How Many Times to Eat Per Day for Weight Loss
When you decide that it’s time to get in better shape, one of the first things you’ll naturally do is head online and start looking up meal plans. Saying that the results brought forth by a simple Google search of “healthy diet plans” are conflicting is an understatement.
Some will recommend juice cleanses and water fasts before starting your new diet, while others will suggest you cut out all snacks and stick to three solid meals a day. Others still will recommend forgoing any sacrifices and instead eating more meals throughout the day, just smaller and healthier so you’re never hungry. Which way is the right way? How can you follow a diet plan that will keep you feeling satiated and satisfied while still allowing you to lose weight?
What is a Diet?
First, let’s look at what a diet is. Diet, by definition is not simply a meal plan one follows until they reach a desired weight. A diet is “the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats.” (Merriam Webster’s Dictionary). What does this mean in relation to you reaching your fitness goal? It means that you shouldn’t just follow a meal plan for a set period of time. You shouldn’t go on a diet, but rather change your existing one.
The opinion on whether three meals or five to six meals a day is widely debated, but it’s been demonstrated by research that the amount of meals consumed per day doesn’t have as large of a metabolic effect on our bodies as the content of those meals.
You can either eat three larger meals and burn those calories off toward the end of the day, or you can simply consume more frequent meals of a lesser caloric content and still exercise. One thing that’s agreed upon by every nutritionist is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Whether you plan to eat five meals, snack healthily or stick to three, breakfast is essential as it boosts your metabolism. Studies have shown that people who skip the first meal of the day often wind up consuming more calories by the time the day is over.
Assess Your Current Situation
The first thing you need to do when you decide you want to lose weight is assess what you eat now. The recommended caloric intake for an adult male and female is 2500 and 1200 respectively, though there are many contributory factors that you can review here.
Once you’ve calculated how much you’ve been consuming and how much you should be consuming, you can begin to look at your actual diet. Do you eat a lot of processed foods? Fast food? Meals packed with fats, sugars and sodium? If so, start swapping out your unhealthy dishes for ones that are lean and packed with nutrients instead of empty calories.
You can still eat meat, but instead of having your serving of beef come in the form of a processed and fatty patty, make it a healthy, homemade burger like the ones featured on BBC Good Food with fries swapped for sweet potato wedges.
Familiarize yourself with the human body’s daily nutritional needs and begin to look up meal plans that seek to fulfill those, combining your new diet with frequent exercise. Not only will you be able to lose weight, but you’ll also find it easier to keep the weight off in the future since you won’t be having to readjust your eating habits repeatedly to maintain your figure.