How many times have you been told to eat frequently to keep your metabolism running at high gear?
Does this really work and contribute to weight loss?
Well, studies show that, no, it doesn’t. What you eat is far more important.
But what constant snacking/eating does do is stop your body from doing the down-and-dirty detoxing it needs to do on a regular basis.
It takes a lot of energy to process food, so when we eat and process food, our body focuses on just that – processing the food. The rest of the detox organs (liver, kidneys, etc) go into a kind of holding pattern.
They do just enough to get by, while allowing the digestive tract to process the food you have just given it.
Processing food generally takes somewhere around 2 hours or so.
Once your body has finished processing the food, those detox organs go into high gear to deal with the toxins and waste products produced by the food that was just eaten, as well as any other toxins that your body may need to deal with – from the air, from lotions and creams and other things you have put on your skin or come in contact with, etc.
The problem is, often when the body starts to detox, we get a feeling of what we mistake for as ‘hunger’, so we eat again, thus shutting down the detox process.
This is unfortunate because, generally, we are NOT hungry, our body is DETOXING and sometimes those toxins getting dealt with can be uncomfortable – think of when someone is detoxing from an addiction to a drug or alcohol.
They feel like crap. Their body is processing out the toxins from that drug and it feels pretty horrible if it is used to having it.
This is the same thing that is happening when our body goes into detox from eating – especially if we are used to eating a lot of processed foods. It is dealing with the toxins from those foods and it doesn’t always feel so great so eating more of it will help make you feel better.
We mistake this for hunger and we feel better after we eat. Just like a drug addict feels better once they take the drug again.
Unfortunately, this continues to turn off the big detoxing that our body is trying to do and go back into processing food, thus starting the whole cycle over again and increasing the overall buildup for toxins.
So – what to do?
Eat a full meal at mealtimes and then don’t eat again until the next meal.
You will allow your body to get down to the business of detoxing and over time you will not feel this uncomfortable ‘hunger’ (which I call ‘toxic hunger’) between meals and you will also find that at meal time you will be truly hungry and food will taste amazing.
If you are eating a whole foods, plant-based diet, your will be nourishing your body with highly nutrient dense foods which will help by not contributing to a high toxic load with each meal and support the detox process.
AND if you struggle with overeating and emotional eating behaviors, snacking only continues to stimulate your desire to eat as well, so this is another reason to only eat at meal times and avoid snacking. If you put boundaries around the times you eat, it will help you avoid the continued behavior of overeating and also help you stop the madness around this psychologically damaging behavior.
So – stop snacking. Give your body a break and the time it needs to take care of itself.