What meal frequency is better for fat loss, 5 to 6 meals or 1-2 meals a day?
What are your thoughts on meal frequency and what has worked for you? Do you do the same routine with foods or do you change it up till you attain your goal?
There seems to be two schools of thoughts on meal frequency for fat loss, keeping blood sugar levels balanced and cortisol levels in check, eating 5-6 meals a day, or the IF approach, by tapping the fat storage with 1-2 meals a day and eating during the feeding window.
I'm finding that it really depends on who you are. Intermittent fasting stressed my body too much when coupled with my exercise routine, and I ended up very unhappy. I've read that some women have trouble with the fasting/eating window thing raising cortisol too high. If your body is stressed, don't fast, especially if you are female. I might try it again once I get past this overtraining issue I'm working out.
The tons-o-minimeals thing CAN work for you, if done exactly right. It's a pain in the butt though, with all the planning, measuring, and carrying food around. There is no way I could do that. At the moment I'm eating when I'm hungry, eating the right things, and not over/under eating. I do want to get my bodyfat % lower (it's at 16% now), but fasting is just not the way to do it at the moment.
I'd say try both! Why not! Try one for several weeks or a month or two, and if you don't see any results whatsoever, try the other. That way you can test-drive both and see what you like and what works best for you.
There's no inherent benefit to any particular meal frequency. It depends on your ability to implement any plan. I feel that variation is natural - feeling no obligation to eat certain meals at certain times means I'm eating less. I also find extended fasting periods natural - with a little conscious effort I can avoid eating even though food is available. Once I start to eat, even if it's only a small something, I inevitably end up eating more sooner than if I'd not kicked things off. Most importantly perhaps, my eating patterns fit with the foods I'm choosing to eat. Eating or not eating now is something that may affect me physically in several days time but feels largely unrelated to my mood, energy, performance etc. today.
Trying to micromanage hormone (and blood sugar) levels by controlling intake hour by hour was tedious, prevented enjoyment of many proper meals, made me dependent on the feeding schedule and was fundamentally working against my body.
I started on the small meals/snacks approach to control high diabetic blood sugar. It worked for that and for weight loss.
Once you set up a routine it's hard to break it. After 5 years on the minimeals I get cranky if I spread it into bigger meals on a wider space. A definite downside.
I think it's different for each person, I've tried both and found that the IF approach works best. In hindsight this should've been obvious for me as I've never been a breakfast person and regularly went from 6-7pm at night until 12-1pm the following day before I ate. So the transition to missing lunch as well and eating after i've trained in the evening was quite easy and I've started seeing good results regarding weight loss.
Certainly for happiness, depression, food addiction having fewer regular meals with enough fat and protein that you are not hungry for 5 or 6 hours works best for many women, particularly those you use to graze all day, over eat and never feel hungry. It gives the body time to stablise and relax between means. Not snacking has always been the key to me to getting eating within control.
I have for the last 2 days had a slightly later breakfast and then a big meal of a late lunch and then not been hungry later and may be this 2 meals is going to work for me. We'll see. I probably eat less and 2 meals not three. (I have weight to lose).