March 8, 2016AllPro Sports Performance

Nutrition’s Elite 8: #1 – Eat Less, More Often

So, a client of mine is an endurance athlete. He enjoys a busy lifestyle in sales that has him traveling frequently. In addition, he has 2 small children, 2 and 4 years old. Finally, as I stated, his training volume is high and to get it all in, he often works out at the crack of dawn before his house is up and running.

I think a lot of us find ourselves in that rut. Our training goals set the bar high but our families, jobs, friends can often zap most of our energy away. Often times we have to make a choice: are we going to be high energy for the workout or for your kids at home.

I am no different. By the time this blog is published, my wife is 28 weeks pregnant with our first. I’m about to learn what it’s all about.

So I am going to try and write a series of mini blogs that will cover each of my 8 nutritional tips in depth. The first one of these is eating smaller meals.

Here’s the deal. You can eat 3 meals of 700 calories each in a day. Or you can eat 7 meals of 300 calories each. Physiologically, it doesn’t do your body a single difference. That has been scientifically proven.

So what do I mean by eat less, more often? I’m talking about portion control. I’m talking about eating smaller portions at breakfast, lunch and dinner and filling the gap with high powered snacking (coming in tips #2 & #3). Here’s why you want to plan your day around smaller meal sizes and portion control.

First, a group of researchers took college students and let them go wild at a buffet. They could eat as much or as little as they wanted. The next week, they were divided into 3 groups and given either 100%, 125%, or 150% of what they had eaten the previous week. The groups that were served more, ate more!

Isn’t that incredible? What you eat at a buffet should be the limit right? It should be the ceiling! But, if given more, we eat more.

Psychologists call this an anchoring process. If given a low anchor (small portion meal) people eat less. If given a high anchor (large portion meal) people eat more. What’s interesting is that if I put no food in front of you and just ask you to estimate how much you’d eat, you’d land right in the middle of the low and high anchor point.

This proves that the mind is such a powerful thing. A lot of you know this but most of you are hesitant to explore the possibilities of portion manipulations.

Maybe you grew up in a family where there 4 children and you always saw mom cook large meals and that’s now the only way you know how to prepare food: for 6. Maybe your favorite place to shop is Sam’s Club because you save the most money there but the amount of food in your house is endless.

There’s nothing wrong with either of these scenarios. It’s just up to you to present yourself with smaller meals and snacks. If you cook large meals, learn to love leftovers. If you shop at Sam’s Club, learn to take what you have in the house and effectively meal prep it for the week.

Hey, one other thing: men and women rate each other more desirable when they eat smaller meals. There’s a first date tip for you.

This nutritional tip works in conjunction with 2 other tips I have. Without these other two, it can be difficult to be successful using this tip. The other tips help you feel like you’re still eating enough and feeling full. Notice the italics. Perception is everything.

Look for the rest of the series as they are published. I hope you get to try them out soon!

Thanks, Alex

Questions? Email Alex at [email protected]

The Tips

  1. Eat Less, More Often.
  2. Snacking Stay Power.
  3. Swap Fat for Fat.
  4. Water, Drink It.
  5. Activate Once Every Hour.
  6. Meal Prep, A Plan for Every Day.
  7. Sleep, an Underrated Rockstar.

Resources

  1. Cavanagh K, Vartanian LR, Herman CP, Polivy J. The effect of portion size on food intake is robust to brief education and mindfulness exercises. J Health Psychol. 2014;19(6):730-739.
  2. Levitsky DA, Youn T. The more food young adults are served, the more they overeat. J Nutr. 2004;134(10):2546-2549.
  3. Marchiori D, Papies EK, Klein O. The portion size effect on food intake. An anchoring and adjustment process? Appetite. 2014;81:108-115.
  4. Yantcheva B, Brindal E. How much does what you eat matter? The potential role of meal size, fat content, and gender on ratings of desirability. Eat Behav. 2013;14(3):285-290.