In this post, I am going to explain caloric deficit. And I want to answer the age-old question: “Do you have to eat every 3 hours to lose weight?” If I had a dime for every time I got asked that question… well here are the answers you’ve been waiting for!
Explaining Caloric Deficit
If there’s one thing you know about me if you follow me on social media or read my blogs, it’s that I don’t do fad diets. I don’t do the juice diet, or the cabbage soup diet, or the ice diet (ok ok there’s no such thing as the ice diet but you get my point!) What’s more, I don’t advocate any quick tricks to losing weight, or hard and fast rules, with the exception of one rule.
And that rule is: Caloric Deficit. You need to take in less calories than you are burning throughout the day. Easy, and simple.
Now, in this blog I’d like to address one of these weight loss “tricks” that is not necessarily true. This would be the fact that most people who are about to start a diet are always talking about how it is important to eat every three hours for weight loss…supposedly to ‘’speed up’’ their metabolism. That’s just not the case. The MAIN thing that needs to be accomplished in order for weight loss to occur, is that a caloric deficit needs to exist.
Here’s what I mean.
The idea that to lose weight you need to eat every few hours comes from data from one study, yes, just ONE study!
And if you know anything about science, you know that multiple studies with the same results are needed to have more reliability. This meta-analysis explored the data on eating frequently, and the authors found that “the positive findings were the product of a single study, casting doubt as to whether more frequent meals confer beneficial effects on body composition.” They also state, “the small difference in magnitude of effect between frequencies suggests that any potential benefits, if they exist at all, have limited practical significance.”
The thing is, people are quick to jump on the results of a new study on weight loss. I mean, we all want all the tricks we can get to become, and stay, thin, fit, whatever…right? But it’s important to study all the data available to get the real picture! Or else you are setting yourself up to fail with all of these dieting “rules”! You “must” eat 3 big meals….and have 3 snacks…and stay away from even looking at carbs….no, wait, is it fat you should stay away from? And one of your snacks must be a kale smoothie….and and and. It’s no wonder so many women just give up on trying to stay on track altogether with all those bogus rules!
So if frequent eating has not conclusively been proven to help weight loss, what should you do? Focus on a gradual but steady reduction of calories, until you are eating less per day than you are burning. And focus on a set number of meals if you want to help weight loss along.
According the study meal consistency – meaning having the same number of meals on a consistent basis, is much more important for body composition than meal frequency. If we want to look at the itsy bitsy details past the calories in vs calories out thing, eating every few hours isn’t what we should be focusing on. So, ultimately pick a number of meals that suits your lifestyle and daily caloric needs and stick to it. Why? Because a diet that works for YOU is one you are most likely to stick with! I promise it’s as simple as that!
No Quick Fix
We’re always on the search for that miracle cure or quick fix, but ladies I’m here to tell you that doesn’t happen. And yes some diets let you lose weight crazy fast, but that’s not a sustainable plan and you will almost always gain that weight back(and more). I can’t tell you the best way to lose weight because that is an individual choice. As long as you are watching your calorie intake, you can eat 3 meals a day, 5 meals, or hey even 7 meals a day. Whatever works for YOU and most importantly whatever is most sustainable for YOU!!
If you’re sick of following the fads, and exhausted trying to keep up with nonsustainable workouts— check out my Mother Strong League!
Help other mamas learn what a caloric deficit is… and how it’s the healthiest and safest way to lose weight! Simply share this post to Pinterest and follow me @nathaliamelofit for more!