American’s eating habits revolve around three things: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Gorging on three big, calorie-laden meals throughout the day is just natural for us. Eating to the point of entering a “food coma” occurs often, leaving us tired, lazy, and full. But it has also expanded our stomach sizes and cortisol levels, a hormone produced in response to chronic stress and is associated with causing excess belly flab.
So how do we fix this? Substitute those three belly-bursting meals for five small meals spaced out throughout the day. These well-balanced, nutritional meals should be between 300 to 400 calories, depending on your weight and activity level. And you calories should be coming from natural sources like fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, nuts and eggs.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study which revealed that individuals who consumed mini-meals spaced three hours apart throughout the day decreased their cortisol levels by 17 percent compared to participants who consumed the same amount of food but in three meals per day.
And while switching from three big meals to five smaller ones may leave you unsatisfied initially, after a few days of sticking to your new habits your stomach will naturally begin to shrink, and those mini-meals will leave you feeling full satisfied, light, and full of energy. An added bonus? That cortisol-blunting effect occurs after just two weeks of making the meal shift.
Just remember to cut out processed foods and other foods containing obesity additives; they may be delicious but they are essentially junk for your body that offer no nutritional value. Consistently eating balanced-mini meals spaced throughout your day (think 7am, 10am, 1pm. 4pm, 7pm) will result in a healthier body and eliminate the need for any invasive and costly procedures like gastric bypass surgeries.