When I first started on my journey to lower my fat percentage, I bought Tom Venuto’s book, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. It was the first time that I had ever bought a book specifically on how to lose weight. I can’t remember why I chose Tom’s system out of all the ‘systems’ and ‘experts’ out there touting a solution to losing weight. I’m guessing that I read some of his free stuff as well as reviews of his book, which were all positive.
I still remember being stunned after I had read his book and calculated how much I would have to eat each day. Actually, I wasn’t stunned at that point, it was when I actually had to start eating according to his recommended schedule that the “stunning” happened. Tom recommends eating frequently i.e. every 3 hours, so that one has 5 to 6 meals per day. Up to that point I had been eating 3 times a day – with snacks thrown in sometimes. I remember sitting in my office with my ready made meals and my alarm going at 9.30am to remind me that it was time to eat my second meal of the day. That was when I was stunned. I had never before eaten a big meal at that time, and made myself eat (to me) a full meal of chicken and rice. Then at lunchtime I realized I wasn’t hungry. However since I had to keep to the schedule, I had my third meal – and thus continued throughout the day. By the end of the day I felt absolutely stuffed. I had eaten more food (calories) than what I normally ate, but the calories had come via much healthier food than I normally ate, i.e. chicken, fish and veges rather than muffins, cakes and deep fried foods. It hit me then that since I was eating so frequently I didn’t feel hungry, so didn’t get cravings to eat unhealthy food.
I changed my eating habits that day and over the next 3 months went from about 24% body fat to 14%! I have kept up with this eating lifestyle now for over 18 months – so really believe it is something that can be maintained for the long term.
Now this method of “frequent eating” to keep weight under control is apparently something that bodybuilders have known for decades, and have used it to get (and keep) in shape. However surprisingly it appears that no-one has ever done an official study on this. Until now. I read today of a study published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association “Eating Frequency Is Higher in Weight Loss Maintainers and Normal-Weight Individuals than in Overweight Individuals“. You can read a summary of the study here.
I was a little flabbergasted that the authors of the study seemed surprised at the outcome, and laughed when I read this:
She speculates that snacking might help prevent weight gain by staving off intense hunger.
“If you eat more often, it stops you from getting too hungry,” Bachman said. “If you wait 10 hours after you’ve last eaten, you end up eating a lot more food. If you sit down and you’re really hungry, you also tend to eat more calories.”
Duh! Wow, these guys really need to talk more to the people who have learned DECADES ago what works in keeping fat off – Bodybuilders!