Stephanie Small is founder of Three Sisters Nutrition, a phone-based practice helping women improve their relationship with food, and blogs for holistic weight loss site 9 Weight Loss.
Are you familiar with Sumo? It’s a form of Japanese wrestling, and participants are on the enormous side. Certainly, they eat as much as they can, and drink lots of beer to encourage protruding bellies. However, some of their weight-gaining tricks have to do with how they time their dining. Here are two of their most important practices:
1. Skip breakfast. Sumo wrestlers know that in order to keep their metabolism low, they should overlook this important meal and proceed directly to lunch.
2. Overeat at night. By consuming a large, late dinner and then going directly to sleep, Sumos challenge their digestion and ensure more of their feast is stored as fat.
Is the typical American so different from a Sumo wrestler?
1. Skip breakfast. Check. Many of us eliminate it entirely, or start our day with sugar and carbs. Either way this sets us up for a blood sugar spike, followed by a drop. This is a recipe for weight gain.
2. Overeat at night. Check. We’re accustomed to eating small breakfasts, average-sized lunches and large dinners. Also, we tend to socialize around dinner. Going out to eat usually encourages increased consumption. After our sizeable evening meals, most of us sit on the couch and watch TV or surf the Internet. Not unlike our Sumo friends, we overeat—and then sit still.
Tip #4: Eat enough, and eat at the right times of day.
Interested in exiting the ring and hanging up your belt? I bet you are. I don’t care if you’re eating the healthiest diet in the world—if your timing’s off, your weight will be too. Here are a couple of non-negotiable steps you must take to improve your metabolism and encourage weight loss:
1. Eat regularly. Eating small amounts every three to four hours ensures blood sugar stability. That’s ideal. But if you’re coming from the Sumo wrestler diet, going from two big meals per day to five small ones is an extreme step.
Let’s start with the basics: Eat three meals per day. Meals should be no more than five hours apart. Eat within an hour of when you wake up. Have lunch four to five hours after that, and dinner four to five hours after that. Then take a stroll around your neighborhood after dinner instead of sitting on the couch.
Some people coming off the Sumo diet have difficulty with this step. Their metabolism has slowed so much that they’re just not hungry at all until noon. Here’s what I tell them: Eat something. Preferably, eat something protein-dense to break the blood sugar spike. If your first several breakfasts consist of nothing more than a handful of nuts or a hardboiled egg, at least you’re heading in the right direction.
2. Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess, and dinner like a pauper. Another gem from my holistic nutrition professor. It’s completely different from how most Americans eat. But stuffing your stomach and then lying down makes your poor body work too hard while you’re supposed to be sleeping. Digestion then becomes inefficient. Also, if your metabolism’s slowed to the point where you’re not hungry in the morning, following this prescription will ensure you’re ravenous upon rising.
Do you find yourself in front of your cabinet at 9 pm? A few scenarios could explain your hunger pains:
1. You’re not eating enough during the day
2. You’re eating for reasons other than physical hunger.
3. What you’re eating during the day doesn’t contain enough nutrients.
I could write an entire book on each one of these, so for more information, check out my blog, 9 Weight Loss, or my website, Three Sisters Nutrition.
Now you’re set to say sayonara to the Sumo diet. Join us next week for my final weight loss tip. Hint: I’ll tell you the three foods you must avoid in order to drop the pounds.
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