When it comes to diet everyone wants to make things more complicated, as if the reason they’ve failed is lack of complexity.
Let’s be honest, the reason people fail is lack of discipline.
And when it comes to lack of discipline the biggest downfall for most is snacking after dinner. People can happily go without for breakfast. They can even eat light for lunch. But once the sun starts to go down, and the focus from work starts to disappear they suddenly find themselves famished. At that point they become a victim to whatever is in their cupboards. Boredom and stress are the two biggest drivers of late night snacking.
Diets all work in only one way – they restrict the number of calories you eat over an extended period of time so you lose body fat. Vegan diets restrict calories by eliminating animal protein. Ketogenic diets by eliminating carbohydrate. Fasting eliminates time that you can eat during, and thereby restricts your total intake. But they all work by restricting calorie intake in some way.
Given that the most important thing to losing weight is total calorie intake, does it really matter if you eat all your calories in one meal, or in a few smaller meals during the day? The answer is not really. (Although I need to add that if you’re used to eating one massive meal a day your stomach will be stretched out and give you the appearance of never having a flat stomach, even if you are lean). I usually try to get most people to eat three to five meals a day.
Why the difference between meal how many meals?
Because a smaller female doesn’t have to get in as many calories as a bigger male. In larger guys if they try to eat only three times a day serving sizes become quite large, and it can be difficult to get in adequate protein. By spreading out the number of meals it makes each serve of protein smaller, and easier to digest. It also has the benefit of keeping the stomach smaller, as I mentioned, which will help give a more flattering look. A two hundred pound male will need about two hundred grams of protein a day – that’s the equivalent of almost two pounds (700g) of chicken daily. Trying to eat that in only two or three meals becomes difficult. It’s just far easier to split those meals into multiple smaller pieces. Making it easier makes staying compliant more likely over a long enough period of time for the diet to work.
Given the number of calories per meal isn’t the most important thing, here’s the best tip I can give you to fix that:
Make your meals during the day slightly smaller – it’s much easier to deal with hunger while busy at work. If you need two hundred grams of protein a day and eat three times during the day then eat around thirty to forty grams of protein with each meal. That will leave you around eighty grams for dinner, which will feel like a double serve compared to the rest of the day. Don’t eat your carbohydrate content during the day. You can eat green leafy vegetables and a single serve of fruit but otherwise save all those carbs for dinner.
Make your evening meal slightly bigger. As I said above, it can be as much as eighty grams of protein at this point. Add your carbs in – most guys will be eating one hundred to two hundred grams a day. After having eaten vegetables and a piece of fruit during the day you’ll likely have about one hundred grams spare. That’s the equivalent of five small potatoes. Keep your carb sources to root vegetables (potatoes rate highest for satiety out of all foods), or rice.
That way you’ll go to bed on a full stomach, and not feel like you need to snack after dinner. You’ll still eat the same number of calories for the day but this will be far more satisfying. In addition, the carbohydrate will help you get to sleep. This can be enhanced if you choose a protein source such as turkey, which has tryptophan in it, which also calms you and helps sleep.
I’ve used this strategy successfully, even with guys who are already really lean like Mark here. Believe it or not, even guys in this kind of shape still want the same snacks and treats that you do, we’ve just figured out strategies to keep them still trending in the right direction even when they break their diet through stress or boredom.
That’s the real power of coaching – finding a way for that individual to be successful. If you’re looking for the best way to get your diet and training on track then PM me for more information.