How many times a day we should be EATING in order to lose weight

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There’s a lot of confusion around how often we should be eating in order to lose weight. 

Many people skip meals in the hope it will give them a flat tummy,  but starving yourself will actually lead to weight gain!

Really, it’s all down to quality (what we put into our mouths) as opposed to quantity. And regular meals and snacks will help kick start your metabolism and keep you full for longer.

So how many times should we be eating?

How many times a day we should be EATING in order to lose weight

How many times we should be eating a day

On the Healthy Mummy plans we don’t generally advocate strict calorie counting as it can be stressful and exhausting to monitor everything you eat and then obsess about the calorie content of everything you eat.

Instead our focus is on healthy foods that are nutrient dense – which in turn keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Firstly, many diet plans tell you to eat less than 1,200 and people can get hung up on this number.

If you are trying to lose weight, it is important to work out your BMR to see how many calories your own body needs and then work out your body’s daily energy requirements; you can work out both on our online calculators here.

Calories, meals and snacks

How many times a day we should be EATING in order to lose weight

The 1,200 calorie a day number is VERY broad and is a very low number. And as everyone has a different BMR and energy needs, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ calorie or kilojoule allowance to follow.

We suggest our mums eat three meals a day as well as snacks in between – making sure they don’t skip breakfast! If you a time-poor mum and need to get out of the door quickly for the school run, then try drinking our Healthy Mummy Smoothies, which are easy to make and you can take them with you!

What to include in your meals and snacks

The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest that women from 19-50 years of age consume:

Vegetables: 5 serves

Fruit: 2 serves

Grains: 6 serves

Lean meats or protein alternatives: 2 ½ serves

Dairy and its alternatives: 2 ½ serves

What studies have found

How many times a day we should be EATING in order to lose weight

According to a study by Harvard Medical School, eating more than three times a day helps you lose weight.

Researchers conducted a six-month trial looking at 51 participants and the effect of eating frequencies on hunger, energy intake and weight loss.

Those who ate three meals a day tended to be more hungry compared to those who ate around 100 calories every two to three hours, eating roughly six times a day.

However, the study notes that overall, eating fewer calories helps you lose weight but when you eat or how often you eat does not affect your weight loss.

What to eat if you are breastfeeding and trying to lose weight

How many times a day we should be EATING in order to lose weight

The key to a healthy breastfeeding meal plan is to increase your calorie allowance by approximately 500 calories to give your body the extra calories it needs to produce milk.

You can increase your calories by having an extra 2-3 healthy snacks per day or you can increase the portion size of your meals.

Breastfeeding burns up a lot of energy (calories/kilojoules) to make breast milk, particularly for mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding. These mothers should include 2-3 extra snacks per day (approximately 500 calories).

If you are unsure of how many calories you need in breastfeeding you can work your daily energy needs out here – then you add 500 calories on for breastfeeding. But remember, nothing is set in stone, and if you are hungry eat more or if you are full eat less.

The Healthy Mummy 28 Day Challenge app

Each month our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge gives you a meal plan, exercise routine and tips and advice to help you be the best version of yourself.

Do you find yourself victim to emotional eating? Take the stress out of putting so much emphasis on food and diet and try our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge which has been described by 100,000’s of mums as a lifestyle change!

With a weekly meal plan consisting of 3 main meals and 3 snacks – The Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge can help you stick to a healthy food plan and hit your weight goals.

You can find out more or join the 28 Day Challenge HERE.

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