One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘how many meals should I eat per day’.
My answer to that question is simple. However many meals works for you.
There is no one size fits all solution for the amount of meals you should eat. There are benefits to eating 2 meals per day as it allows your foods to digest before adding more food into your body and there are benefits to having 6 meals per day as it helps prevent hunger and cravings.
There are scientific studies out there which show the benefits to eating each different amount of meals, however, there are also studies out there showing negatives to eating each different amount of meals. If scientific studies all contradict on the amount of meals which you should eat then it proves there is no one size fits all solution to the amount of meals you should eat and instead you should listen to your own body.
I have seen and helped lots of people lose weight eating 2 meals per day, I have seen and helped lots of people lose weight eating 6 meals per day and I have seen and helped lots of people lose weight eating any number in between.
The fact is there is no single amount of meals everyone on this planet should eat, we are all different. Not only that we all have different lifestyles as well.
Some people lead very busy lifestyles and only have the time to eat 2 meals per day whereas some people have more time to cook and prepare 6 meals per day.
Whether you eat 2 meals per day, 6 meals per day or anything in between it is important that it fits in with your lifestyle and works for you.
You need test on yourself to find the amount of meals which helps you to lose weight and that you can stick to. You need to find the amount which reduces your hunger and cravings, improves your energy and helps you lose weight whilst at the same time fits into your lifestyle.
If 6 meals per day works best for you but you don’t have the time to cook 6 healthy meals per day then find an amount that works but fits in with your lifestyle. You may not lose weight as fast not sticking to the optimal amount of meals you know works best for you, but that doesn’t mean eating a different amount of meals won’t work and help you reach your goal. It might take a little longer but it will still help you get there.
In order to stick to eating healthy long term you need to get the balance right between what is optimal to help you lose weight and what fits in with your lifestyle. If you try and stick to the amount optimal for you but it doesn’t fit into your lifestyle eventually you will give up as willpower only lasts so long. You can do this for a few week or a few months but it is not a long term solution. Finding the balance between what is optimal and what fits into your lifestyle is essential to long term results.
To make your diet work you might even have to change the amount of meals you eat on a daily basis to fit in with your lifestyle and to help you see results.
For example when I am personal training and at the gym all day I am happy with eating 2 or 3 meals per day, however, when I am sat at home doing work on my lap top I get really bad cravings. To stop me from giving into my cravings and eating a bar of chocolate I need to eat more regularly and eat 5 or 6 meals per day. You might think I would need to eat more food on the days I am more active to give me energy, however, I do better eating less food on the days I am active and more food on the days I do very little activity.
There really is no right or wrong answer to the amount of meals you eat. Whether you eat 2 meals per day, 6 meals per day or you alternate daily the most important thing is that it works for you and fits in with your lifestyle.
If what you are doing is working then keep doing it, but if it’s not then change it up until you find something that works for you.
What is more important than the number of meals you eat is the food you eat. But I will leave that for another blog post.
Just a quick note. If you are looking to lose weight fast sometimes you might have to use your willpower to stick the amount of meals which produces fast results rather than the amount which fits in with your lifestyle. This might mean eating more meals than you would eat in an ideal world to fit into your lifestyle or it might mean eating less meals and using willpower so you don’t give into hunger and cravings. However, once you reach your ideal weight or have kick started your weight loss then you can move back to the amount which produces results but fits in with your lifestyle.
In general and for long term results you are best finding the amount of meals that works for you and fits in with your lifestyle but for fast results you will need to use a bit more willpower and stick to the amount that works best.
Anyway I hope with this blog post I have cleared up the confusion on the amount of meals you should eat and that you will now find the amount that works for you.
Get fit, get healthy get happy
Your Coach For Life