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The Truth About Meal Frequency

No matter how many times a day you eat, if you quantify your calories correctly, you will be on track to achieve your goals.

Written By

Courtney Cornwall, Outrun Gravity


Whether your goal is to gain, lose, or maintain your weight, there is a common debate about how impactful meal size and frequency can be.

Everyone has a different body type that may react differently to your eating habits, but if you’re wondering which way you should schedule your meals for optimal results, consider what is most important: the physiology of calories and weight maintenance, and how to make eating compatible with your schedule.

Learn How Weight Loss Actually Works

We all know that a balanced diet consists of a variety of nutrients the body can break down to use for structures and functions throughout the body. Although vitamins and minerals are required for the body to function, macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, and protein, are the only food types that influence our weight. Macronutrients are essential in the diet because these are the molecules our body utilizes to form energy.

The unit we use to measure macronutrients is called calories – sound familiar? No matter what expert you talk to, it is a known fact that weight gain, loss, or maintenance is solely due to how many calories you ingest compared to how many calories you burn – it’s that simple.

  • To gain weight, you must ingest more calories than you burn off.
  • To lose weight, you must burn off more calories than you ingest.
  • To maintain your weight, you must eat the same number of calories as you burn off.

It doesn’t matter if eat three large meals or five small meals in a day: your weight loss, gain, or maintenance is all dependent on how many calories you eat compared to how many calories you burn off during exercise. No matter how many times a day you eat, if you quantify your calories correctly, you will be on track to achieve your goals.

Prioritize Your Schedule First

When establishing healthy eating habits, it is essential to find strategies that are compatible with your lifestyle so the routine can stick. For most of us, our work schedule is the deciding factor of when and how frequently we can eat.

If you work an office job, you may have the flexibility to have five smaller meals by keeping snacks at your desk while you work, such as fruit, nuts, or a smoothie.

If you work in the service industry, on the other hand, you likely are running around during your whole shift and don’t have time to pause for meals. In this case, it would be beneficial to get your calories in three larger meals, ensuring you have planned around your work schedule, so you ingest adequate calories throughout the day.

The truth about meal frequency is that it is far less important than expected. Eating three or five meals in a day won’t directly impact your weight but the energy balance between the calories you eat and the calories you burn, will. If you want to learn more about the impact of nutrition on your overall health and wellness, check out Outrun Gravity for more insider tips and tricks.



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