If you are anything like the Heather of the past, you might avoid eating large meals in fear of getting bloated and, instead, you snack all day long.
I did this for YEARS.
I was scared that if I sat down to a full, balanced meal I would be in so much pain and feel so bloated for the rest of the day.
To combat this, I did what I thought was best at the time. I would eat something almost every hour! I was always hungry, and I didn’t realize how this was actually making my gut issues worse.
I want to fill you in on a little secret: your body has this amazing system called the migrating motor complex. This system is like the “after-office-hours” cleanup crew. It comes in to take out the trash, vacuum and push the chairs back in. However, if you are working a late night, the cleanup crew isn’t going to show up because it will be disrupted. In the same sense, the migrating motor complex only shows up in between meals in a fasted state (read: you haven’t eaten in at least 90 minutes).
This system is a little different for everyone, but the migrating motor complex typically shows up 90-120 minutes after eating a meal. So, that snacking and grazing you are doing throughout the day? It could be the reason why you are constipated and bloated.
Your cleanup crew keeps getting word that you are working a late night and isn’t showing up. Now, your trash is overflowing and you are in serious need of a vacuum.
Many of our clients have the same fear that I used to have. They worry that eating will make them super bloated, so they pick at food all day and never commit to eating an actual meal.
One of the first things we work together on in the gutTogether program is meal spacing. To encourage your cleanup crew to show up, we encourage our clients to start by spacing out breakfast and lunch. As they feel more comfortable, we then space out lunch and an afternoon snack or dinner (depending on what time they typically eat dinner).
Is snacking inherently “bad” for gut health? Absolutely not! Snacks can be great – especially mid-afternoon, depending on what time you eat dinner – or before bed to help you stabilize blood sugar overnight.
But, if you are having to snack every hour, maybe your main meals are not satisfying enough. Working to improve the balance at your meals could help with your mental (and physical) satisfaction throughout the day.
It’s important when meal spacing to make sure that you are also eating enough food, so you can feel satisfied for this 3-4 hour time period. If you struggle with low blood sugar or feeling ravenous between meals, it is more important to make sure that your body has fuel versus worrying about the clock and meal spacing.
Here are your key takeaways:
- Space your meals out 3-4 hours to improve digestion.
- Hunger trumps all → if you are hungry, regardless of the time, EAT.
- Work on balancing blood sugar by adding plenty of protein, carbs and fats to your meals so you can feel satisfied between meals.
- Give yourself and your body grace → this is a process!
Are you ready to get started on your gut health journey? Download our free guide “10 Ways to Improve Digestion Now:”