Weight Loss Rules to Bend #1: Eat five small meals a day


Growing up, it seemed like the more rules there were, the more we wanted to break them. And while our rebellion subsides some as we age and mature, there is often still that desire to break rules when it comes to weight loss and diet. Fortunately, there are some rules that can be broken and disregarding certain strict "food guidelines" can be the secret to a successful slim-down.
 
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people with a flexible approach to eating (one that allows for sweets and other "slip-ups") had a better record of maintaining weight loss than dieters with an "all or nothing" outlook.
 
There are tons of silly food rules out there that we often try to follow and many of us believe that our weight loss program won't be successful if we don't follow these perceived rules. However, nutrition experts say that many of these food and dieting rules we hold dear are meant to be broken.
 
This week will will discuss 5 weight loss rules that are meant to be bent or broken. For each rule, we will give you a breakdown of nutrition experts who successfully break the rule, why you can break it too and how to do it right. How can you do it right without slipping into a diet danger zone? Remember to keep everything in moderation and if you do slip-up, don't dwell on it and just get back into your healthy routine at the next meal.
 
Weight Loss Rules to Bend #1: Eat five small meals a day
 
Who breaks it: Renee Melton, R.D., director of nutrition services for the mobile weight-loss program Sensei. "My schedule doesn't give me time to prepare healthy snacks, much less eat them, so I make sure I get what I need in three square meals a day."
 
Why you can too: The "graze, don't gorge" philosophy is based on the premise that having frequent small meals keeps your blood sugar steady, your metabolism ramped up and your appetite in check. However, some studies show a link between obesity and eating more than three times a day, most notable in women. More frequent noshing means more opportunities for overeating. Plus, says Melton, having to constantly think about what you're going to eat can be stressful, especially for emotional eaters.
 
Do it right: To keep hunger pangs from overriding your willpower throughout the day, eat fiber-rich foods at mealtimes; they will make you feel fuller and take longer to digest. Shoot for 21-25 grams a day, starting with a high-fiber grain cereal like Kashi's GoLean with low-fat milk and fruit. For lunch or dinner, Melton says, fill half your plate with produce, a quarter with carbs and a quarter with lean protein.
 
Do you eat 3 square meals or do you typically graze and eat smaller meals throughout the course of your day? What do you find works best for you?