Showing posts tagged with: Myths

To Snack or Not To Snack… Or Does it Even Matter?

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

goals Habits Nutrition Uncategorized


3 Meals a Day + 2 Snacks

6 Small Meals a Day

3 Meals + 1 Snack

3 Square Meals a Day

Eating every 2 hours..

No food after dark..

Yes I have experimented with them all! Back in the day I would hear the newest guru promoting the magic number of meals you should eat each day for forever fast fat loss & jump on board. "You should eat every 2 hours to stoke your metabolism"! Of course that makes sense! "Breakfast is a must", well duh! "Don't eat 4 hours before bed?" or "Have snacks between every meal". They all can make sense in a well presented article if the author does a great job selling the idea. And that's not to say they are all wrong.But IS there a optimal amount of snacking you should do to lose weight? YES THERE IS! The magic meal plan is out there & perfect for you. What is it? Easy, whatever works for YOU & you can stick to! I have seen ALL of these formulas work for fat loss success. Ultimately the best plan is what fits within your lifestyle, keeps your hunger, energy & cravings in check & makes you feel good.So how do you know what will work best for you? Let's look at a few common snacking slip ups to see if you fall into any of these categories:

Common Snacking Snafus:

  • Eating Pre-Packaged Junk Food: if you are someone on the go, hates to plan ahead or pack nutrient dense options then snacking may not be for you. People's who's only options (whether options by what they WILL eat or has readily available) are bars, crackers, chips & other lower quality foods then it might be time to rethink their snack game.
  • Overeating on "snack foods": a few crackers with hummus or a handful of nuts? Eh that didn't really satisfy so let me grab another handful or two. These foods can be super easy to overdo the portions & end up calorically adding up to an extra meal or two per day. If you find that a small snack never actually happens, might be time to try a new method.
  • Forcing Smaller Meals to Includes Snacks: I find from a psychological perspective, the 5-6 small meals or snacks approach can be a real negative for certain people. These tiny meals never really fill you up or provide satiety. So instead you fixate on waiting another 2-3 hours for the allowed snack, leading to a constant state of hunger & food fixation. That's not a physically or mentally healthy amount of energy to expend on food.
  • Using For Non-Hunger Needs: We often start to use snacking as a way to soothe stress, boredom, sleepiness, frustration or lack of energy in the office. A bandaid to cover up the underlying issues never fixes the problem.

Tips to Avoid Unhealthy Snacking:

  • Eat Bigger Meals: if you are snacking on bad options out of hunger, why not try adding some extra staying power to breakfast or lunch. Experiment with meal size to cut out the physical need to fit in that mid-day munching.
  • Determine the Cause: keep a journal & start paying attention to when you snack, what you choice & the why behind it. If it's a none hunger related decision, brainstorm alternative options to begin implementing in place of food.
  • Exercise Induced: overdoing cardio or other excessive exercise can wreck havoc on hunger signals. I find the incessisent hunger a big warning signs that fitness may be interfering with your hormones. If this sounds like you, I would take time to re-evaluate your regimen to consider if it's the culprit of your unhealthy eating practices.
The truth is you don't need a snack mid-morning & mid-afternoon to achieve fat loss, maintain a healthy bodyweight, keep your metabolism moving or any of that. Those goals will be determined by the totality of the food you eat throughout the day, week, month & lifetime. I have absolutely struggled with finding my perfect formula over the years & what I have come to realize is it CHANGES. Depending on the day, my exercise intensity, my current goals & so on I adjust as I go. On days I am busy & know I won't have time for a healthy snack, I eat a bigger breakfast. On days I am short on time & grab a lighter lunch, I have go to snacks that satisfy. I know my trigger foods & don't set myself up to have them around during my mid-day slump when energy & willpower are at their lowest. It's taken trial, LOTS of error & permission to trust myself. It's a PRACTICE!

KEY TAKEAWAY: Stop looking for other gurus to tell YOU what works for your body  or lifestyle . That means you have to put in a little work & self experimentation to find the answers. Tough I know BUT it's also way more satisfying & sustainable.

Tell me your BIGGEST struggle with trying to optimize your meal timing? 

5 Common Dietary Mistakes to Avoid:

by Emma Hammond 0 comments

Nutrition Uncategorized

nutrition-myth-picThere is no escaping the overwhelming amount of nutrition advice we are exposed to on a daily basis. Every magazine cover, tv show & website headline has the newest weight loss tip to help you build your better body yet. Great right? Follow the diet plan prescribed & 6 weeks later you are bikini ready.

