As we all know the food we eat plays a major part in our health and fitness goals and we often get asked ‘how many meals should I eat a day to lose weight?’. Generally, the most effective advice is whatever works best for you. At the end of the day, whether you’re following a vegan, keto, intermitting fasting, sugar free, gluten free or [insert other diet here], the amount of meals you eat in a day is much less important than ensuring you’re intake is less than you use everyday (the technical term for this is calorie deficit).
Calories represent the energy we consume through food and use up during daily living and exercise. To achieve weight-loss you need to keep the number of calories you consume lower than the number of calories you expel. With specific calculators, apps and monitors you can calculate the number of calories your body burns going about everyday life (we have another blog coming soon showing exactly how to calculate this). These are your maintenance calories your body needs to function healthily doing your everyday tasks. Once you’ve got this number, subtract a quantity of calories from it. This will be your daily deficit. Usually a deficit of approximately 500 calories is a healthy, sustainable amount.
Once an adequate calorie intake has been chosen for your weight-loss goal, it can then be decided how those calories are consumed. What might work for one client may, not work for another, so this is when experimenting and educating yourself on what makes your body feel good is a great skill to learn. Each individual is going to need to consume specific vitamins and minerals to help maintain their hormone, metabolism and fitness levels. A general rule we like to implement is to consume wholesome, well-balanced, fresh food consistently to maintain a healthy, regulated metabolism. Meal prepping may be a great way to help if you are short on time and to avoid the temptation of high-calorie fast foods.
While counting and tracking calories may seem unrealistic and not suitable for your lifestyle, once you start to understand portion control and the caloric value of regular foods in your diet, making meals to suit your calorie intake can be achieved without tracking absolutely everything. Importantly, you can still choose foods that make you happy and enjoy your meals whilst achieving your goals. Weight-loss doesn’t have to be about restricting food groups and always being hungry. Once you understand this and learn what works for your body, you can enjoy a varied and exciting diet that also aids in weight loss! Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, body and mind are the three points we like to focus on when helping our clients reach their fitness goals.