Have you ever wondered what the easiest way to lose weight (and more importantly body fat) was? I know I have. The United States currently has the highest incidence of obesity ever, and the problem is only getting worse. The problem is that we are obese because we are constantly trying to find the easiest way to lose weight. It’s a never-ending battle. We develop fat-free this, and sugar-free that, but still no weight loss.
Well, I’m here to tell you that there is an easy way to lose body fat, and it’s not what you might think. You see, most people’s common sense would tell you that in order to lose body fat you need to eat less food. I’m here to tell you that this is not always the case. A lot of times, the best way to burn excess body fat is by eating more, or at least more often. That’s why I call this the Hobbit Diet Plan.
You see, the Hobbits, from the book and movie series “Lord of the Rings”, tend to eat many meals throughout the day instead of just 2 or 3 like most Americans. If you’ve seen the first movie in the series, you’ll remember a scene where the Hobbits stop to eat, and are scolded for doing so. Their guide tells them that they’ve already eaten breakfast, to which one Hobbit quickly replies, “Yes, but what about ‘second’ breakfast”. He then goes on to ask about several other meals that the Hobbits have become so accustomed to eating. All in all, I believe the total meals add up to 6. That’s right, 6 meals a day.
Now, 6 meals a day might seem absurd, but the Hobbits have it nailed. By eating more meals spread throughout the day, you are actually helping your body to keep your metabolism as high as possible. Which in turn means your body will naturally burn more calories, even while you’re sitting on the couch.
By eating less often, you are almost guaranteed that your body will go into “starvation” mode, and hold onto every drop of body fat that it can in order to survive. This, unfortunately, is a genetic trait passed down from our ancestors thousands of years ago, when food was scarce. When you give your body less calories, or go long periods without eating, your body automatically fears the worst and assumes that you won’t be getting another meal anytime soon. So what does your wonderful body do? It begins to burn less calories in order to conserve what it currently has stored. Your body also begins to break down your own muscles for fuel instead of using the body fat. Your body thinks this is the perfect solution. It’s getting rid of the muscle that is taking so much energy, and it’s conserving its fat stores for later down the road when you really need it.
Well, we all know that you’re not really going to starve. So, what happens when you finally do eat? Your body is still afraid that another starvation is coming, so it packs all of those calories away in the form of fat for the next time you have to go without. And you get fatter. Vicious cycle.
So, how do we break the cycle. Eat like the Hobbits. Eat more often every day. Preferably 5 – 6 meals spaced evenly throughout the your waking hours, about every 3 – 4 hours. I know, you’re thinking “Holy cow, this guy wants me to eat every 3 or 4 hours?”. That’s right! You see, by eating more often, you are signaling your body that you are well nourished and there is no sign of shortage ahead, so it’s OK to go ahead and burn off all of that extra energy stored in the form of fat.
There are a few important things to remember though. Although we are going to be eating 5 – 6 meals a day, we still need to be conscious of the calories that we are taking in. You shouldn’t be eating 5 – 6 meals made up of Quarter Pounders and Fries, or Big Macs and Chocolate Shakes. Your body still only needs a certain number of calories in order to function efficiently. If you want to burn fat, you need to make sure that you are just a little below that level.
“Ah ha!”, you say, “You tricked us”. No, not really. I think you’d be surprised at how many calories your body really needs to run efficiently. As a matter of fact, it is very common for many people to not be getting enough calories, and in turn, be sending their bodies into starvation mode.
So how many calories does your body really need? Well, that’s a good question, and the right answer depends on what your body composition is. Now, that’s a pretty heavy bit of math for right now, but here are some averages.
For women, the average calorie need to maintain body weight is between 2000 – 2100 calories per day. Which means, in order to lose weight (preferably body fat), you should be taking in 1400 – 1800 calories per day.
For men, the average calorie need to maintain body weight is between 2700 – 2900 calories per day. Which means, in order to lose weight (again, preferably body fat), you should be taking in 2200 – 2700 calories.
That’s a pretty substantial amount of calories. This is by no means a starvation diet. Just a quick bit of math will show that a man who’s trying to maintain 2500 calories a day and eating 5 times a day is allowed 500 calories per meal. If you make the right food choices, 500 calories is a lot of food. For example, you could eat 4 ounces of grilled chicken, a 6 ounce baked potato, a cup of broccoli, and a large (2 cups) mixed green salad with light italian dressing, and still only be at around 450 calories. That’s a lot of food!
So, if you want to burn some fat, and be able to eat great while doing it, I recommend that you eat like the Hobbits. Try to eat 5 – 6 balanced meals a day about every 3 – 4 hours. I think you’ll be amazed at the results.