Day 3. The 4-4-12 Method
Why Following the 4-4-12 Method is Scientifically Proven to Help You Burn Fat and Lose Weight
Feeling hungry? Time to reach for a snack... or is it?
Popular diet fads preach that eating 5-6 times a day is healthy for you. A growing body of research shows that the opposite strategy is actually a more efficient way to regulate your body’s response to insulin, eat fewer calories, burn fat, and lose weight.
During your GetFit21 Challenge, we strongly encourage you to eat three full meals a day at regular intervals. We call this the 4-4-12 method. By waiting 4 to 6 hours between breakfast and lunch, 4 to 6 hours between lunch and dinner, and 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, you will maximize your body’s fat-burning capabilities and reach your weight-loss goals more quickly.
Why the 4-4-12 Matters
When you eat at regular intervals using the 4-4-12 method, you...
• Reduce the amount of insulin in your body
• Allow your body to burn more fat
• Eat fewer calories
• Enjoy filling, healthy meals
• Lose more weight
When you snack frequently instead of following the 4-4-12 method, you...
• Increase the amount of insulin in your body
• Burn less fat
• Eat more unhealthy carbohydrates
• Eat more calories
• Lose less weight
The Science Behind the 4-4-12 Method
Science is taking a closer look at how frequently you should eat if you want to lose weight and burn fat. According to a 2010 study published by School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, eating smaller, more frequent meals isn’t correlated with a higher amount of weight loss.1
One reason for this may be the case has to do with the way your body burns energy. When you constantly snack between meals, your body stays busy burning the energy you’re consuming. But when you give yourself space between meals, you create a fat burning window.
When you eat, your body converts food into glucose. The more sugary the food, the faster and higher your glucose level rises. Your pancreas senses the sudden spike in glucose and responds by pumping insulin into the bloodstream, creating an insulin spike to correspond to the fast-rising glucose. Once insulin arrives, the glucose level in your bloodstream goes back down quickly. It takes much longer for insulin to leave your body. If you snack often, insulin never has a chance to leave. As long as there is insulin still in your bloodstream, you cannot burn fat or enter what we call the Fat-Burning Zone.
By spacing out your meals (4-4-12), you give insulin time to leave your body. When your body needs more energy and you don’t have any food handy, it turns to your fat cells and the free fatty acids stored inside them. Therefore you start using your stored fat as energy, reducing fat and inches.
Want to get even more out of the 4-4-12 method? Add Unicity Balance to the mix. Listed in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR), Balance is a science-based, clinically proven product that promotes healthy blood glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. By doing so, it helps you enter the Fat-Burning Zone more quickly.
Make it Happen
The 4-4-12 method and Unicity Balance will transform your body into a fat-burn- ing machine. They will set you up for success by allowing your body to burn fat between meals.
Of course, the only way to get the benefits of this method is to commit to doing it. So are you ready to give it a try?
Make a Change: Commit to following the 4-4-12 method every day. Take Unicity Balance 10 – 15 minutes before your two main meals to reduce your body’s glycemic response to food. Cut between-meal snacks back to two per week.
Challenge Yourself: Commit to following the 4-4-12 method every day. Use Unicity Complete high protein meal replacement for breakfast. Take Unicity Balance 10-15 minutes before lunch and dinner to reduce your body’s glycemic response to food. Make sure those meals consist of foods from the Foods to Enjoy section of the GetFit21 Nutrition Guide. Cut out between-meal snacks altogether.
1. Cameron, Jameason D., Marie-Josée Cyr, and Éric Doucet. “Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet.” Brit- ish Journal of Nutrition (2009): 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985
Your Next Steps
1. Live the 4-4-12: Eat three meals a day, waiting 4 to 6 hours between meals. For example: Drink Unicity Complete for breakfast at 8am, eat lunch at 12:30, and dinner at 6pm. Every time you eat, make it a healthy, well-rounded meal that includes a protein, a portion of vegetables or salad, and a complex grain or a piece of fruit from the GetFit21 Nutrition Guide’s Foods to Enjoy list. Avoid snacking between meals.
2. Know What Hunger is... and isn’t: If you’re following the 4-4-12, hunger is a good sign. If you start to feel hungry and it’s not time to eat yet, that’s GOOD NEWS! It means your body is burning stored fat. If you feel hungry, wait it out. Drink a large glass of water and dis- tract yourself with something non-food related. Before you know it, it will be time to eat, and you’ll have burned fat while you waited.
3. Use Unicity Balance: When used consistently and correctly, Balance provides several benefits to help you reach your goals and is the perfect supplement to the 4-4-12 method. Take one packet of Balance 10-15 minutes before each meal for optimal results.
4. Eat Protein First: Emerging research is finding that the order in which you eat your food can have a significant impact on how much insulin is released into your bloodstream. Your body uses less insulin when you eat protein as the first part of your meal. Choose to eat protein first, then complex carbohydrates, and finally any simple carbs you choose to eat. Eating in this order will help you get back into your Fat-Burning Zone much more quickly.2
5. Never Miss a Meal: You do want to wait between meals. You DON’T want to skip meals. Skipping meals altogether leaves you tired, keeps you from getting the nutrition you need, and works against your weight loss and fat loss goals. When you skip a meal, your body goes into survival mode. You’ll feel ravenous at your next meal and will be far more likely to eat more calories than you would otherwise. Waiting 4-6 hours between meals is beneficial. Wait longer than that (besides overnight) and you’ll quickly undo your progress.
Think Long Term
The 4-4-12 method isn’t just an effective strategy for your GetFit21 Challenge, it’s a life- style. It’s easy to keep living over the long term. Try these tips to make it a part of your lifestyle.
• Think about what you’re eating. Make sure you’re choosing foods from the Foods to Enjoy list in the GetFit21 Nutrition Guide. Notice if certain foods help you stay full until it’s time to eat again. Notice if others are likely to leave you starving within an hour or two. Use this information to create healthy, filling meals.
• Continue to take Unicity Balance before your two largest meals to help your body stay balanced, curb appetite between meals, and help you feel fuller longer.
• Eat a high-protein breakfast. If you skip breakfast you’ll have gone too long without eating. This will make you more likely to snack during the morning, or to overeat at lunch. Enjoy a high protein breakfast like Unicity Complete, the perfect meal replacement to start your day out right.
• Move past mistakes. No matter how good your intentions, there will likely come a time when you eat before your 4 hours have passed. That’s okay. Don’t let it throw off the rest of your day and get right back on track.
Put your self discipline to the test, resist the temptation to snack, and witness the difference this healthy habit makes in your fitness journey.
2. Iliescu, R., Shukla, A., & Thomas C. (2015). Food Order Has a Significant Impact on Postprandial Glu- cose and Insulin Levels. Diabetes Care, 38(7), 98-99. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc15-0429t