When you’re trying to lose weight you’ve got to eat less calories than you burn, that is the easy part, the hard part is deciding how and when you’ll eliminate some calories.
In general the way you eat less calories is to either cut out some eating events, or to modify the amount of calories you consume at each event.
I’m calling them ‘eating events’ because the word ‘meal’ seems too formal and people don’t categorize everything as a meal. But ever ‘eating event’ matters when you’re trying to lose weight.
For example, lets say you have a coffee and a cookie in the morning. This would be considered an ‘eating event’. For many people their morning coffee and ‘treat’ is an important creature comfort they’re not going to give up even during a weight loss program (I didn’t).
The problem with the terminology ‘meal’ is that most people wouldn’t consider a coffee and a cookie as a ‘meal’ even though it could easily have 300-500 calories (which is definitely a meal worth of calories).
A successful weight loss program has to allow you to have the ‘eating events’ that you enjoy without producing feelings of deprivation.
In some cases cutting entire eating events out can help, this could include things like snacking on cheese and crackers while watching tv, eating while driving, the second or third coffee and cookie break of the day etc.
If you can’t find any eating events you’re willing to do without then you’ve got to try and eat less during each of those events. For example you might not want to give up your second coffee break of the day but you could put less cream and sugar in your coffee or have a smaller cookie (or half a cookie) with your coffee.
This way you haven’t lost the satisfaction and the experience of having your second coffee and cookie but you’ve still managed to reduce your calories.
The point is to be flexible and use all the tools you can to achieve a calorie deficit.
You may even have to do an extra workout in order to allow yourself an extra eating event. Maybe you want to eat a bigger dinner tonight and don’t want to skip any other eating events of the day. The way to do this is to add in an extra workout (even just an hour of walking) and burn off some calories to allow you the room to have the bigger dinner without having to sacrifice any of your other eating events.
Each day you’ve got roughly your BMR to play with as far as food eaten. The more exercise you do the more calories you burn past BMR (but there is obviously a limit to the amount of exercise you can do in a single day).
You can mix and match higher and lower deficit days, by doing more or less exercise and eating more or less calories. It’s likely that your drive to have a set number of eating events is going to be a strong influence and tend to mold the pattern that fits best for you.
If you really want to have a morning coffee and muffin, as well as lunch, dinner and a snack then you’ve got to find a way to make those for events work in a deficit. In some cases you might need to do an extra workout, in other cases you might need to cut back on how many calories you consume at each event.
The only other option is to cut one of those events out completely and just do as you would normally do during the others.
Any of these combination’s are a perfectly viable option for effective weight loss and you can change them every day.
Flexibility is the key to lasting weight loss.