But wait...

diet-confusion-pic-300x300This magazine lists specific super foods you must eat to achieve that sexy flat belly. Yet Dr. Oz said the only way to lose weight is avoiding those same amazing ingredients? One week of 1200 calories a day filled with magic kale smoothies & only .2lbs down easily leaves you back to where you started. Frustrated, disappointed & feeling as though you are incapable of ever reaching the health goals you set out to accomplish.

I am not infallible to the deceptive dietary marketing & have made most (if not all) of these misleading mistakes made based on the guru advice.

how-many-meals-a-day-to-lose-weight1. You must eat every 2-3 hours to stoke your metabolism: FALSE. This approach may work for some but the basic science behind this recommendation has been dispelled. Finding the meal size & frequency that is conducive to your lifestyle is the better way to go. No I don't recommend going 8-10 hours between breakfast & dinner. However play with what works for you! You won't shrivel up & die if you go 4-5 hours between meals. If you feel better eating 3 bigger balanced meals a day & can stick with it, do that. If you enjoy a snack or two between meals, factor that into your daily total & chow down. Just know that overall intake is far more important then trying to eat 6 perfectly prepped & portioned meals per day.

2. 1200 Calories a day is the perfect number to achieve weight loss: HECK NO! Seriously whoever threw out this number as the arbitrary formula for all females to follow so we can fit into skinny jeans has done women a huge disservice. What's funny is in the same breath people will say don't go below 1200 calories or you fall into "starvation mode". Therefore lingering 2 calories above that is ideal or healthy to live off of. Unless a person is bed ridden then 1200 calories is simply going to create nutritional deficiencies & feelings of deprivation. Both of which are not sustainable. Calorie intake depends on age, activities & goals.18081cac7cfabee5e87852032d622f4f

3. Low Fat, Low Carb or High Protein is King: AKA FAD DIET. The popular diet trends change every few years. A decade of low fat & fat free foods have recently been scientifically shown to be ineffective, unnecessary & flat out unhealthy. The newest covers seems to lean towards low carb or high protein as the quick fix weight loss solution. Do people have some success with these? Sure for a time. If you cut out a whole macronutrient group you are likely to lower your overall calorie intake & lose "weight" in the short term. However I see over & over the huge rebound effect or low carb diet..aka lost 40lbs then gained 60lbs back in 1/2 the time. Or even worse being serious hormonal disregulation, loss of energy, strength, muscle mass & more. Yet again, who are you, what's your activity, health markers & goals. Don't arbitrarily throw out a whole food group without fully understanding the ramification. Somewhere in the middle is what's best for most. Try out small tweaks to see what balance makes you feel & perform best.

4. Calories Over Nutritional Quality: HELLO HUNGER! So as long as you stay under the 1200 calories of granola bars, low fat popcorn, frozen meals & sugar free chocolate (eww!) you will be able to keep dieting, lose weight & all will be well with the world. Yet 30 minutes after devouring that low fat breakfast muffin that fit within your allotted 300 calories, your belly is growling. You drink water, distract yourself, eat a whole cucumber & still you cannot hold out & succumb to the nearest donut in the breakdown. Another fail. Sigh.. This is because you need a higher quality nutritional intake to feel full & satisfied. I can guarantee you will not feel full as long eating 400 calories of poptarts as you would with a balanced breakfast of eggs, fruit & avocado. Quality counts a lot more than quantity when we are talking sustainability.

mtd375x360nsRnVubnkgRGlldGluZyBDYXJ0b29uIQffffff.u15. Eating After 5pm Will Make You Fat: OR you must eat within 30 minutes of waking or your metabolism will cease to work. Meal timing has been proven to be much less important to fat loss then portrayed in the mainstream media. I see too many people getting wrapped up in the perfect meal timing instead of quality, activity, how they feel & what they can maintain with ease. These are all far more important factors to base your meal frequency & timing on. Personally I'm not super hungry in the morning. Shoving down food doesn't make me feel good & I definitely don't enjoy it. I often workout, walk the dog & jump in a shower before I eat my first meal of the day. I also eat a nice carb-filled snack right before bed. Guess what?? It has not made me fat or affected any goals related to. Does that mean you should do the same? Not necessarily.


You may have noticed a theme in this myth busting post, as I often sound like a broken record on this topic. The main message is that we are all individuals & should eat accordingly. Yes, there are general guidelines I always recommend such as eat mostly unprocessed foods, move daily, prioritize sleep & work on stress reduction. Don't get caught up in all the diet dogma that is seen in the mainstream weight loss world.  Just because it's on a magazine doesn't make it true, which is why I want to focus on the science of nutrition & share it with you. Listen to your body & find the foods that make you feel amazing!!

What weight loss myth has thrown you for a loop?