Growing up, we were all pretty much conditioned to eat three square meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then, at some point, grazing became popular and people began moving toward five or six smaller meals throughout their day. Lately, various periods of fasting have become trendy. And for each eating schedule, you’ll find many who swear by its methodology. So with so many different eating schedules, how do you decide which one is correct?
“There are many mixed messages out there,” says Sloane Davis, a certified nutritionist and personal trainer and founder of Pancakes and Push-Ups. “Some people have an easier time curbing hunger eating lighter meals every two to three hours, whereas others like to have three larger meals a day that are usually a bit more calorie-dense.”
Davis shares her perspective on the three most popular options:
Are You Ready to Shake Things Up?
Of course, no two people are the same, so what works for your sister or co-worker may not work for you. “Over time, we certainly learn a bit more about what works and what doesn’t — ultimately, you should do what is best for your body and your schedule,” says Davis, who suggests that if you are going to test out a new eating schedule, then allow at least four weeks to judge whether it’s working.
“Do not rely on the scale as the only factor of progress. Are your clothes looser? Are people noticing? Is your energy good and you feel great? Those are all positive signs that you are on the right track and should stick with it. On the contrary, are you tired, irritable and lethargic? Are you starving? These are factors that indicate you are not making progress, are not happy and are not likely to stick to the plan. It is so important to find what works for you.”