It's winter, and for many the energy levels can drag this time of year.
And it's the beginning of a new year, a time when it is common seek changes to the health habits that have caused us problems in the past.
Too often the solutions seem like great ideas at first, but the extra effort involved in making big changes can wear us down to the point that weeks from now it's all a distant memory.
But what if the change you made this year was simple?
And it actually worked?
This year, your health and nutrition goal can be as straightforward as this - stop snacking. Eat 2 meals per day if you're an adult, and 3 if you're a kid in your growth years.
Yup, it's time to get back to eating meals, just meals, and avoiding the calories throughout the rest of the day.
Simple as that may seem, there's growing evidence and a powerful scientific explanation for why this can be a game changer for you.
Avoiding An Inflammatory Response
At the heart of this idea is the concept of avoiding inflammation. Inflammation is your immune system's response to counteracting internal danger. It happens if you get a cut on your arm, are fighting sickness, and in many other situations. Your body even triggers it when you eat.
This is not a new nutritional concept. It's the reason you or someone you know may be ingesting apple cider vinegar when all reasonable thoughts tell you this is insanity.
If you are a student of healthy eating you know that foods which are high in sugar, trans fats, refined carbs and processed meats create a high inflammatory response.
What we need to remember, though, is that any food you digest sparks some level of inflammation within you.
Chronic, Low-Dose Inflammation
Leading health experts now believe that the slow moving health issues that creep in more and more often today can be traced back to living in a constant state of low-dose inflammation. It is now seen as the #1 driver of unhealthy aging.
Stress and other triggers can cause this too, but it's our diets that have the biggest impact if we're always eating. And our eating habits have gone through a massive transformation over the years.
As recently as before the Industrial Revolution the concept of eating 3 meals per day was rare. Really it is only in the last couple hundred years that staying fed at regular intervals all day was common.
Today, we take that to a whole new level with snacking, calorie-laden beverages (coffees, Gatorade, soda, etc), and the 'eat every 2 hours' diet plans. And right along with that we see increased rates of chronic fatigue, weight gain, joint pain and chronic disease.
Instituting A Change That Works For You
Remember that any time you snack between meals, even if it's a healthy snack, you're putting yourself in that chronic, low-dose inflammatory state. And you're not alone, because most of us spend our entire 16+ waking hours in a 'fed' state.
However, if you can contain your early-day eating to a full morning or noon-time meal, then have another at dinner, you'll give your body a chance in between to lower its guard and function more optimally over time.
If this sounds at all appealing to you, I'd recommend going 1 full week with this strategy to see how it impacts you personally. You may occasionally get hungry, but it probably won't be as challenging as you think it will be (especially if you eat a good AM meal) and you likely will be pretty happy with the energy and bodyweight changes you start to see.