In the mix: You may not be eating enough

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, January 19, 2009

by Mandy Young, RN

Skipping meals places your body in starvation mode and slows down your metabolism, which causes the next meal you eat to be stored as fat. Many people are aware that nutrition research shows that frequent small meals is the best way to lose weight—and keep it off—because this pattern keeps your metabolism going and stabilizes your blood sugars. But how frequent and how small do these meals need to be?

Would you be surprised to learn that I eat six meals a day? This translates to one meal every 2 1/2-3 hours. When you spend your whole life eating "three square meals a day," making the switch to every three hours can be quite challenging. It's easy to lose track and miss a meal, but writing down what time you eat can be helpful until you get used to the new routine.

How much you can eat depends on the kind of food you are eating. We use meal replacements in my program that are formulated with the proper nutrition and are proportioned so clients can build their habit of eating every few hours. It can be complicated to plan these meals on your own, but it is possible.

Eating every 2 1/2-3 hours had a huge effect on my work performance because I was no longer starving through half of the shift. What kind of affects are your eating habits having on your ability to function as a nurse or a nursing student? 

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