i wasn't allowed to read cosmopolitan when i was growing up.

"it's too vulgar, you're too young. you don't need to know how to have 'crazy hot sex'. put it back."

my mother's disapproval and subsequent banning of cosmo nestled within me a deep desire to devour every issue of the mag i could get my hands on. once i went to college, i'd snatch up the latest print as soon as it hit the corner bodega. as a eighteen-year old who'd never had a boyfriend, i very became quickly well-versed in everything from how often to get bikini waxes (you can go as long as 10 weeks if you're not a hairy freak) to the best lubes for anal sex (silicone-based, each writer would eventually decide) without actually having any sex whatsoever. 

but in spite of the alluring headlines and the repurposed stories, there were some great sections of content. surprisingly, cosmo wasn't all smut. the writers were also very concerned about my health, my well-being. the fitness sections that promised, "flat abs, fast!" or "bikini-body-ready in just 5 days" made me drool. if only i could be bikini-body-ready. [have a bikini? have a body? you're bikini body ready.]

my favorite part, though, were the sections on nutrition.

they pretty much always said the same thing, in different iterations but along these lines:

  • 1200 calories a day is about how much you should eat to maintain your weight (but you're probably trying to lose weight, so slash that if you need to) 
  • greek yogurt is like, the best. put some berries on top, yeah blue ones. that's what Giselle eats.
  • speaking of Giselle, you should only eat spicy food because it increases your metabolism.
  • bread is fine, but only if it's whole wheat, low-cal, and not actually bread but more like a cracker. nevermind, don't eat bread.
  • eggwhites = good. Giselle loved egg whites in 2010
  • drink water! at least 64 ounces. Like Giselle. 
  • dark chocolate is your bff, because you're a girl and you love that shit. (Giselle carries some in her favorite handbag) 

and my favorite...

Eat five to six small meals a day to rev your metabolism and burn calories all day long.

ah, this little myth. 

someone started this nasty rumor, and it just took on a life of it's own. it sounds so good in theory, right? eat when you're hungry, have regular meals but snack often, and you'll lose weight. 

it became a crutch for me and every other girl i'd ever met. :

"i need to eat, i'm getting hangry." 
"it's been 2 hours since my last meal and i'm so drained i need food." 
"i'm trying to lose weight. so i'm adding more snacks into my day." 

and here's the thing—this method doesn't actually work that well. 

studies show that eating more often, throughout the day doesn't increase metabolic rate. you don't burn any more calories eating 6 small meals than you would if you ate one huge meal at the end of the day. 

great! so it doesn't matter if you eat 3 meals a day or if you eat 6 meals a day, as long as they're the same number of calories? not exactly. 

when you're constantly eating every few hours, you're spiking your blood sugar levels. sure, they're not going super high if you're eating a balanced meal high in fat and protein. but let's face it—most of us are snacking on a latte and a banana (sugar + sugar) or crackers (sugar) or even an apple with almond butter (sugar + fat), which is causing our blood sugar levels to spike much higher. 

a great study from syracuse university shows that people who eat three larger meals every day as opposed to those who graze all day long have more even and controlled blood glucose levels.  stable blood sugar levels mean better fat burning, more satiety after meals, and it's easier to maintain a healthy weight. 

i know. you've been living a lie! 

it's chill, i was too. switching over to three meals a day isn't as hard as it might seem. and when you eat 3 high-quality meals throughout the day, you can kiss that 1,200 calorie limit goodbye. no more calculations, just listening to what your body craves and eating that. it's surprising, but it works to keep weight off and to feel amazing. 

try one day of eating 3 meals a day (I know, it sounds so obvious, but trust me it really works!) and see how you feel. need inspiration? i'll send you 3 recipes for what i recommend my nutrition clients eat in a day.