4 Reasons to Eat Every 3 Hours for Weight Loss

4 Reasons to Eat Every 3 Hours for Weight Loss

You’re wanting to lose weight. And when it comes to weight loss, you need to reduce your calories so you burn more than you consume.

So you decide to limit your calories by eating just a few times a day, but you feel yourself starving before, between, and after your meals–basically the whole day.

You end up overeating at your meal times as a result, mindlessly snacking all day, and eventually giving up on your weight loss goals.
If this is you, stop it!

For many people, eating just a few times a day to lose weight just doesn’t work! For others, it does work!

If you have tried restricting your meal times during the day and struggle with hunger, snacking mindlessly, and overeating at meal times, you should try eating more frequently to lose weight.

So how many times should you be eating?

If you struggle with the above, you should try and eat every 3 hours. Let’s run through why!

The 4 Benefits of Eating Every 3 Hours

You’re wanting to lose weight. And when it comes to weight loss, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.

But eating just 2-3 times a day can be extremely detrimental to your weight loss! In fact, it can be the reason why you’re not losing as much weight as you’d like. Yes, you read that right:

You need to be eating more frequently throughout the day to maximize your weight loss results.

More specifically, you should be eating every 3 hours, and we’re going to explain why!

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You may be thinking, “So I’m supposed to eat frequently throughout the day to maximize my weight loss results?”

The answer to that is, it depends!

If you haven’t seen as much weight loss success from restricting your feeding times throughout the day (like with intermittent fasting), then eating every 3 hours may be the solution!

Why should you eat every 3 hours? Glad you asked! We’re going to run through the benefits of eating frequently below.

But before we get started, let’s clear the air really quickly:

We support different methods of eating like intermittent fasting, for example. For many people, intermittent fasting or limiting your meal times can work wonders. For others, though, it may not be the answer!

Also, it’s important to note that with whichever eating regimen you are following, you should follow the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your nutrition throughout the week is “healthy” and on point, and the 20% allows you to satisfy cravings and eat some treat-like faves.

This rule helps you maintain balance and not be too rigid and strict with yourself!

Alright, let’s get to the benefits of eating every 3 hours.

Benefit #1: Keeps the Metabolic Fires Burning!

your metabolism is like a furnace

Picture your metabolism like a furnace. The more you fuel the furnace (your metabolism), the more it heats up to burn more calories and stored fat.

The cooler you keep your furnace by fueling it less frequently, the more your furnace can slow down, which can send a signal to the body to store the calories.

By eating consistently throughout the day, you can help keep that metabolic furnace burning hot all day long!

Benefit #2: Helps Maintain Steady Blood Sugar Levels

Eating more frequently throughout the day can help you maintain steady blood sugar levels and avoid spikes.

That being said, you’ll want to make sure your smaller, more frequent meals aren’t packed with sugar. It’s still very important to make sure you are eating the right foods every 3 hours.

Benefit #3: Helps to Avoid Binging & Allows You to Control Your Hunger

reset meal

Uncontrollable hunger is the #1 enemy to weight loss, and for some people, by keeping your hunger chained up all day (only to let it loose once or twice), it can be so difficult to not want to devour absolutely everything in sight.

The Mayo Clinic states that “skipping meals or letting yourself get too hungry can lead to overeating and poor food choices—and may even cause your metabolism to slow.”

For some people, eating every 3 hours can help them keep their hunger in check and avoid spinning out of control into a “hangry” monster!

We want to avoid that!

By eating frequently throughout the day, you’re able to keep your hunger in check, not allowing yourself to spin out of control into a “hangry” monster!

Benefit #4: Helps Satisfy Cravings

Every day your senses are bombarded with delicious smells and foods.

  • You’re at work, and someone brings in doughnuts or microwaves some tasty smelling food that fills the office.
  • Or maybe you have to run to the Rec Center and you see a vending machine freshly stocked.
  • Or worse: You are navigating your way through the mall, and you’re attacked by tasty smelling cinnamon treats and a food court full of every type of food ever invented.

These are just some of the scenarios you may find yourself in on any given day.

By eating healthy foods every 3 hours, you allow yourself to enjoy a tasty piece of heaven–whether that’s something savory or sweet. You won’t be starving throughout the day, and you’ll be avoiding those terrible “hangry” feelings.

You’ll also be consistently satisfying your cravings!

The 3 Hour Rule: An Example Schedule

So what does that actually look like?

This means you’ll eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with 2 healthy snacks throughout the day.

Let’s run through an example of what a typical eating schedule could look like if you wake up at 6:00 am and go to bed around 9:00 pm:

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 Your meal schedule will depend a lot on when you wake up, when you go to bed, when (and if) you work out, and what else you have going on during the day.

But the goal is that you will be eating frequently, preferably every 3 hours, for a total of 5 times a day.

A couple of quick things to note with these meals:

  1. Your breakfast should include carbs, protein, and fats. This will help get you fueled up and ready to take on the day. You’ll be using these important macronutrients throughout the day.
  2. Your dinner should be lower in carbohydrates. A chunk of your day’s activities are over, and you’ll (hopefully!) be winding down for bed. You don’t need as much energy/fuel as you’d need to start your day.

“But I’m Not Hungry Every 3 Hours. What Should I Do?”

If you do not feel hungry every 3 hours and you’re wanting to follow the “eat every 3 hours” approach, here’s the catch: We still encourage you to eat.

We know this might sound crazy, but it’s going to take your body about a week to adapt to this new way of eating and for your metabolism to speed up.

This may sound like a chore, but having to eat is definitely a lot better than not eat when you are starving! ?

The Tips to Stay on Track Every 3 Hours

#1. Eat 30-60 Minutes After Waking Up:

If you’re not intermittent fasting, to make sure you’re getting in meals every 3 hours and to get your metabolic furnace kickstarted, we recommend you eat your first meal within 30-60 minutes of waking up.

This will allow you to get in your meals and snacks throughout the day, keep you fueled, help curb your appetite, and hit the ground running!

The key to eating soon after you wake up is to have a quick, grab-and-go option on hand to make it easier! A smoothie is a great option!

#2. Meal Prep & Plan:

While this step requires a little more work and effort, the payoff is huge.
Setting aside some time once or twice a week to prep your meals will save you time, and it will also help you stay on track with eating healthy, delicious meals to increase your weight loss.

You won’t need to scramble and run to the nearest drive-thru or gas station.

You won’t need to raid the pantry.

You’ll have your meals all prepared and ready for your belly.

#3. Have Healthy Snacks Available:

This is quite possibly one of the biggest things you can do to make sure you’re able to eat healthy foods every 3 hours.

Having some tasty snacks on hand when you need them is key. But not just any snacks will do.

A candy bar and foods high in sugar and packed with calories won’t fuel you towards your weight loss goals. They’ll most likely do the opposite.

So which snacks are the best to help keep you feeling fueled that are also convenient and easy?

Here are some ideas!

  • Cottage Cheese and Granola
  • Beef Jerky and Crackers
  • Greek Yogurt and Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt and Peanut Butter
  • Apples and Peanut Butter

Eat More Frequently to Lose Weight

Let’s recap real quick: If you’re struggling to see weight loss results and control your hunger, and you’re only eating a few times a day, you may benefit from eating more frequently.

You’ll be able to satisfy your cravings more frequently throughout the day and control your hunger!

What are you looking for?