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How many meals a day should I eat to lose weight?

How many meals a day should I eat to lose weight?

Eat five (5) meals a day to lose weight.

Adults who have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for almost six years , eat an average of five meals a day.

  • These adults are members of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR).
  • The actual number of meals eaten per day ranged from two to seven, but the average was five.

If five small meals a day isn’t realistic for you, find something that is. The most important thing is to eat in a way that you can maintain for the rest of your life (to achieve permanent weight loss).

Listen to your body and your hunger; eat healthy snacks to prevent going hungry between meals.

Start with breakfast

Don’t skip breakfast to cut calories and lose weight. Of 2,959 NWCR members:

  • 78% of the members eat breakfast seven days a week.
  • 90% of the members eat breakfast at least four days a week.
  • Only 4% of the members never eat breakfast.

Limit restaurant eating

Adults who have lost weight and kept it off eat most of their meals at home. On average:

  • They eat out at a restaurant roughly three times a week.
  • They eat fast food less than once a week.

You can still eat out and restaurants and lose weight. Follow easy tips for portion control and watch out for unhealthy food on the menu.

Source:
ML Klem, RR Wing, MT McGuire, HM Seagle, and JO Hill. A descriptive study of individuals successful at long-term maintenance of substantial weight loss. Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, Aug 1997; 66: 239-246.



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FitnessforWeightLoss.com was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...