Some of the major eating principles of Flat Belly 365 involve having full meals with snacks in between and staying as stress free as possible. As fate would have it, a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity has recently been published that supports these principles. The study points to skipping meals, especially breakfast, as the culprit for overeating. The same study suggested that levels of stress cause people to eat more, especially in the evening, by causing alterations to the hunger hormone called ghrelin.
Ghrelin is released by your stomach when it’s empty for several hours. Ghrelin is one of our bodily survival tactics to ensure that we eat. Ghrelin will spike after about three to four hours of fasting, so science tells us that the best way to control it is to eat small, balanced meals about every three hours or so.
What was found in the study mentioned above was that the hunger hormone ghrelin rose higher in the evening compared to in the morning. What’s more, the stress of the day causes ghrelin to rise also, but only in the evening. What do these results tell us? Well, you’re likely to be more hungry in the evening if you both had a stressful day and on top of that were skipping meals until dinner. So when you come home, you’re ready to eat your entire refrigerator.
To prevent yourself from falling victim to this, follow some of Manuel’s eating principles:
1. Eat breakfast within 90 minutes of waking – Make sure this breakfast contains a blend of carbohydrate, protein and fat. This will ensure fullness and satisfaction. In addition, your breakfast will determine how you will eat later in the day, as you can see from the study done above. Therefore, eating within 90 minutes of waking up can help control your ghrelin.
2. Do not skip meals – For many people, three square meals don’t work anymore. These days, many of us wake up at 5:00 a.m. and stay up until midnight. Plus, we work harder and expend more brain power, which uses up fuel. Just remember, you need to eat every three to four hours to control ghrelin. So tailor that to your sleep pattern.
3. De-stress to get a flat belly – The study above supports this. The fact is that few of us breathe as deeply, consciously, or regularly as we should. Thought experiment: when was the last time you focused for a few moments on drawing a deep, long, slow, breath, and letting it out in the same manner? Try it now. Doesn’t it feel incredible? Deep breathing, when you give yourself the time and space to do it properly, can reduce stress and stress hormones oxygenate your brain and tissues, and help you to focus on yourself and your goals. Take breathing breaks throughout the day. Plan them for particular, regular times (noon and 3 p.m., perhaps), put them on your calendar, or set an alarm.
If you want to go beyond the eating principles and experience a more comprehensive way to specifically control your hunger hormone ghrelin, check out Manuel’s course on hunger control.