As of this morning, the experts were still trying to figure out the best diet to follow for weight loss. Instead of diving back into that eternal mystery, let’s examine another diet question that recently crossed my desk in the form of a press release headline:
“Could the Timing of When You Eat, be Just as Important as What You Eat?
It quite possibly may be. (Also, that comma in the headline quite possibly shouldn’t be there.)
In the study, the researchers looked at 420 people in a five-month weight-loss program. They put the people into two groups: those who ate their main meal earlier or later in the day. This was in Spain, so the main meal was lunch.
The people in the two groups more or less ate the same foods, took in the same calories, and burned the same number of calories. But the late eaters lost less weight – and the weight they did lose came off more slowly. As a result, if you want an eating plan that helps you lose weight, they say you should focus on when you eat in addition to the traditional concerns of what you eat and how much you eat.
Here’s my point of view on these findings, based on my own daily schedule:
Eat early. Eat within an hour of waking to break the “metabolic fast" you've been in for the past six to 12 hours since you ate dinner. If your body thinks it's not going to be regularly fed, it will use calories more efficiently (in other words, your metabolism slows). Eating soon after you wake up reassures your body and jump-starts your internal furnace.
Start healthy. I find that the best morning options for me (along with the required coffee with unsweetened almond milk) are:
- Egg whites and ONE piece of wheat toast with Smart Balance or olive oil. Studies show olive oil keeps you fuller longer, as do eggs. If I’m starving, I’ll have two or three eggs with yolks.
- A piece of toast with a generous layer of peanut butter.
Eat regularly. For the rest of the day, I’m eating every two to three hours. The goal is to keep the furnace burning at full speed. Each time I eat, the food includes a protein with a carb, while remaining heavy on vegetables, some fruits.
I find that if I eat almost constantly all day, with small portions of very nutritious foods, I can enjoy dinner in a much more civilized way. I sit down to dinner feeling happy with smaller amounts of whatever sounds or looks good.
For me, it’s about constantly stoking my metabolic fire and keeping my body from going into conservation mode. If you go hungry all day, then have a big influx at the end of the day, your body will want to sock away as many of those calories as possible!
For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms.