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FAST: For a Skinnier Tomorrow

I much prefer the terms lean, or ripped, versus skinny, however the acronym ‘For a Ripped Tomorrow’ just doesn’t quite have the same cache….

I get asked regularly what I eat, how often, etc. Given the importance nutrition plays in health and fitness - especially as we get older - it’s a topic I gladly dedicate time to discuss.

My goal is not to get into specifically what you should eat – that depends on your goals (lose fat, gain muscle, etc.), your current state, what you like to eat, what works for you, and myriad other variables. Shoot me an email to discuss your particulars. However, when - meal frequency - is a concept that applies to nearly everyone regardless of current situation or future goals.

Many people skip breakfast, eat a small lunch, then gorge on pizza and other high calorie/low quality foods since they are so hungry by the time dinner rolls around (which is the same thing you will be doing if you follow this approach to eating…rolling around….). When we get hungry we tend to make poor nutrition choices. Our brains are literally signaling, ‘eat whatever is in sight, otherwise you’ll die!’ so we oblige.

By grazing throughout the day you accomplish a couple important things. First, you tend to keep your metabolism rate up (since, conversely, when you allow yourself to get so hungry, the body’s safeguard response is to slow down its metabolism as a survival mechanism). Secondly, as noted, you almost never over eat. As a side bonus, your stomach tends to get smaller so you get fuller easier/faster since you are not used to large meals.

I eat every few hours, having a normal sized breakfast around 6:30, then a small snack mid-morning. This can be a protein shake, protein bar, piece of fruit, etc. – just a few hundred calories to take the edge off. Lunch is normal size (by ‘normal size’ I mean a reasonable portion, I’m not saying what they serve at the Olive Garden which is enough to feed a small town). I have another small snack mid-afternoon before my workout so that I have good energy and am not exercising hungry. Since I’ve eaten within the prior few hours, dinner is again reasonably sized. If I worked out extra hard that day or am just hungry, I may have a small snack an hour or 2 before bedtime, however if I’m in a weight/fat burning mode, I won’t eat again after dinner until the next morning.

By eating every few hours during the day, I’m rarely full or hungry. In fact I almost never think about food between meals (whereas I was obsessed with my ‘next’ meal as a young adult). I have not counted calories in well over a decade, have no idea how many ‘points’ a particular food is. Basically I eat whenever I’m hungry, and before I’m full I stop. I focus on foods that are high in nutrition and low in calories like spinach, kale, nonfat Greek yogurt, fish, etc. – more on food quality in a future blog.

Your mom told you over and over, “…don’t spoil your appetite!” In reality, you do want to spoil your appetite. Those few hundred calories of fruit or nuts or a protein bar, consumed with consciousness between main meals, will be far less than the 600+ calories worth of nutrient-starved white bread or pizza you wolf down when famished from not having eaten in 8 hours.

Stay Disciplined My Friends!

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