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Have you ever wondered what is the easiest way to lose weight (and more importantly, body fat)? I know I have. Today, the United States has the highest incidence of obesity, and the problem is only getting worse. The problem is that we are obese because we are constantly trying to find the easiest way to lose weight. It is an endless battle. We develop this without fat and without sugar that, but still without weight loss.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there is an easy way to lose body fat, and it is not what you think. You see, the common sense of most people would tell you that to lose body fat you need to eat less food. I am here to tell you that this is not always the case. Many times, the best way to burn excess body fat is by eating more, or at least more often. That is why I call this the Hobbit Diet Plan.

You see, Hobbits, from the “Lord of the Rings” book and movie series, tend to eat a lot of meals throughout the day instead of just 2 or 3 like most Americans do. If you’ve seen the first movie in the series, you will remember a scene where the Hobbits stop to eat and are scolded for doing so. Their guide tells them that they have already had breakfast, to which a Hobbit quickly responds, “Yeah, but what about the ‘second’ breakfast”? He then goes on to ask about other foods that Hobbits have become so used to eating. All things considered, I think the total of meals adds up to 6. That’s right, 6 meals a day.

Now, 6 meals a day may seem absurd, but the Hobbits have it clear. By eating more meals spread throughout the day, you are actually helping your body keep your metabolism as high as possible. Which in turn means that your body will naturally burn more calories, even while sitting on the couch.

By eating less frequently, you are almost guaranteed that your body will go into “starvation” mode and hold on to every drop of body fat it can to survive. This, unfortunately, is a genetic trait passed down from our ancestors thousands of years ago, when food was scarce. When you give your body fewer calories, or go long periods without eating, your body automatically fears the worst and assumes that you will not eat again anytime soon. So what does your wonderful body do? You start burning fewer calories to conserve what you currently have in storage. Your body also begins to break down its own muscles for fuel instead of using body fat. Your body thinks this is the perfect solution. It’s getting rid of energy-consuming muscle and saving your fat stores for later when you really need it.

Well, we all know that you really aren’t going to starve. So what happens when you finally eat? Your body is still afraid another starvation is coming, so you pack all those calories as fat for the next time you have to do without them. And get fat. Vicious circle.

So how do we break the cycle? Eat like the Hobbits. Eat more often every day. Preferably 5 to 6 meals evenly spaced throughout waking hours, approximately every 3 to 4 hours. I know, you’re thinking “Good God, does this guy want me to eat every 3-4 hours?” That’s how it is! You see, by eating more often, you are signaling to your body that you are well nourished and that there are no signs of shortages in the future, so it’s okay to go ahead and burn off all that extra energy stored in the form of fat.

However, there are some important things to remember. Although we are going to eat 5 to 6 meals a day, we must be aware of the calories we eat. You should not eat 5 to 6 meals consisting of quarters and French fries, or Big Macs and chocolate shakes. Your body still only needs a certain amount of calories to function efficiently. If you want to burn fat, you need to make sure you are slightly below that level.

“Ah ha!” You say, “You cheated on us.” No, not really. I think you would be surprised how many calories your body needs to function efficiently. In fact, it is very common for many people to not consume enough calories and, in turn, send their bodies into starvation mode.

So how many calories does your body really need? Well that’s a good question and the correct answer depends on your body composition. Now that’s some pretty heavy math for now, but here are some averages.

For women, the average number of calories needed to maintain body weight is 2,000 to 2,100 calories per day. Which means that to lose weight (preferably body fat), you need to eat between 1,400 and 1,800 calories per day.

For men, the average number of calories needed to maintain body weight is 2,700 to 2,900 calories per day. Which means, to lose weight (again, preferably body fat), you need to eat 2,200 to 2,700 calories.

That’s a pretty substantial amount of calories. This is by no means a starvation diet. A little math will show you that a man who tries to maintain 2,500 calories a day and eats 5 times a day is allowed 500 calories per meal. If you choose the right foods, 500 calories is a lot of food. For example, you could eat 4 ounces of grilled chicken, a 6-ounce baked potato, a cup of broccoli, and a large mixed green salad (2 cups) with light Italian dressing, and still have about 450 calories. That’s a lot of food!

So if you want to burn some fat and be able to eat right while doing it, I recommend eating like the Hobbits. Try to eat 5 to 6 balanced meals a day about every 3 to 4 hours. I think the results will surprise you.

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