If you would like a weight loss edge, a 2 meal a day eating pattern may be just what you are looking for. Restricting your food intake to two daily meals allows your body to rest between eating. Those rest periods help keep insulin levels low, which is a state that encourages fat loss.
On top of that, having clearly defined eating windows eliminates mindless snacking, further encouraging weight loss. This blog post shares three ways to structure your eating day so you can benefit from this weight loss accelerator.
2 Meals a Day – At-A-Glance
- A 2 meal a day eating routine encourages fat loss by keeping the fat-storing hormone (insulin) low and eliminating mindless snacking.
- The Short Method: Consume two meals within six hours or less, no snacking.
- The Early Method: The same as the Short Method, but both meals are consumed by mid-afternoon.
- The Long Method: Consume two meals spaced eight or more hours apart, no snacking.
3 Ways to Do 2 Meals a Day [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- How the two meal a day pattern helps you lose weight.
- The three different methods you can use to follow this pattern.
- The types of food that will help you get the best results.
2 Meals a Day Routines
Because a two meal a day eating pattern naturally encourages fat loss, it can be done in different ways depending on your lifestyle. This way of eating can be thought of as intermittent fasting because you are splitting your day between periods of eating and fasting. If you have experience with intermittent fasting, you may find the short method appealing.
2 Meals a Day: The Short Method
The short method of 2 meals a day eating has you consume both meals within six hours or less. For instance, you could have your first meal at noon and finish your second meal by 6 pm. By doing this, you are essentially following an 18:6 intermittent fasting routine with two eating occasions and no snacking.
Following this eat-stop-eat pattern creates extended periods with no external food energy coming in. However, your body still has internal energy needs. To meet those needs, it must tap into stored energy, which you want if fat loss is your goal. This is because body fat is where much of that stored energy is held.
As I mentioned, this method has you eat two meals in six hours or less, so you could choose a shorter eating period, like four hours. For instance, have your first meal at 2 pm and finish eating for the day at 6 pm. What works for you will depend on your family, social, and work responsibilities. Either way, with the short method, you create a prolonged fasting period, which forces your body to tap into stored energy.
2 Meals a Day: The Early Method
You can give your body an even bigger fat loss advantage by practicing what I’ll call the early 2 meal a day routine. Like the short method, you’ll consume your daily calories within six hours or fewer. However, your food intake is shifted to earlier in the day.
For instance, you could have breakfast at 8 am and finish eating your second meal by 2 pm. This schedule can be thought of as early time restricted eating with a twist. That twist, of course, is that you’re limiting your food intake to two meals with no snacking.
Anyone can benefit from this method. However, those with a stubborn metabolism or a history of yo-yo dieting or poor eating habits may find this early method to be particularly helpful because it best aligns your food intake with your body’s metabolic clock. In other words, you are feeding your body energy when it is active enough to use it.
This method also ensures that you avoid food at bedtime when your body doesn’t need excess energy. By fasting in the latter half of the day, your blood sugar and insulin levels stay low overnight, encouraging the release of body fat as you sleep.
A common concern is that you’ll feel too hungry if you stop eating by mid-afternoon. The knee-jerk reaction is to overeat at mealtime in hopes of keeping hunger away. Switching to a 2 meal a day routine is not so much a diet as it is a timing strategy. It works because drawing a clear line between eating and fasting allows you to avoid mindless snacking and work with your body to provide it with the energy when it needs it. You don’t need to overeat or undereat to reap the benefits.
You’ll find that as you practice this way of eating, your comfort level will grow. To get started, you may find it helpful to take what you would typically eat in three meals and condense it into two meals. Of course, food choices will matter as well.
If you are having refined foods and a soda for lunch and pasta with bread and dessert at dinner, your food choices will be very calorie-dense and put your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride. When the level drops, your cravings will soar, making this way of eating very uncomfortable.
Stick with whole foods that are full of healthy fats and void of refined carbs, and you will feel in control. If you need a list of food choices, you can download my list of 100 low carb foods.
Also, give yourself some grace. This early 2 meal a day method is the most extreme of the three ways. Give your body time to acclimate by starting with the short method or take this way of eating on a test drive by trying the next strategy that I refer to as the long method.
2 Meals a Day: The Long Method
The long method of 2 meals a day eating fills in the blanks for those who have special scheduling needs, whether they be vacation time, odd work hours, or any other full calendar of commitments. With this method, you can lengthen the hours between meals to eight or more hours.
For instance, if you are traveling and your hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, fill up with a satisfying low-carb, high-fat meal in the morning and then enjoy a nice dinner in the evening. If you have a demanding work schedule, you can eat your first meal before work and your second meal when your workday is done.
Even though you are not getting the 18 to 20 hour extended fasting period that you get with the other two methods, you are still giving your body a break from the demands of digesting and processing food. That rest time allows your system to shift away from storing energy to pulling energy out of the built-in energy storage units that you carry around with you.
Also, when you intentionally compartmentalize your food intake, you avoid mindless snacking, helping you naturally lower your calorie intake. Just keep in mind that many drinks have calories. If you are drinking a latte or soda in the afternoon, that breaks your two meal a day schedule.
If you are eating a healthy whole food diet that is rich in healthy fats and low in refined carbs, you can adopt 2 meals a day as a daily eating pattern. If you’d like a list of foods to choose from, you can download my list of 100 low carb foods.
However, this eating schedule does not have to be used every day. It can be used periodically to shake up your body’s normal routine. That break from the norm forces your body to function differently, which can be just what you need to boost weight loss. Short, early, or long, that’s how you can use two meals a day to your advantage.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!