How to Time your meals for weight loss? When trying to lose weight, you always keep track on what foods to eat and how much to eat, but when to eat is just as important. The body has an internal clock, the circadian rhythm, which follows a 24-hour cycle. This keeps your body functioning on a schedule, and programs your body to do certain things better at different times of the day. For example, the best blood sugar control is in the morning. Similarly, the metabolic rate, or the rate at which the body burns calories, is higher and more efficient in the first half of the day, especially in the mornings. Therefore, eating too many calories later in the day or at night, when the body’s processes slow down, may lead to weight gain and body fat storage.
It is for this reason that focusing on eating the right things at the right times of the day is one of the most powerful things you can do to control your weight in the long term. A healthy and well-proportioned breakfast followed by 4 to 5 reasonably sized and well-timed meals during the day keeps your metabolic rate healthy, your hormone levels constant, regulates your blood sugar levels and burns more calories. So, how to time your meals?
Here are some suggestions to time your meals:
7 a.m. Breakfast
Never skip your breakfast. Eat your breakfast within an hour of waking up to jump-start your metabolism. If you skip this meal, your body may sense starvation and slow down your metabolism to sustain energy. Also, skipping breakfast may make you hungrier and you are more likely to eat larger meals, that lead to a surge in blood sugar. Eat complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to keep your blood sugar constant (read more). Additionally, eat protein, which keeps you feeling full and satisfied throughout the morning.
9:30 a.m. Morning Snack
Eat 2 to 3 hours after breakfast. This snack help keeps blood sugar levels stable, and helps avoid a feeling of low-energy, that makes you reach for high-calorie snacks. A morning snack is not mandatory, especially if your breakfast was heavy and you are not hungry.
12:30 p.m. Lunch
Your lunch should be eaten 2 to 3 hours after your morning snack. Try making your lunch the largest meal of the day. Consuming more calories at lunch than at dinner makes sure that you have ample of time to burn all those calories. Eat complex carbohydrates and proteins to keep your energy levels up and your metabolism burning. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables along with proteins require long time to absorb, that keeps you feeling full for a longer time.
4 p.m. Snack
Enjoy your snack 2 to 3 hours after lunch. Your afternoon snack keeps your blood sugar levels stable, and also prevents overeating at dinner.
7 p.m. Dinner
Eat dinner 2 to 3 hours after having your afternoon snack. Dinner should be a much lighter meal than your lunch. Finish your dinner 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. Eating too close to bedtime can increase your insulin and blood sugar levels. Calories consumed after 8:00 p.m. are more strongly associated with weight gain. Moreover, eating close to bedtime can affect the quality of sleep.
Regular meal times play a long-term role in controlling body weight. Try to eat at the same time every day. Irregular eating patterns and skipped meals are the main reasons people are unable to lose weight. To increase weight loss, consume most of your calories earlier in the day, not late. Make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals.
Weight loss isn’t only about WHAT You Eat…It’s also about WHEN!