One of the biggest keys to my weight loss success and maintenance was fueling my body with proper nutrition every three hours. These small, regular meals allow me to keep a proper ratio of carbs, protein and fat steadily feeding my body which in turn keeps my blood sugar steady, my hunger under control and my energy level up. How in the world am I supposed to eat every three hours? How in the heck am I going to prepare all that food every day?? This blog series is intended to educate you in basic nutrition, help you identify your nutrition needs and simplify the food preparation so that you have no more excuses not to eat healthy…..ALL the time in ANY situation!!
Eating every 3 hours (6 meals a day) DOES require some thought and preplanning, however. The added benefit of preplanning and having ALL your meals ready to eat and with you at all times gets rid of any attempts at making excuses for eating poorly or skipping meals. It doesn’t matter if the office ordered pizza delivery, if there’s a pot luck, or if everyone else is eating at the local Italian restaurant… you have your healthy meals ready to eat, so what’s your excuse now? How bad do you want to achieve your goal? So ready to begin?
First of all, you need to determine how many calories your body needs to lose, maintain, or gain weight – whatever your goal may be. A fantastic tool to determine this number is a metabolic test, which can be performed with a BodPod®️ or Metabolic Test (military members can have this performed free at a base/post wellness center).
You will also need to know where you are at currently, ESPECIALLY if you don’t have access to a metabolic test. This is CRUCIAL to the next steps!! There isn’t a cookie cutter meal plan for any one person.
We are all created unique and different. We have different likes/dislikes, activity levels, goals, allergies….you get the idea. I highly recommend “My Fitness Pal” to help you learn what you are putting into your body and KEEP using this tool to monitor as you go. I still use them on a regular basis for my own accountability, even 5 years after my weight loss.
Track your meals for a full week – the good, the bad and the ugly!! Be honest and be exact. Take a look at several things:
1) How many calories are you taking in each day? is it consistant?
2) How many grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat are you taking in daily? Is it consistant?
3) How much sodium are you consuming?
4) What is your daily water intake? (crystal lite, herbal/caffein free tea are fine. Juice, coffee, soda, milk and caffeinated drinks do not).
Also take a look at your habits:
1) Do you frequently skip meals?
2) Are you a “snacker” or do you prefer big meals?
3) Do you eat only convenience foods or do you enjoy cooking?
4) Do you have foods that are extremely difficult for you to avoid?
By identifying these things, you can more effectively plan your next steps. More to come!