Weight loss is one of the most popular health-related topics and this is mainly due to the fact that the vast majority of people have had to attempt to lose weight at some point in their lives. With conflicting pieces of advice from which foods to eat to how to eat them, it is easy to get confused about which suggestions are the most effective. Especially if you feel that you have been eating pretty healthy and light, you may be stumped as to why the pounds are not shedding as quickly as you would like. One of the reasons may be that you are not paying much attention to the time that you eat. In a previous article, we mentioned the condition of night eating and although your situation may not be as severe as that, late night meals could be the reason why your scale won’t budge. Learn how planning scheduled meal times can help you with effective weight loss.
What the new research says
In very recent research published in January 2013, scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tufts University and the University of Murcia confirmed that their findings suggests that it is not only a matter of what you eat, but when you eat. Their results showed that “late eaters” lost significantly less weight at a slower rate than “early eaters.” An additional health indicator was that late eaters also demonstrated lower levels of insulin sensitivity, which is a risk factor for diabetes. This research has shown that avoiding late meals, especially larger meals at later times, may help you efficiently lose weight.
How Timing of meals affects Metabolic Rate
Meal placement and time also has the power to impact your metabolic rate over a period of time. This is because your metabolism is heavily dependent on a routine or schedule. Your body needs to know when to expect fuel so that it knows when it will need to work to metabolize it. Having an irregular eating pattern or spreading your meals out between spans of time that are too wide can make your metabolism slow down because your body is unsure of when its next meal will take place. In order to promote weight loss especially, it is a good idea to eat small meals every couple of hours throughout the day to keep your metabolism active.
How to schedule your meals
Eat within 1 hour of waking up: You’ve heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and one reason this may be true is that it gets your metabolism going. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are both more likely to be overweight as well as more likely to make unhealthy meal decisions later in the day with larger portions or high fat and sugar options.
Combine protein and starches: Especially in the beginning of the day, protein can help you feel full and satisfied longer, allowing you to make healthier decisions later on in the day.
Eat every 3 to 4 hours: Spreading your meals out like this will keep your metabolism active and allow your body to release proper hormones for appetite control. Because you are preventing excess insulin with this type of meal schedule, you will also have increased fat loss.
Eat before you weight train: Because your muscles will need to be at their optimal level, you will want to provide them with the proper fuel. A good pre-workout snack is again, a combination of proteins and carbs. You probably will not need a pre-workout snack for the average cardio routine, however.
Eat protein first: When your meal time arrives, you may want to start with your protein option so that your brain is triggered that it is full when the time is right.
Drink Alcohol last: We all know that alcohol lowers your inhibitions, so making your smart meal choices and consuming before your alcoholic beverage is best.
Avoid Distractions: Make sure that the TV, computer and all other electronics are off while eating and be mindful of every bite. This way, you won’t eat mindlessly and overindulge.
STOP eating 3 hours before bedtime: As we have seen in the previous research mentioned, late meals can wreak havoc on your weight loss goals, so try to have dinner at an appropriate time in relation to your bedtime.
Always remember, with any task, whether it be for your meals or anything else in life, planning ahead of time is key. When trying to implement a new routine, such as this meal plan, you will want to make sure that you are not caught off guard and go through the day either skipping meals or making unhealthy choices. With research being right on the cusp of this idea that meal times truly can impact weight loss, we should all be a little more mindful of not only what we eat, but when.