I’ve heard that eating five or six meals a day will help me lose weight, but this seems like a lot of food. I ate five meals for two days and got on the scale and my weight went up. What did I do wrong?

— Cindy G., Newbury Park

One of the most popular misconceptions when it comes to weight loss is that to reduce your waistline you must eat less. The belief that you have to adhere to the traditional “three square meal” philosophy in order to lose weight couldn’t be further from the truth.

The reasoning behind why frequent eating encourages weight loss is supported by a variety of metabolic explanations. For one, small, frequent meals tend to stabilize both blood sugar and insulin levels throughout the day. When blood sugar levels spike, fat storage is strongly promoted because blood sugar must be kept under very tight control by the body. When your glycogen reserves (carbohydrates stored in your muscle cells and liver) are full, the carbohydrates you eat are likely to be stored as fat. These spikes can also cause an overproduction of insulin, usually leading to a rebound hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) effect a few hours after your meal. When this happens, your energy levels drop and you are more likely to experience hunger and crave sugar.

To the contrary, keeping your blood sugar levels moderate and consistent balances your energy levels, keeps insulin levels more constant and helps keep your metabolism humming. When you eat five to six nutritiously balanced meals and snacks a day, the food is more efficiently absorbed and processed by your body as opposed to the “three traditional meals” most of us eat each day. The fact is this: Our metabolism is elevated during digestion, absorption and assimilation of food (energy).

Remember, the goal is to create a metabolic environment that supports healthy weight loss, which equates to the maintenance and building of lean muscle tissue.

Best Health and Fitness Club

Two or three weeks ago you said you would conduct a non-bias survey on which health and fitness club is best in Ventura County. What was the outcome of your survey?

— Mindy T., Ventura

I have not yet posted the results of the survey. However, I can share with you that, as of this week, I have received close to 100 e-mails from people residing in the “805” and “818” area codes.

My goal is not to share the negatives of the health and fitness clubs, but point out what we as residents want from health and fitness clubs. Hopefully, the owners and managers of these facilities will be reading this column and make changes in their facilities so we can maximize our desire to be fit and improve our overall health.

Next week, I will share my findings on the pros and cons of health and fitness clubs. Nonetheless, if you want to share your likes and dislikes of your health and fitness club, send me an e-mail and be sure to mention the name and location of the facility you are speaking about.