Today I'm taking two questions that frequently pop up in my DM's and inbox and answering them for you, once and for all.
Q: What should I do if I get to the end of the night and I haven't finished my macros and I'm not hungry? Should I force myself to finish them?
In general you do want to eat all your macros. First, it's helpful for you because by keeping your intake consistent you (or your coach) are able to adjust your numbers more accurately. If you are eating 1500 calories one day and only 1300 the next it can be hard to tweeze out which macros are the ones that are actually getting you results.
But even more than giving you accurate feedback, eating enough makes sure you stay in the optimal fat burning deficit. You have to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat, which means you have to eat less calories than you burn, but too large of a deficit actually isn't productive because your body won't burn fat as efficiently. Our bodies are able to burn fat the most efficiently in a moderate caloric deficit, not a severe one.
Chronically underfeeding your body can also slow your metabolism overtime, which (ironically) makes it even harder to lose fat as you have to keep eating less and less to see results.
A better way? Keep your calories and macros as high as possible while still seeing results, and only drop your macros if your weight loss actually plateaus. That means 2 weeks consistently hitting your numbers with no change in your weight or any of your measurements.
Some days I totally understand that for whatever reason you may have not finished your macros come bed time and at that point no, I don't want you forcing food down. What I do want you to do is to plan your next day a little better and try to eat more earlier in the day so that it doesn't become a habit of finishing the day short on macros.
Q: Is there a BEST time to eat for fat loss?
The short answer: No. When it comes to losing fat, total calorie intake is the most important factor and your macro breakdown is the second most important factor.
The long answer: When you are talking about pounds lost, it doesn’t matter if you eat 1 or 12 meals in a day, if you end the day eating less calories than you burn, you will lose the same amount of weight.
However, there can be a psychological impact with meal frequency, and that’s not to be ignored.
Personal preference is really important – some people enjoy fewer, larger meals in a day (hey hey to those who like intermittent fasting!) and others (like me) prefer 5-6 smaller meals. It really comes down to your life and your schedule and the way that you prefer to eat.
I also highly suggest you do some experimentation. Try out eating more or less frequently with bigger and smaller meals and pay attention to how you feel, your hunger when you do so, and your energy levels. Chances are you will be able to easily identify the schedule that works best for you.