There are numerous opinions regarding how many meals to eat a day and when to eat them. Some experts suggest six small meals a day verses the traditional three larger meals a day. Other experts claim the only large meal should be breakfast, with small snacks throughout the day. It is easy to become overwhelmed with information and question your way of dieting, but it does not have to be this way. Accept that your body and your story are different from anyone else’s, and then create a diet plan that works for you and only you.
The problem with all the various meal methods are that everyone is different. Everyone’s body burns energy different, and everyone’s daily schedule is different. It is not as black and white as eating a specific number of meals each day.
Aside from how many meals you are eating, there are many other factors that play into whether or not you see body image changes and weight loss results.
How much you eat
The key in any meal eating method is to moderate what you are eating and how much you are eating. If you are a person with a hectic, busy schedule, maybe six small meals a day is easier for you. This would allow you to eat throughout the day without having to stop mid-day for a designated lunch break. If you are a three meals a day person, then your meals will be larger proportioned, therefore your snacks should be carefully chosen and moderated.
What you are eating
More important than how many meals or snacks you are eating, is what you are eating. If you are consuming mainly starches and sugars, you will find yourself hungry more often which will lead to overeating. Vegetables, fruits, and proteins will help you feel full without maxing out your daily suggested calorie count.
Fuel for Workouts
If you workout during the day, take that into consideration when meal prepping. Pre and post workout snacks are essential for your body to effectively build muscle and burn fat. Do not starve your body of the nutrients it needs if you are working out while changing your eating habits. If you feel light headed, queasy, or tired during and after a workout, it is probably because you are lacking nutrients. Snacks with protein and carbohydrates, like peanut butter toast and chocolate milk, are excellent pre and post workout snacks.
Another important factor is occasional self-indulgence. Don’t deny yourself everything you love because that will only lead to binge eating. There is nothing wrong with having a few cookies or a mocha, as long as they are sporadic. The majority of your daily diet should be fresh, healthy foods, with a few treats scattered throughout. And after a while, once your body has adjusted to the changes, you will begin to notice that you do not crave those unhealthy snacks as often.
If you are caught in the middle and not sure which method is right for you, think back over the past few weeks. What have you eaten for breakfast and lunch? Do you often eat late night snacks? How many meals were homemade? How many meals were eaten at a restaurant? By answering those few questions, you will have a better idea of which habits you should modify and the most efficient meal prepping method for you.
Dieting and weight loss is as simple as remembering to burn more calories than you consume. And the foods you are consuming should be mainly fresh and natural, as opposed to processed food products. Moreover, there is no right or wrong way to determine how many meals a day is best for you. It is dependent on your lifestyle and your schedule. Take a few days, or a week at a time, and test out different methods. Find a process that fits into your everyday life, and makes you feel good. Because that is byproduct of a healthy lifestyle.