You may have heard that eating every hour on the hour is a good strategy to lose weight. Unfortunately, if this is your only strategy to lose weight, it is unlikely to work. Research published in 2009 in the journal “Nutrition Reviews” found that the number of meals you eat each day does not affect your weight. If you are still interested in trying to eat every hour on the hour and also want to lose weight, you need to carefully plan your meals to make sure that you reduce your total calorie intake.
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Record in a notebook the amounts of all the foods and beverages you consume for several days. Calculate the number of calories in each food and beverage you consume using an online calorie counter. For each day, add up the number of calories in what you consumed.
Pick an average day of eating from your food diary and note the number of calories you consumed that day. Subtract 500 to 1,000 calories from the total number for your daily calorie goal.
Divide your daily calorie goal by the number of "hourly" meals you'd like to consume, such as 10. If you wish to eat or drink more at certain times, reduce the amount you eat or drink at other times of the day. The total amount of calories you consume in a day should not exceed your daily calorie goal.
Prepare foods in single servings for your hourly meals to discourage overeating. Choose nutritious low-calorie foods you can easily eat throughout the day with little preparation, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. Drink water or low-calorie beverages instead of sugary beverages, like soda.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- “Nutrition Reviews”; Association Between Eating Frequency, Weight, and Health; Michelle A. Palmer; 2009
- “The Journal of Nutrition”; The Effect of Eating Frequency on Appetite Control and Food Intake: Brief Synopsis of Controlled Feeding Studies; Heather J. Leidy and Wayne W. Campbell; 2010
- National Institutes of Health: Balance Food and Activity
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone