Are 3 Meals a Day Optimal? The Unique Benefits of Eating More Often

This is the final installment of the weight loss series. These posts go over simple, yet valuable strategies that you can include into your busy schedule to help kickstart your weight loss.

In Part 1, How To Lose Weight Naturally Using The Incredible Power Of Food, we discuss 7 weight loss tips that you could begin using right now, no matter how busy you are. 

Part 2, The 3 Best Exercises To Lose Weight Fast [And Build Muscle Too], discusses the best way to use exercise to lose weight as efficiently as possible.

Part 3, A Superior Form Of Cardio For Weight Loss [The 15 Minute Workout] goes over a superior form of cardio that helps to burn fat in much less time than your traditional treadmill jog.

Lastly, Part 4, Walking For Weight Loss [The Most Underrated Way To Lose Weight] explains the most underrated form of exercise that you could do every single day to jumpstart your metabolism.

 
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Today's post goes back to nutrition, to discuss one final dietary hack that you could use to keep your metabolism high.

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Don't forget that weight loss requires a holistic approach

This post will discuss Nutrient Timing

Whenever someone asks for advice on weight loss, the first question to ask is “how many times a day do you eat?” 

More often than not, people mistakenly believe that they should only be eating 2 or 3 times a day.

Even worse, they believe things like skipping dinner, or not eating after 6 pm are key strategies to losing weight.  

 

These are some of the worst things that you could do for your health.

 

(This is different from intermittent fasting, which I will discuss in the next post)

 

 

Today's post is going to cover

  •  The most common misconceptions about weight loss diets
  •  Why eating more can help you shed bodyweight
  •  The optimal number of times you should eat to keep your metabolism high 

 

Common Weight Loss Misconceptions

As discussed in Part 1, we have relied on calorie restriction for far too long.

People often eat only 2 meals a day or skip dinner in an effort to eat less food or decrease their caloric intake.

These approaches are wrong for one major reason.

Your body is an amazing machine. It will do whatever it takes to maintain homeostasis.  

  • If you're cold, your body responds by shivering.
  • If you're hot, your body will sweat.
  • If you're starving yourself (aka caloric restriction), your body will become more efficient. 

 

In other words, your metabolism slows down and consumes less energy to maintain your level of arousal and your body-weight.  This will destroy any chances of weight loss success in your future.

 

Other common weight loss misconceptions include the idea that:

Weight loss supplements work

Consuming low-fat foods is necessary

All calories are created equal

You must spend hours on a treadmill

 

We will touch base on all of these misconceptions in future posts

 
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The Amazing Reason Why Calorie Restriction Doesn't Work

Have you ever wondered why people who restrict calories will initially lose weight while dieting but then stagnate? 

Your body accepts the current caloric restricted state as its new baseline and will strive to prevent further changes.  

In order to make more progress and lose more weight, you will have to consume even fewer calories to force further adaptations from your body.

 

But then, the same pattern will repeat. It's a vicious cycle.

 

But doesn't calorie restriction burn fat?

 

The fat stored in your body is full of energy that is readily available. However, it doesn't cost your body much to store it. 

It's like a savings account. You generally don't dip into your savings account until you've depleted your cash reserves.

Muscles are also full of energy, but unlike fat, they are very expensive. They require a lot of energy just to be maintained. 

 
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It's like owning a luxury boat that requires monthly payments to upkeep. If you start to run low on cash (aka calories), it is wise to sell the boat to get rid of your most expensive liabilities.

This is what your body does.

It will begin to trade muscle for energy; which is a horrible trade. Muscles are your body's secret weapon to health and fat loss.

 

Wait, it gets worse...

 

Once you reintroduce calories (which is inevitable if you're starving yourself), your body will quickly learn how to adapt to the new intake and begin storing the energy as fat.  

 

Think about it. 

 

You are now presenting your body with extra calories in a starved, nutrient deprived, slower metabolic state. 

Have you wondered why so many people on The Biggest Loser have gained most of the weight back (and more) once they finish the program?  

You cannot expect your body to respond appropriately to extreme measures of unsustainable weight loss and then continue to produce results.

 
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How Eating More Can Help You Lose Weight

 

The first step to developing new dietary habits and obtaining better body composition is to consume more meals

 

Yes, more!

 

I did not necessarily say to consume more calories (although this often can happen, as a lot of people eat so little calories).  

Eat at least 4-6 small, well-balanced meals a day.

They should contain as much REAL, high-quality food possible.

If you stay on the less frequent side, you should consume 1-2 snacks throughout the day.  

By consuming nutrient-dense foods at each sitting, you will be fuller longer, and the total calories you consume will not exceed what your body truly requires.

Eating more frequently will also prevent large fluctuations in your blood sugar levels as well as your energy levels.  

Furthermore, the complexity of the macro- and micronutrients will kick-start your body’s metabolism and restore your natural basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your BMR is the number of calories your body consumes just to stay alive, even if you are laying in bed all day.  

 
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Well-balanced meals consist of lean protein, healthy fats, and fewer more complex carbohydrates.  Check out How To Start Eating Clean [Even With An 80 Hour Workweek] to learn more.

Couple small frequent meals with a regular training schedule and your body will begin to consume energy in large quantities.  

The more muscle mass your body has (and I do not mean bulky muscles like the ones you see in bodybuilding magazines), the more energy your body needs to feed those muscles in a resting state.  

Do not be shocked if your total caloric intake actually increases yet you shed inches and body fat.

Also, it is possible to stay at the same body weight, yet your body composition changes so much that you need a new wardrobe altogether!

 

Final Words on Eating More to Increase Metabolism

Do not fall into the trap of starving yourself to lose weight.  There is no easy way out.  Kick-start your metabolism today and paradoxically watch how eating more food will make you look and feel better.

How many times a day do you eat? Do you notice large fluctuations in your energy levels throughout the day? Are you constantly hungry? 

 

In the next post, we will go over the strategies that we use to eat 4-6x a day and maintain a healthy body weight.

 

Post your comments and questions below.  

 

 

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Alex & Brittany Robles are the founders of The White Coat Trainer, a site dedicated to improving the health and wellness of busy individuals. Learn more about them here and connect with them on instagram and Twitter. Feel free to send them a message here