Will Eating Small Meals Help Me Lose Weight?
It’s really hard to know what to believe when it comes to health and fitness. If one study says something doesn’t work, another study is released to refute those findings.
It leaves us on an endless journey searching for the truth. Today’s journey involves asking the question “Does eating small meals throughout the day help boost metabolism and weight loss?”
Well, the answer is yes and no.
*Insert irritated groans here*
Now, before you get all hangry, as always, we are going to bring in a lil’ science and a whole lotta common sense so you get the answer you need to reach your finish line faster.
Scientific Studies on Small Meals and Metabolism
In an 8 week study of 16 men and women, two groups were fed 6 small meals a day versus 3 meals a day, there were no significant differences between the groups in fat loss or appetite suppression. While they reported it doesn’t promote greater body weight loss– that was the only measure of success that many online news sources cited “Small meals didn’t work”. Well, we hope you didn’t rely on that.
Nutrition isn’t black and white. There are so many factors that are part of body composition and success. If you’re truly committed to losing weight and getting healthy, you try EVERYTHING. From diet and exercise to getting blood work done and taking recommended supplements that can help your body get on the right track. Whether its appetite control, inflammation reduction or hormone balancing, unless a study evaluates as many factors as possible, you should not chuck your ducks in that basket.
For instance, what if that study’s short two month fueled your decision? You do know weight is not the only indicator for success, correct? Of course you do, smarty pants.
In a study focusing on glucose response to more small meals per day, 12 humans were fed 3 meals per day versus 14 meals with the same percentage of protein (15%) fat (30%) and carbs (55%). The effect was a reduced effect on the post-consumption glucose and insulin responses. Smaller spikes and more consistent responses allowed the body to more effectively divvy up energy for use, and controlled glucose and insulin leads to weight control. So, in this study, the answer was –technically yes, small meals will boost metabolism and weight loss—eventually.
Small meals can indeed help you control your weight AND get healthier over time.
Small Meal Plan Example
Small meals will depend on your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and targeted caloric intake, combined with your exercise regimen.
For example, let’s say you burn 400 calories a day and your targeted caloric intake is 1,600 calories.
If you eat around 300 calories for ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’. Which may be a serving of oatmeal and an egg for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and 3 oz of chicken and some veggies for dinner. Then that will leave you with 700 calories for your other meals. Target 6 a day at minimum. So, almonds, trail mix, fruit, jerky (watch the sodium), protein shakes, raw veggies with dip, hummus, fish, tuna etc can all serve as your in-between meals.
While the 300 targeted calories per meal seems like a low amount especially for lunch and dinner, just remember, in a couple hours you’ll be eating again.
Bag up some snacks so you have some on hand and don’t end up swinging through Mickey D’s. Keep yourself on track with healthy small meals and watch what happens.
Think about it. Aside from reducing glucose levels and insulin spikes, if you eat a small meals throughout the day, you’re less likely to be so hungry your eyes are ‘bigger than your stomach’. You’re less likely to gorge yourself, or splurge on a treat, if you’re satisfied by several small meals throughout the day. But it takes time.
Results Will Take Time
They say fitness is a lifestyle right? Well, it is. And that is how you have to look at these things. You can’t just start eating breakfast and expect your body to change completely in a month. You can’t eat small meals every day for a week and expect to drop 10 pounds. It doesn’t work that way. You know why? Because you didn’t put the weight on in a week, or even a month. It crept up on you slowly. It will leave the way it came—slowly. Like a scorned dog, your fat will start to leave, but it will try to hang on… with big puppy dog eyes it will saunter away in slow motion just in case you change your mind and want to keep it. It will do this for months. MONTHS. But it will go. Eventually.
Hey—this isn’t to demotivate you, it’s to keep it real. If you have the right expectations, you’ll set yourself up for success.
Get inspired by the truly successful. Just Google some of the most successful weight loss stories. You’ll see the person will state “I lost 50 pounds in 14 months”. Or “I shed 42 pounds in a year”. Do the math on that. That’s about 4 pounds a month. That’s not a lot when you look at it after a month—or even two. But if you make the right changes in your diet and exercise plan such as incorporating small meals, eating breakfast, knowing your BMR to set caloric intake, counting macros and getting in cardio and strength training, in a couple months you’ll see the changes. And when you do—it will motivate you even more to keep going.
Even better—in two months from eating small meals and making lifestyle changes you’ll be in a better spot than you were today.
In 4 months, you’ll feel so committed you can’t stop.
In 6 months you’ll become someone different.
And in a year, you’ll be that success story, and people will be asking you for all your secrets.
And we hope you tell them the same thing we’re telling you—try everything.
Find what works for you.
Don’t believe everything that is published.
Do research, and attack weight loss and health from all angles.
Most importantly, be patient, consistent and don’t give up.
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Look at you—you’re already closer to your finish line.
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