Timing your Meals to Lose Weight
I’ve had people ask me about when and how often they should be eating in order to maximize weight loss, and increase muscle gain. There has been a lot of dispute about this amongst the fitness community, and in my personal opinion I don’t think there is a hard rule that applies to everyone. But here is a comparison of some of the theories:
OLD: Eat breakfast as soon as you wake up and before a workout, this way you jumpstart your metabolism and fuel your body for exercise.
NEW: Eat breakfast after your workout, the newest research states that the body burns 20% more fat when exercising on an empty stomach. This is because the body can focus on the functions required for exercise rather than digestion. Also eating a mix of carbs and protein immediately after strength training helps to repair and rebuild muscle mass.
OLD: Eat 6 meals throughout the day in order to keep your blood sugar levels even and keep your metabolism roaring.
NEW: Eat 2-3 larger meals per day and avoid snacking, the theory here is that if you eat fewer larger meals you allow time in between to properly digest your food. This way your body isn’t digesting all day long and it can have a chance to cleanse and detoxify. Some fitness professionals also believe keeping blood sugars elevated all day long isn’t healthy and dips in blood sugar are actually more natural for humans.
OLD: Allow 12 hours between eating at nighttime and waking for breakfast in the morning.
NEW: Eat all your meals within an 8-hour window. Allowing 14-16 hours between meals at nighttime (known as a mini fast) allowed participants in a study to consume higher amounts of calories and still lose more weight. The theory here is that the body will properly digest and dispose of all the food eat if given the time.
- If you want to read a whole book about it, check out the 8 Hour Diet (by the editor of Men’s Health magazine.
Choose a routine eating schedule and stick to it, this way your body knows when to expect food and it can act more efficiently, never starve yourself and don’t wait to eat until your famished!