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How Often Should You Eat To Lose Weight?

By Stacy Amend
August 21, 2014

You are when you eat. It’s not just WHAT you eat -- it’s how much, and how often.

If limiting your caloric intake is helping you lose weight, then cutting back even more should be a fast way to lose weight, right? No. There is a science to weight loss, and Jenny Craig has been a leading expert for more than 30 years. Here are four key tips about timing your meals and setting your portions for optimal slimming power.

1. Don’t skip meals
It may seem counterintuitive, but skipping meals can actually make you GAIN weight! How? In the morning, for example, your body has already been without food for 8–12 hours. When you skip breakfast, you’re instructing your body to enter “starvation mode,” slowing your metabolism to conserve energy until the next meal. When you finally do eat, you’re likely to be extra hungry, which can lead you to make poor food choices or overeat. And since your body’s set for conservation, you’ll have a harder time digesting your meal. One detailed study even found that skipping breakfast may put men at higher risk for coronary disease!

2. Eat your snacks
Whether you’re filling up on free foods or enjoying a snack from Jenny Craig (hello, you delicious little Cheese Curls!), it’s important to eat healthy snacks twice a day. The same principles that apply to skipping meals also apply to snacks; not only will they keep you experiencing a dip in blood sugar (and energy), snacks and free foods will ensure that you continue to stoke the fires of your metabolism throughout the day.

3. Eat all your food
If you’re just starting your Jenny Craig weight loss program, you may be surprised at the sheer volume of food—meals, snacks, free foods and even desserts—that make up your daily plan. You may even feel that you’re eating too much! But trust us: over time, eating more of the right things and less of the wrong things will help you distinguish between cravings (which typically pass in about 15 minutes) and REAL hunger. If your meal plan calls for an added salad or piece of fruit, don’t skip it! It’s an important part of your nutritional intake for that day.

4. Stay on schedule
Controlling hunger and balancing your blood sugar are both critical to weight loss success. In fact, studies show that eating smaller meals with regular snacks can help you balance your “good” and “bad” cholesterol, along with managing your appetite and blood sugar. For best results, space your meals and snacks at regular intervals, between 2 and 3 hours apart. Example: if you have breakfast at 7 a.m., you can enjoy a snack at 10 a.m., lunch at noon, your afternoon snack at 3 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. And remember, you can enjoy an unlimited number of free foods, any time of the day. If you find yourself with the munchies, start there.

Related Content:
Common Food Myths
Four Quick Tips to Curb Hunger
Easy Ways to Change Your Eating Habits

Jenny Craig® and Jenny’s Cuisine® are registered trademarks. Used under license.