The foods that you eat make a huge impact on your fat loss results. But it’s not just about what you are eating, it’s also about how much and how frequently you eat.
All of these factors make the topic of how to eat for best results a hot one with my clients! So let’s dive into the most popular eating strategies…
A quick online search produces two popular eat-for-fat-loss strategies: Intermittent Fasting versus Six Small Meals.
Which strategy works best? And, more importantly, which strategy would work best for YOU? Let’s find out…
This eating strategy cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting. The content of your meals during eating periods is not a factor. Some cycle between eating and fasting each day, creating a small window for eating and fasting for at least 16 hours, while others cycle eating and fasting across several days, taking as much as 48 hours at a time to fast.
Pros: Humans have been fasting for thousands of years. Our bodies are well equipped to handle periods of fasting. Research shows that fasting produces benefits for disease prevention, metabolic health, weight loss and even life extension. Some find it less work to fast rather than to plan for several small meals. During eating periods you get to eat whatever you want (even though I dont think this is a god idea 🙂 ). If you combine with a higher fat diet you will also rarely be hungry.
Cons: Abstaining from nourishment for long periods of time can be challenging, especially when food is all around you. Socially it can be awkward to skip meals while your friends and family break bread together. Some find themselves overeating during eating cycles (if they don’t have a solid plan), and some find the ongoing absence of food to aggravate food obsession and to produce an unbalanced focus on food (may occur without guidance).
Six Small Meals
This eating strategy, of breaking the traditional 3 square meals into 6 smaller meals that are spaced 2-3 hours apart, has been used by body builders and fitness competitors for years. The content and size of each meal is an important factor of this eating plan. Meals early in the day contain lean protein, fiber-filled veggies and a small portion of complex carbs, while meals later in the day are smaller and do not contain any complex carbs. All meals are low in fat.
Pros: By fueling up every 2-3 hours you rarely get the feeling of deprivation that comes with fasting.
Cons: You have to plan ahead. Every. Single. Day. Get used to carrying around a small cooler filled with containers of chicken, broccoli, brown rice and sweet potatoes. Each meal is small, so restraint is required. You may also feel hungry often due to the lack of fat calories in plan. Unless you are including the occasional cheat meal, or cheat day, there is no room in this diet for empty calories or comfort foods.
The facts are out there to prove that both of these eat-for-fat-loss strategies work. There are photos of real, actual people who have subscribed to each of these methods and have gone from flabby to lean. Both methods irrefutably work.
But why? How can two methods that utilize opposing strategies both produce fat loss results? And which one is better? Let’s dive deeper into what makes these eating strategies work…
1. Meal Timing
When you eat is a factor with both of these eating plans. This means that subscribers to both plans are required to wait until the appointed time to eat. So mindless snacking, or grabbing a muffin just because it’s there, is out of the question. This structure reduces overall “unhealthy” food intake which is the real key to weight loss, fat loss and health and explains why both plans produce results.
2. Meal Content
The Six-Small-Meals plan focuses on the content of each of your small meals in great detail. Your meals contain lean proteins, fiber-filled veggies, and limited complex carbs. This detailed control of calorie content is largely why this plan works for fat loss and weight loss. However, the big question is how long can this structure be continued?
Intermittent Fasting does not consider the content of your meals during eating periods unless you are working with a qualified nutrition & lifestyle coach like me 🙂
3. Meal Size
The Six-Small-Meals plan also focuses on the exact size of your meals, which makes sense since you are eating six times each day, and excess calories would quickly add up. Typically this is done by weight, so as you pack your meals for the day you’ll be using a food scale to ensure that you have exactly the right amount of lean protein and complex carbs. Veggies are often measured rather than weighed.
Intermittent Fasting does not consider the size of your meals during eating periods.
So What’s the BEST Eating Strategy for FAST Results? As we’ve discussed, both of the eating strategies above are capable of producing results. This is due to the fact that both plans result in an improved quality of food given a focus on healthy eating and structure.
Without structure, there is often random eating of whatever is available at the time.
When it comes down to you choosing your own eating strategy it’s important to determine what will work best with your lifestyle. If carrying a cooler with you and making time to stop every 3 hours to eat a meal is simply not something you can see yourself doing, then Intermittent Fasting may produce better results for you.
Want more guidance as you take your body from flab to fab? I’d love to help you! Give me a call or shoot me an email and let’s get you on track to shed some major fat before summer!
Let’s do this together.