Do I Really Need to Eat Every 3 Hours?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Okay so here's what's been on my mind....
Throughout my struggle with weight loss, i have read (and I'm sure you all have too) countless articles and books suggesting that the key to weight loss is to eat every three hours. This helps keep your metabolism up and prevents you from getting hungry.

Now the other day, i was thinking...I'm supposed to eat by the clock? Is this right? To me, it seems a bit backwards from what weigh loss is about. I though losing weight is about eating when your hungry, not when the clock tells you it's time. Eating by the clock could mean eating when i'm not hungry, which is the exact problem that I have. The reason that i'm overweight is because for almost my whole life, I have been eating when im not hungry. I have been eating because im happy, sad, excited, bored...etc. So to me, eating because "its time" seems to enhance the problem, not help it. I'd rather eat 3 to 4 times a day when i'm hungry than to eat 5 to 6 times because that's what's recommended....What are your thoughts?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I don't eat every 3 hours by the clock... more like every 4, and sometimes it's just a granola bar or something, not very many calories. However, I will go more than 4 between afternoon snack and dinner, because it's my biggest meal and I'm usually too busy cooking it to bother eating (and looking forward to it being done).

    As everyone said, it is an individual thing and you need to find your own plan, but you definitely should eat within 30-45 min of waking up to boost your metabolism (and make sure you get some protein!)

    My biggest problem is evening snacking, so I try to save some calories for after dinner and try to have some really healthy snacks in the house (quaker creme brulee rice cakes and cinnamon pita chips are my favorite, along with fresh fruit / berries).

    Also, working out (cardio) is actually an appetite suppressant, so the more you work out, the less crap you will crave!

    Good luck finding what works for you emoticon
    2803 days ago
  • JLITT62
    I think it's an individual journey & there's no back & white answer. Try it & see if it's right for you - if it's not, move on!

    It actually does work pretty well for me, But if I'm really not hungry, i'll skip a planned snack.
    2818 days ago
  • EDWINA172
    The theory behind eating every 3 hours is so that you won't eat HUGE amounts at one sitting AND so you'll keep your blood sugar stable and steady. If your blood sugar goes up or spikes, there is an even lower valley. Keeping it even prevents too much insulin from being produced. You can burn off calories from food, but not the insulin. Your body stores fat when insulin is produced in large amounts. Eventually, you will become hungry every 2-3 hours. Start trying to be aware of how certain foods make you feel. Food is fuel. You are in the right place. Spark has tons of info and support. Good luck and have a great weekend.
    2818 days ago
    I think its supposed to help you from eating enormous amounts when it comes time for your "meals". You should do what works best for you!
    2818 days ago
    Do what works. For me, I find that if I do not plan to eat every 2.5 hours or so, that I start to make bad decisions. I rely on planning ahead and making sure that when I do need to eat, I have something that is healthy.
    2818 days ago
    I think you should listen to your body. Eating less more frequently may help keep your metabolism level, but if it feels like a chore you're not likely to stick to it. I think that as long as you're not waiting too long, to the point where you're starved then you should be ok.
    2818 days ago
  • LEAHKAY21782
    I find that when I'm working out like I'm supposed to, I get hungry about every 3-4 hours. I think you have to listen to you body. Period.
    2819 days ago
    I eat every 3 or so hours to keep my self from going crazy hungry-eat everything in sight-like. Plus, I wake up at 4am, and most of the time don't get to bed until about 9, 10 or 11pm. I eat a little something at 5am, then at about 8-9am, then at about 11am, then lunch about 12:30pm, then something about 3pm, maybe something about 4:30pm and dinner most of the time about 6pm or sometimes 7. It keeps me orgranized with my food and my weightloss. :) Plus I pre-plan and pack my food too.
    2819 days ago
    This is bunk. There is no actual proof that frequent eating increases weight loss. Stay within your calorie range over the day and the weight will come off. If it's easier for you to eat 6 meals a day, great, do it ... if it's easier for you to eat 2 meals a day, that's fine too. Make this as easy for you as possible.
    2819 days ago
    I was like you and questioned this concept, however, for the past 45+ days I've been eating every 3 hours 6 times per day. At first it was very hard for me but it really does help fuel my body. Now granted it has to be the right type of food every 3 hours (which I didn't understand) but it has been fantastic. I only eat 1300 calories per day but spaced over 6 meals I'm never hungry and the weight is falling off :). Good luck to you!!
    2819 days ago
  • APED7969
    I think you should do what works best for you. I don't have time during the day to eat every 3 hours due to work and while I try to not let myself get really hungry it happens sometimes. Then it just becomes an exercise in self control to eat appropriate portions. Sometimes I do well, sometimes I don't!
    2819 days ago
    I tend to eat three meals and a snack each day since I am a big believer in intuitive eating a.k.a eating when you're hungry.

    I think the point of every 3 hours is to keep people from waiting till they're ravenous and eating whatever is in front of them or binging. However, not everyone has this issue.
    2819 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/3/2011 5:13:30 PM
    the idea is never to let your body get hungry. 3 normal size meals and the other two are things like some fruit, nuts, etc to keep your body from wanting to pig out at the next meals
    2819 days ago
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