Increasing your metabolism
That's basically what the mini-meal concept is all about, encouraging your body to kick up the metabolic rate rather than slowing it down.
Being hypo means a slowed metabolic rate, that is simply fact. The hormone supplements that you take to cover for your thyroid's lack of output will speed up your metabolic rate BUT if you start restricting foods too much in an attempt to lose that extra weight your body does something quite profound....
A body, healthy or hypo, that does not get fed enough, from it's perspective, is going to go into a protective mode to save itself from death by starvation. The first step toward this goal is to slow the metabolic rate, the second is to take the food that is eaten and turn it into fat.
So a person that is restricting calories and meals too severely will be slowing their metabolic rate, decreasing fat burning, increasing fat storage and lowering blood sugar and energy levels resulting in a plateau in their weight loss efforts a weight gain, malnutrition, or loss of energy. And for those of us that are hypothyroid, it also means a reduction in T4 to T3 conversion, and that slows metabolic rate even further.
The best way to prevent that is to eat smaller meals several times a day. Most folks eat three times a day, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Some folks might have a snack, some folks might skip breakfast. Many folks that are struggling to lose weight will often start by skipping breakfast. The logic is that they go as long as they can into the day before they start eating... burning fat to keep going.
From our body's point of view we've been without food since we ate the day before. That first meal of the day breaks that fast, that is where the word comes from - Breakfast, to break the fast.
Your body works all through the night repairing and healing, it uses a lot of energy. When you get up in the morning it needs energy coming in. If it doesn't get it, it starts taking from the fat stores. That is a good thing and a bad thing.. good because you are burning off some fat but bad because your body is going to drop your metabolic rate down a few notches to compensate for the inadequate available energy. So you end up feeling 'slow to go', need your caffeine, crabby, just can't get your umph in gear.
Your body is doing exactly what it's supposed to do if it doesn't get fed... And you pay the price. Bad mornings, grouchy, and still not loosing weight? Or worse - GAINING!!!
Start the day with breakfast. It doesn't have to be much, in fact a light breakfast of just a couple hundred calories will do the trick. Why? Because when you are doing mini-meals you eat every two to three hours, all day long.
In a couple of hours you can eat again.. Again, a light meal just two or three hundred calories at a time. Try to eat a balance of proteins and carbs. Try not to eat only sweets.
You keep doing this all day long.. every two to three hours a light, healthy meal. From your body's point of view it sees that it's getting fed ALL the time. So it's doing all kinds of happy dancing cause it doesn't have to go through the extra work of producing fat. Your tummy and digestive system don't have to process huge volumes and can just whip through everything quickly, extracting nutrition and energy then passing along what's left.
One little thing, the body just doesn't quite pick up on.. these little mini-meals that you are giving it, funny thing.. the calories is less than what it needs to do what you do.... so it has to grab some fat out of your thighs and hips and butt and tummy to turn into energy calories to make up for those short meals.
It's sensing food coming in regularly all day long so the metabolic rate is staying high... no danger to the body of starvation, so just let the sucker run... but it's a bit short so the fat stores get tapped into...
Hmmmmmm... You're eating all day long. And very likely eating the same food, if not more than you did while on a 'diet'.. but you have more energy, you feel more active, you feel less hungry... and you're losing weight?
Mini-meal eating can be combined with any of the other ways of eating that you have been working with, low carb, raw foods, etc...
It does take some getting used to. I've found that I do best setting up all my meals for a day or two at a time. Cooking is then only needed a few times a week instead of constantly stopping to fix something to eat. And having my meals ready to just grab and go makes if far less likely that I'll skip a meal and make my body chicken out and start storing fat again.
I'm very seldom hungry eating this way, the challenge is more one of remembering to eat on time... I like to do 'third hours' as my way to remember. 6 am, 9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm and 9pm. You have to adjust it to your schedule, though. But once you get it set up.. it's really pretty easy to do and the results are definitely worth the effort!