When 3 Meals a Day Isn't Enough

I feel like I grew up in one of the last generations where eating 3 meals a day was the rule of thumb. In fact, we were discouraged from eating outside of those designated meal times because that is where most thought weight gain stemmed from. It was considered overeating. So we had to put down the fork and wait until the next meal, which may have been 5 or 6 hours away!

It should be obvious that this method encouraged weight gain, but we followed this idea for years! We'd eat one meal, starve ourselves for several hours, then serve large portions of a meal to satisfy our hunger pains. In reality, most of us could have been overeating on the 3 meals a day plan.

Today, we are taught to have a meal every 3 hours, giving us 5-6 opportunities to eat a day. If you don't already do this, it may be a great time to start. Especially if you are looking to lose a few pounds.

For those of you who don't understand the 5-6 meal a day plan for weight loss, here's what you need to know! Though it may seem as though adding meals will increase fat in the body, eating consistently through out the day gives you the energy needed to perform every day physical activities. Eating less frequently can actually trick your body into thinking it is going through a famine. When the body is fed larger amount of foods in less frequent intervals, it will end up storing the food as fat in preparation for a period of starvation. It is almost like hibernation!

This will also reduce your energy levels. That means that you will be more likely to skip workouts from feeling sluggish. If you do manage to exercise, your energy output will be much lower. Your performance will suffer and you will want to give up or skip future workouts. Who would want to workout if they feel like crap anyway?

So, how do you convert to eating 5 to 6 meals a day? Take your daily caloric requirements and divide them by 5 or 6 (depending on how many meals you want). Make the meals which occur prior to physical activity have more calories than those that will be followed by sitting or sleeping. This simple change will rev up your metabolism and start using your food as energy rather than storing it as fat.

I speak from my experience. When I decided to move to a 6 meals a day plan, I was a bit skeptical. I was worried that I would gain so much weight and that I would have a hard time trying to go back to 3 meals. However, I have never looked back. Since moving to 6 meals a few years back, I feel like I have had the most control on my weight. It has been consistent, within about 5-7 pounds depending on my training.

Besides, who wouldn't want to eat more often!?

How many meals do you eat a day?

From your own experience, do you think that eating smaller meals through out the day have been more or less beneficial to your weight?


  1. Love this. I used to do this but somehow reverted. I was sooo much happier doing 5meals....i didnt binge eat cuz i never felt suoer hungry...ever! Starting this tomorrow!!!

    1. Good for you! I agree! You are less likely to overeat if you are satisfied all day!


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