It’s the third day of your diet, and you’re craving sweets. Chocolate, ice cream, anything sugary, carb-loaded and definitely not a plus for your waistline. It doesn’t help that this new diet, one of several that you have tried over the years, reduces your food intake significantly. Left hungry and on the brink of starvation, you wonder whether there is another way to eat healthy without feeling deprived. Is there a way to eat without tipping the scales?
Interestingly, there is such a method that exists, and it can be linked to Islamic etiquette. Research has shown that by devising a maximum daily calorie intake, one can divide the amount of their meals over the day, and can achieve either weight loss goals or maintain their weight. For instance, someone aiming to lose several pounds can eat five or six small meals per day, each amounting to approximately three hundred calories every three or four hours. Through consuming less than 2,000 calories and maintaining a simple exercise regime, one can easily achieve their weight loss goals. Note that each person has their own specific dietary recommendations that should be followed after a nutrition counseling session with their own doctor.
Eating several small meals per day has also been highly recommended to diabetics. During the day, normal blood glucose levels fluctuate slightly. However, with diabetics, a drastic drop in blood sugar may result in a coma and a lifethreatening situation. Similarly, eating a dense meal a few hours before bed may spike glucose levels and affect one’s overall health. Having five or six meals within an adequate calorie and carbohydrate range can help balance glucose levels and reduce the attack of the munchies that often accompanies high blood sugar.
Research has shown that by devising a maximum daily calorie intake, one can divide the amount of their meals over the day, and can achieve either weight loss goals or maintain their weight.
An issue with most diets is the feeling of malnourishment and empty pangs of hunger that accompanies them. Interestingly, the Prophet (may peace and blessings of God be upon him) taught us that one should fill their stomachs with ⅓ food, ⅓ water, and ⅓ air. Most diets violate this recommendation: either one has less than an eighth of their hunger satisfied or they have stuffed themselves with celery and fruits to the point that there is no room for anything else. Another hadith narrates that the believer eats in one stomach while the nonbeliever eats in seven stomachs. Eating in moderation is key we must not fill our stomachs to capacity.
After trying and failing several diets, most people realize that the root of their failure is that they are unable to diminish the feeling of hunger. The idea of several meals per day appeals to those in that situation, as it seems like one is eating much more when in reality, they are not. The key is to choose a nutritional plan that coordinates with your health status and appeals to your palate. However, like all diets, healthy meals are not successful unless there is exercise involved. Next time you are tempted to subscribe to that celebrity crash diet that involves a starvation period of two weeks, think of how changing your style of eating may provide better long-term results for both your health and your hips.