Posted on Oct 23, 2019, 4 p.m.
Former Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels recently published an article in Women’s Health Magazine asking people to “Please don’t eat more than one snack a day” as she thinks grazing is a terrible idea, and she suggests that people should be only eating during a 12 hour period every day.
"So let’s say there are 12 hours a day when you’re fasting, and 12 hours a day when you’re eating," Michaels writes. "Break that down and you’ll need to eat about every three to four hours. That’s just enough time for breakfast, lunch, ONE snack, and dinner." The 12 hour fasting period includes time sleeping.
The 12 hour fasting that she recommends is not new it is called intermittent fasting, and it actually has some science behind it. The National Institute of Aging conducted a study recently that suggests intermittent fasting may be the key to longevity. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine research suggests that fasting several days a week may help to ward off Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and help to improve mood and memory. Mayo Clinic research suggests that regular fasting may help cholesterol and reduce the “risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes.”
Michaels speaks out against CrossFit and Keto, and now she is targeting snacking. Recently she has come under fire for slamming the keto diet by saying, “I don't understand. Like, why would anybody think this is a good idea?" and calling the trendy diet "bad plan, for a million reasons." According to Micheals this low carb high fat diet doesn’t acknowledge that "your cells, your macromolecules, are literally made up of protein, fat, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and can threaten the body's overall health.”
According to Michaels you basically shouldn’t be eating more than one snack a day, this may be controversial in some circles, but it is especially true if your goal is for weight loss. Ultimately weight loss is about calories in calories out meaning you need to watch what you eat, and burn off excess. She typically eats about 1,800 calories a day with 3.5 hours between meals; 400 at breakfast, 500 at lunch, 200 for a snack, and 400 at dinner. The right foods in the right balance should keep you full as long as you don’t skip meals.
Metabolism she says is just hormones telling the body information such as when to be hungry; when to build, maintain, or break down muscle; and where to store fat. Timing of meals and snacks has an effect on metabolism, specifically levels of satiety and hunger hormones. By grazing and eating all day long it doesn’t allow the body time to do the things it needs to do like repairing itself because it is constantly processing food; sticking to a schedule will keep energy levels up and stabilize insulin levels to keep you feeling satisfied all day.
Michaels suggest that there is no science to support grazing, and says that there is no benefit to keep insulin levels surging and the body constantly processing food, yet our culture promotes it as our work and social lives are centered around food that is constantly in our environment. If one eats within the 12 hour window, there really is no perfect timing for meals, you need to keep adjusting the schedule and what you are eating until you find what works best for you.
She believes that a big part of feeling hungry is due to people “...eating a lot of crap like processed grains and refined sugar. If you eat intelligently—which means eating all three macronutrients and a mix of whole grains, fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and clean protein—you should be fine eating every three to four hours and fasting overnight. If you’re not, you probably need to take a look at how you can better balance your macronutrients and calories in each meal.”
Eating should be a fairly balanced combination of macronutrients, eat with common sense and aim for a good ratio at every meal including snacks without getting crazy about it. Everyone is different, listen to your body and find a way to eat that makes you feel better for as long as possible. Meals and that one snack a day she recommends should be a fairly balanced combination of macronutrients comprised of "40 percent carbs, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent protein.” That snack should be about 20% of your daily calories or thereabouts.
Some people think that if a food is healthy, it is always good for you, but that is not true. Eating too much of a good thing can still cause weight gain. Look at bears, they eat basically all berries but still manage to pack on enough weight to hibernate for months at a time, as an example.
“That half an avocado you just ate for a snack might have 400 calories, and those extra calories add up," she writes. "So yeah, even healthy foods aren’t necessarily always good for you." She continues: "..don’t mistake that cereal bar that’s on your points plan for a healthy snack. It’s not. It’s a processed diet food, and it’s garbage. It has no nutrient value, it doesn’t have a good blend of macros, and it doesn’t have fiber or healthy fats for good energy. It will just give you a sugar crash in 90 minutes.”
There you have it, eating tips from the world famous diet and exercise guru Jillian Michaels.
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