For the last decade, trainers and fitness professionals have struggled with the validity of time and calories. Does it really make a difference what time you eat??? Should you follow the “don’t eat after 6 pm” or was it don’t eat “within 3 hours of going to bed?” If you’re trying to keep track of all these fitness rules, chances are your getting tired and confused. However, research may have put a stop to the confusion behind timing your meals. A new Spanish report shows that eating your main meal earlier may help you lose 29 percent more weight!! As if 29% isn’t enough, another report concluded that eating your lunch later in the day actually has the ability to throw off your metabolism clock and create weight gain!
The study followed 420 overweight people with an average age of 42 for 20 weeks; half ate lunch before 3pm and the other half ate lunch after 3pm. Those who ate lunch late had a slower rate of weight loss as well as lower rates of insulin sensitivity, which is a known risk factor for diabetes. Even when the study accounted for factors such as total calories consumed, sleep, energy burnt and levels of appetite hormones, no significant differences were found. It seems that timing is everything.
This study only considered people who made lunch the main meal – if your evening meal is your largest then you may want to reconsider and redistribute the quantity of food more evenly throughout the day (source).
SO, why can eating earlier make any kind of difference?? We’ve been taught as trainers that it has nothing to do with time and everything to do with calorie intake. However, this research is showing that eating acts similar to the sun. When the sun comes up it resets our body’s internal clock. Missing breakfast is the worst thing you can do because it acts as a catalyst to turn on your metabolism and reset. This could mean the difference between calories getting burned for fuel or stored as fat after a meal.
Fitness Tips To Lose 29% More Weight
- Eat your biggest meal of the day at LUNCH! Don’t ever skip breakfast because it’s the key to turning ON your metabolism.
- Slow down. Making meals last longer boosts release of appetite-satisfaction hormones that help you feel full. People who spent 30 minutes eating a bowl of ice cream had 25 percent to 30 percent higher levels of two key I-do-not-feel-hungry-any-longer hormones (peptide YY and glucagonlike peptide-1) than those who wolfed down their treats in just five minutes. Slow eaters also saw levels of these hormones remain elevated for the next two and a half hours (source).
- Enjoy . Eating your meals slowly and ENJOYING them is important. Turn some dinner music on, put your utensils down, invite company over, and have stimulating conversation. Savor your meals and avoid the TV and Computer.
- Cheat Day. Taking time off from your strict eating plan helps to boost and reset your metabolism. So have one day a week were you eat 1 or 2 meals that are considered a cheat meal 🙂
- Cheating Too Much? Reset Everything! If you’ve been over eating and snacking, and cheating then it’s time you took a real break. Go off your routine for a couple days or even a week. Use this time to trick your body into resetting. Once it does, go back to your strict eating and watch the scale DROP!!
As a personal trainer, I do agree with these finding about timing your meals correctly. However, you still need to use the fitness tips above with the correct calorie intake. With the combination of both, you will be unstoppable!!
BS, CES, PES, CPT