Fortunately for us, hunger is optional. Oddly, many who have the option don’t avoid it.
There are many blessings about everyday life in developed countries such as those in North America and northern Europe. Among the physical blessings are the ability to be free from thirst and from hunger.
Especially when you are eating (as you should) a protein-rich diet, it’s important to keep yourself well-hydrated. With an abundance of clean water available, this is merely a matter of remembering to drink a sufficient quantity. Individual needs vary, but drinking two or three quarts daily is a reasonable minimum for everyone. There’s no reason ever to be thirsty.
There’s also no reason ever to be hungry. In fact, letting yourself get hungry is a bad idea. Why? Because when you are hungry you’ll have a tendency to eat too much when you do eat.
Fortunately, we have role models to emulate. Natural bodybuilders and models have learned to eat every 3 (or 4) waking hours. Even if the calories consumed is the same, eating 6 smaller, more frequent meals is better than eating 3 larger, less-frequent meals. Doing so will prevent you from becoming hungry as well as minimize your blood sugar and energy swings.
So, if you are still eating three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), do this: eat breakfast, a mid-morning meal, lunch, a mid-afternoon meal, dinner, and a late evening meal. Each of the six meals should be about one-half the size of one of the three meals you were eating previously.
Assuming that you are consuming sufficient, high-quality protein (usually about 15 grams per feeding for an adult female and 20 grams for an adult male), eating every 3 hours of so during waking hours will maintain a positive nitrogen balance in your body. Why is this important?
It’s because whenever you permit yourself to go into a negative nitrogen balance, your body will use muscle tissue in order to keep its metabolic processes going. Maintaining a positive nitrogen balance will prevent this from happening.
The reason is that muscle tissue is many times, perhaps three dozen times, as metabolically active as fat. If you keep your carb intake low, as I recommend, your body must get energy from somewhere. It will use (stored) fat as well as (stored) protein to keep going. If you keep consuming a sufficient supply of protein and keep your carb consumption down, your body will oxidize your fat reserves as fuel, which is just what you want! If you keep your carb consumption down but fail to maintain a sufficient supply of protein, your body will use both fat and muscle to keep going.
This point is only infrequently discussed, but it’s so important that some natural bodybuilders actually wake themselves up every few hours during sleep in order to have a protein shake!
It’s difficult to build and maintain muscle mass. Your body will automatically jettison it as soon as it has any difficulties. So, it’s a really good idea to eat well-designed meals with sufficient frequency.
What’s a well-designed meal? I’ll give you some specific examples in the next post, and I’ll show you how easy it is to move from eating three meals a day to eating six meals a day.