"Hey Jared, should I eat 6/7 times a day as a woman, or just 3 times a day?"
Before I really dive into this question, I want to state something so everyone knows exactly where I stand on this issue.
Everywhere you look, you see supplements ‘designed for women.’ While I appreciate great marketing as much as anyone, this is all it is - marketing.
Ladies, your bodies have differing amounts of hormones than men, but that’s it. Your bodies build muscle the same way with the same nutrients, and lose fat through exactly the same process as men.
Your hormones may change a speed and distance for fat loss or muscle gain, but they don’t change the process by which it happens.
*stepping off my soapbox*
Regarding how many times per day you should eat as a woman, the answer is (of course): it depends.
Recent research shows virtually no difference between eating 6 smaller meals per day, and eating 3 larger meals per day. In fact, there may be some benefit to eating 3 larger meals per day for muscle building purposes.
While we may be aspiring to perfection, consistency trumps our ‘attempts’ at perfection. We all get caught up in this “best” way to do things and set ourselves up for failure by setting the bar too high.
In reality there is little difference between 3 and 6 meals per day. I say choose based on two things:
Your schedule: How realistic is it to eat 6 times per day for you?
If you know you’re not going to be able to get 6 meals in per day consistently - choose a different number. Personally, I like 4 meals per day.
Your hunger and self control: Are you the type of person that gets hungry and cannot control their impulses?
If you are - it’s best to keep yourself from getting hungry by eating more frequently. In that situation, 6 meals per day may be ideal for you.
Self-awareness and honesty are key to determining what is best and realistic for yourself.