make and can be eaten anywhere at anytime and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. So try to stock up on these and take it with you and every 3 hours, make sure you consume it.
So now the question is, how big should each of my meals be? The answer to that is “Depends on what you are going to be doing for the next 3 hours.”
So if you are going to help a friend move houses (lots of manual labor) for the next 3 hours, yeah, you are going to need more calories compared to sitting in front of the TV for the next 3 hours. If you are going to workout in the next 3 hours, again, you are going to need more calories than if you were going to take a nap for the next 3 hours. The basic thing is, ask yourself this question before every meal
What am I going to be doing for the next 3 hours?
If it’s sitting in front of your PC and reading this blog (though I can’t imagine why you would want to read this blog for 3 hours), heck you don’t need a whole lot of calories for that, some carrot sticks and celery sticks will do just fine. This is also why, you should keep your dinners small (unless you are working the night shift as a security guard where you got to keep walking) and how the popular cliché “Don’t eat anything after 7pm” started. It’s not entirely wrong, but again, a 7pm cut off is too early unless you go to bed by 9. But we shall discuss that in a later post. So try to keep your dinner small, since most of us usually hit the sack shortly after dinner.
The only time this rule kind of doesn’t apply is post workout, meaning even if you are just watching TV for the next 3 hours after your workout, your post workout meal needs to have a higher calorie content to replace back what you lost during your workout. But for all other situations, think forward of what you are going to be doing and eat for that.
So just a quick re-cap
· Eat 5 meals a day or for every 3 hours you are awake
· Plan your day and keep simple, healthy foods handy for those 3 hour breaks. Carrot sticks, celery sticks, muesli bars, sandwiches etc. You can be creative with this, but please ensure you don’t snack on unhealthy foods like Twisties, nasi lemak etc.
· How much you eat should be in relation to what you are going to be doing for the next 3 hours. If its sleeping, a roti canai will be way too much calories for that activity. In short, eat more fruits and vegetables when your activity level for the next 3 hours is going to be low.
That’s it. Simple, easy to follow and best of all, I guarantee you results if you truly follow this. So try it out and see and as usual, I look forward to hearing your comments.