6 Reasons to Not Eat 6 Small Meals a Day to Lose Weight
There is much controversy regarding ways to lose weight. I think the experts can agree on needing to restrict calories by no more than 500 calories from calories you need to survive and doing cardio and strength training exercise to lose weight. That seems to about all they agree on, which is causes confusion and frustration. The reality is that by lowering calories and moving more, you will lose weight.
- Eating 6 meals a day still adds up to the same caloric deficit you’d have if eating three meals and a snack.
- It is unclear if metabolism actually speeds up by eating more frequently. More research is needed.
- You will be training yourself to be hungry every 3-4 hours. Are you going to want to eat like that once you have met your weight loss goal? Our bodies haven’t evolved much from cave man days. That is the reason our bodies are so efficient at putting us quickly into starvation mode when calories get too low, halting weight loss. Do you think we could never be in a feast or famine situation (think about all of the natural disasters, war etc.). There are good reasons to go longer periods without food. Move more to keep your metabolism going. Every body is different. If people like eating that way, and they feel good, then by all means do it. You have to choose a plan that will work for you. It often requires experimenting.
- Eating every 3-4 hours causes obsession with food, something people with weight issues already struggle with. It is not healthy, and distracts people from dealing with important emotional issues and can disrupt relationships. People who have struggled with their weight would better benefit from becoming more neutral toward food. I’m generally not supportive of fasting, but a one day fast, if physician approved, can help one detach from food. People use food as a drug, to distract themselves from intense feelings, boredom, loneliness etc. Eating 6 meals a day only reinforces that.
- It simply is not practical to eat that often. It requires extensive food preparation and planning. Many people are too busy to be able to do so realistically. If someone eats processed food, it might be easier to eat all day long, but I recommend avoiding processed food as much as possible. Natural foods take longer to eat (ex: a salad vs. a frozen meal, an apple vs. a protein bar). You probably need to carry a cooler around with you. One more thing to lug around causing issues with your spine.
- Advocates of this plan state that it keeps people from starving. Yet they are training themselves to be hungry every few hours, and if life gets in the way, they’ll starve for sure. Eating the right foods and not restricting calories too low will prevent people from feeling deprived while losing weight.
I am a licensed clinical psychologist and weight liberator. I help my clients with meal and fitness planning, and learning ways to relax, as stress increases emotional eating. More importantly, I help people overcome their emotional issues with food. I also help people sustain their maintenance plan, AKA, new lifestyle. It is not only the food you eat, but how you think and feel about it that dictates how much you weigh. If you live in the Tampa Bay area, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to liberate yourself from food and body image issues.