Divide and Conquer Healthy Living

January 8, 2015

Howdy-ho! How is the water challenge going for you? Many of you are visiting the bathroom more frequently- yippee! And, some have realized this is harder than you thought it would be- that is normal. But let’s talk about it- let me know what your biggest road blocks (environmental or mental) are that make these strategies difficult for you.

If you are rocking the rethink your drink strategy, keep on keeping on… If this is harder than you thought… Don’t worry… Consistency, not perfection is key! Today we are moving on to the second strategy- Divide and Conquer.

Now it is time to dive into the meat and potatoes of your day- eating food! I am sure you have heard the advice to eat smaller meals throughout the day for weight control. But, I doubt anyone took the time to explain why it is important. My intention is to explain it in the most elementary way possible. This week’s strategy doesn’t deal with what foods you are eating (we will get to that, I promise), but more about the timing of your meals and why it matters.

Today, start thinking of your body as a factory that survives solely off of its shift workers.

Most real life factories work 24/7, 365 days a year, in 12 hour shifts to produce a product; such as, cars, furniture, or packaged food items. Even the most efficient factory has a max number of outputs per shift, due to equipment, space, and time for production to take place. Every factory’s management team knows the optimal number of employees to have at each shift to produce the max number of product based on equipment ability.

Neither more nor less employees on any given shift will improve production… only hinder the factory’s bottom line. Not enough workers during a shift will slow down production. Too many workers during a shift doesn’t improve production, it only increases the money wasted on unnecessary wages for workers sitting on their bum doing nothing.

Stick with me…. 

Your body’s digestive system and metabolism works very much like a factory; except its output is to sustain real life and overall wellness. Your factory (body) works 24/7, 365 days a year, in 3-4 hour shifts to keep you alive and well. The workers we employ on a daily basis to keep our factories up and running in tip-top shape are nutrients found in the foods we eat. Macro- (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and micro- (vitamins and minerals) nutrients are the only workers we have access to, to get the job done.  How effective our factory is at maintaining good health depends on how efficient we are at employing the right type of nutrients (workers) at the right time of day.

Have I lost you yet? Hang tight, I am getting to the kicker. 

In short, when we eat too little throughout the day, we are not providing the body (factory) with enough nutrients (workforce) to adequately get the job done. We will be fatigued, become sick, have a slow metabolism, and not reach any of the weight maintenance or wellness goals we had in mind. On the other hand, if we overload our body (factory) at any one given meal with too many nutrients (workers) then the body will work with the number of nutrients it needed to run optimally during that shift, and unfortunately, the other nutrients not necessary at that time will be ushered to hangout on your thighs, tummy, and everywhere else it can be without being a productive employee.

Are you starting to get point? 

When we routinely stick to providing the body with nutrients about every 3-4 hours we will optimally digest and metabolize the nutrients for good health and wellness. No task will be left undone (repairing, recovering, rebuilding), and no extra nutrients will be left behind (stored as fat). All foods will be digested and metabolized as needed in the most efficient way possible. And, all the other smart nutrition and medical gurus out there will add that this is how you better manage blood sugar, which in the end better controls your hunger.

Why quality over quantity of food matters. 

This week I am not harping on the types of food you eat, but I do want to share this tid-bit of information in-case you do want to start making healthier choices a week in advance.

It may surprise you but an empty stomach does not trigger the hunger drive. The efficient and active digestion and absorption of nutrients from food does. Here is a bare-bones explanation of how digestion works.

We eat food.  Our stomach breaks it down into the macronutrients; proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Next, food enters the small intestines and is further broken down into vitamins and minerals. Then the small intestines allows the nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream and sent to the liver where they will be stored or sent to other parts of the body.  What’s left is sent to the large intestine where the remaining water is absorbed from the food and then compounded into solid waste to be expelled from the body.

Meanwhile, the nourishment that passed through the small intestine into the blood stream is busy nourishing the body. As absorption is accomplished blood-sugar levels drop and send a signal to the brain. The red-alert is triggered that food is needed. At last, it is blood sugar dropping, not the empty stomach, that signals hunger.  Stabilize your blood sugar and delay hunger.

Bottom line, the more nutrient dense a food is the more nutrition available to be delivered throughout the body.  You can stay nourished, full, and satisfied on fewer calories.  Calories from processed foods deliver little nutrition and the body will continue the hunger cycle until it attains the nutrients it desires. Junk food gives your large intestines a workout since little is absorbed in the small intestines for any good use. It’s best to choose packaged items with legible ingredients; or better yet eat whole foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy) the way nature intended in whole form.

Do you see how it all ties together??

The body can only process and utilize so many nutrients in a 3-4 hour period of time. Our job is to give it the most high quality workers (nutrients) possible every 3-4 hours to keep it up and running smooth and seamlessly. The body can’t overwork itself, it can only store extra. It doesn’t want to under work either, it will just get sick, slow down your metabolism, and become fatigued.

Ultimate Goal: Start to focus on readjusting your day to eat every 3-4 hours starting with breakfast within the first hour of waking. It is OK if this strategy rocks your world, the purpose is to become aware of the areas you need to improve, and do your best. Naturally, you will begin to eat smaller meals because you will be less hungry once you divide and conquer your day. The easiest way to start becoming aware of the timing is set an alarm on your phone for 3.5 hours. This just begins the awareness process, which is a crucial first step to change.
Let me hear from you, Tweet me or Facebook me and tell me if this strategy will be easy-peasy or super difficult? Let’s talk through it. You can do this!

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