Common 6 meal a day menu above, yeah? Trust me, for a while I bought into it to. Totally believing that in order to “boost my metabolism” I had to eat 6 meals a day with a few hours in between to drop weight and get lean!
“I have to eat this meal now or I’m going to lose muscle!”
“I have to get enough protein now or my body is going to go into starvation mode!”
After doing tons of digging and prodding, I found tons of studies and research specifically targeting meal frequency, timing and volume.
The results? There is absolutely nothing proving any sort of significant benefits whatsoever as far as “speeding up your metabolism” or any similar voodoo goes.
It comes down to this: as long as we target our total caloric intake for the day it doesn’t matter if you consume all your calories in one sitting or if you space them out throughout the day. I know plenty of people that rarely eat breakfast, have a light lunch and wrap their day with a significant sized dinner.
Again, it doesn’t matter if we ate 5-6 small meals or 2 huge meals, it all comes down to total input. Therefore, if we’re over consuming and under expending then forget it, the fat will pack on. But as long as we’re eating the right amount for the day at any given time, we’re perfectly fine eating at any time we want.
Meal frequency doesn’t automatically speed up our metabolism and a large meal doesn’t slow it down. Will the smaller meals throughout the day help regulate our blood sugar levels? Sure, they might, depending on what works best for us. Some of us can go all day without eating and be completely fine while others of us have to eat throughout the day to function. Again, we’re all created differently and it’s all a matter of what works best for us.
So, how many calories do we need a day?
Since the majority of my clientele is female, I will talk numbers for the ladies in the house. If we’re to keep it super simple and not get uber complicated, here’s what I suggest.
Take your current weight x 14=total calories for the day
(Example: I weigh 135 pounds. So I take 135 x 14 = 1,890 calories for the day)
For my ladies looking to drop a few pounds, I suggest taking their current weight and multiply that number by 12. So it would look like this:
135 pounds x 12 = 1,620 total calories for the day
If you have absolutely NO clue how many calories you’re eating in a day, I suggest starting with a calorie counter such as My Fitness Pal or one of those apps to help hold you accountable. It’s easy for us to under estimate the amount of food we eat and over estimate the amount of calories we’re burning. :).
Here’s a tip:
If you’re on a cardio machine and you’re not wearing a heart rate monitor, please do NOT rely on the total number of calories expended on those things! They are grossly over-estimated since the machines take the “average” and base the numbers off that. I will tell my clients to take the total number and divide it in half. I know, defeat moment but at least it’s more accurate right?
As you can see on my INSTAGRAM post, the treadmill showed I burned 252 calories and I only burned 141 calories (underneath my HR of 119). So see the difference? If you want more of an accurate read on your calories burned, I suggest just buying something simple like the POLAR RS400. It’s quick to install, shows all the basics and an overall terrific watch. I’ve had many of my clients use it and they all seemed to enjoy it.
SO, let’s recap shall we? The most important take away from this blog post is do what feels right for you! We’re all different and require different needs. Remember that as long as you meet the demands of your daily caloric needs you can eat those calories whenever you want. Eating 6 small meals a day is not going to drastically drive up your metabolic rate. Plus, if you’re eating SMALL meals, you’ll constantly be thinking, when can I eat again? Those meals mainly consist of 200-350 calories a pop. I can promise you’ll be looking for the next meal around the corner.
It’s all about doing what works for you long term and something you can stick with consistently. We can try new diets and workout programs all we want but if we can’t stick to it, why even bother? It has to be sustainable, unrestrictive, time effective and right for us!
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