Experimenting with Reduced Meal Frequency to Reduce Overeating
My overeating urges often start the moment I start eating. The moment the food touches my lips, the frenzy starts. A lot of people report that fasting is easier than simple calorie restriction, and I understand why.
I have been trying to stop overeating for years, and have not been very successful to be honest.
I recently started wondering whether or not reducing my meal frequency would be the answer, and am now trying to build up to only eating two meals a day. I have successfully gone down from five to three, and when I was younger, I would often eat around ten times a day. When I started researching diet and health in primary school, when I was around ten years old, one of the first things that I learned was that you need to eat five small meals a day in order to balance your blood sugar levels, have sustained energy throughout the day, and even lose weight.
Nearly every article that I listen to that spoke about what diet a certain celebrity followed claimed that they did it by eating smaller meals throughout the day as recommended by a lot of experts.
If you think about it, back in the day, when we were still hunter-gatherers, we did not necessarily have a constant supply of food throughout the day, and you would have not been able to eat five times a day. So, it does not make sense that that way of eating will be preferred by our bodies, and that it will help us be healthier if it is actually quite far-removed from how we would have eaten naturally.
In fact, some days, you may have only been able to eat once or not at all, and fasting is a lot more normal as a part of a healthy lifestyle than having small meals broken up throughout the day.
There are people who struggle to eat a larger volume of food at once, and also many who have a problem with not snacking. I am one of them, and have snaccidents quite often, so I completely understand. It makes sense to eat smaller meals, spread throughout the day, until they can stretch out their stomachs enough to be able to have two or three good meals in a day.
If you are a bodybuilder who is trying to gain 30kg of muscle and has to eat a lot of protein, you probably have to eat more meals in a day, because your body can only absorb a certain amount of protein at once, which is roughly 30g to 40g of protein. Therefore, bodybuilders and fitness models often divide their protein into multiple meals to be consumed throughout the day, perhaps in two-hour intervals, so that they can absorb that amount of protein.
Now, it is not healthy to consume that much protein. It can actually put too much stress on the kidneys and damage them. You only need to consume around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogramme of body weight or up to 1.5g of protein per kilogramme of body weight.
If you are a regular human being, who has not dedicated your life to looking like an action figure, then it is a good idea to try and go down to only eating three meals a day or even two, depending on what your body can handle.
This is because every time you eat, your insulin levels will rise, and that means that your body might have high insulin levels, which triggers fat gain. Your body will also have a steady supply of nutrients throughout the day if you are eating too frequently, and your body will not run out of fuel, which will then force your body to consume all of the damaged or senescent cells, and to consume the excess fat you have on your body.
I used to get worried when too much time would pass between meals, because I remember learning that you needed to eat every three hours. Little did I know that eating that frequently was getting in the way of me burning more of my fat, as my body never ran out of energy to force my body to burn my fat for energy.
If you do love eating large meals, and may have felt guilty in the past for wanting to eat large meals when other people seem to be able to survive and maintain their mental sanity while eating small portions, then reducing the number of meals that you consume in a day can be quite helpful. If you take your five meals a day and turn them into three, you will be able to eat more at each meal than before.
If you are a compulsive overeater or binge eater like me, then reducing meal frequency also reduces the number of times in a day where you can overeat. I have gone through phases where I would eat my five meals a day, but I would overeat at each one of them. It started to become a lot more satisfying when I switched to having fewer, but bigger meals instead, as small meals will always leave me wanting more straight after.
I think the easiest method, for me, would be to transition to two meals a day using an adaptation of the bulletproof fasting method, where your first meal of the day is pretty much pure fat, but I want to have it as my lunch instead. It seems to be easier to skip lunch than it is to skip breakfast or dinner.
If I eat less often, and the frenzy is triggered less often, making it a habit could help lead to food freedom. For me that is the ultimate goal. To be able to enjoy food without becoming anxious or overeating. To feel satisfied after the meal is done, instead of going into a frenzy of just wanting more, sounds like freedom to me. I am getting closer to not overeating, finding food freedom, and becoming my healthiest self.