How do you lose weight safely and keep it off forever? This is a question so many ask after the disappointment of yet another unsuccessful diet plan. We need an eating plan that takes the weight off – and keeps it off for good.
It turns out that diet and exercise aren’t the only keys to controlling whether you will gain or lose the pounds. Recent research suggests that the timing of your meals also has a positive impact on body weight.
Scientists from the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute discovered that not just what we eat but when we eat it directly impacts whether the weight will come off and stay off.
The Science of Burning Fat
All day long your body uses the food you eat as fuel to power all the processes in your body. Everything from brain function to circulation to digestion. Whatever your body doesn’t use gets stored in your liver as glycogen and used to regulate your blood sugar levels while you sleep. As soon as those glycogen stores are used up…your body starts burning FAT.
It takes several hours for your body to go through its glycogen stores before it starts using fat for necessary fuel. If you eat at midnight and then have a rich coffee or breakfast food a few hours later, you likely haven’t used up all the glycogen. Instead, you’re providing more food as fuel and the process starts again – without burning any fat.
Researchers recommend taking a 12-hour break from eating – for instance, 7pm until 7am. You give your body time to use up the glycogen and burn fat before you feed it again.
Your Body Already Knows How to Lose Weight…Let it Work!
The Obesity journal published a study that found that after 8pm night owls eat approximately 250 calories more than those who go to bed earlier. You also may not have the best judgment – or willpower – by the time midnight rolls around, and are more likely to choose unhealthy foods high in fat, calories and sugar.
Cell Metabolism recently published a study that showed that mice that ate the same high-fat foods in the same amounts – but at different times – had very different health reactions.
The mice who consumed all their calories within the same eight hours each day maintained their weight and remained healthy. The mice who spread their calories over the entire day gained substantial weight and tested positive for diabetes.
Researchers found that fasting during the night hours actually helped nullify unhealthy food choices.
Burn Fat with 5 Simple Tips
- Eat more often within the twelve hours allotted to food consumption. Whether you choose three traditional meals and a snack, or more frequent small meals – be consistent. Such consistency regulates your blood sugar and encourages the hormone leptin to do its job controlling your appetite, boosting your metabolism and regulating your cortisol levels. Eat the bulk of your calories earlier in the day and opt for lighter meals as the day wears on. Dieters who eat the majority of their daily caloric intake before 3pm lose 25% more weight.
- Don’t skip breakfast! Experts suggest that eating within one hour of waking up boosts your metabolism for the entire day and helps you achieve your weight loss/maintenance goals. Missing a morning meal also increases the body’s production of cortisol.
- Avoid eating three hours before you go to bed – and get your rest! Lack of sleep leads to cravings for foods high in caffeine and sugar. It can also cause overeating the following day. Eating immediately before bed disrupts your body’s natural rhythms and lowers the quality of your sleep, as well as your ability to burn fat.
- Replace your morning carbohydrate with an egg. Experts have revised their opinion of this once-avoided food. Eggs raise your HDL “good” cholesterol while lowering your LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. They help prevent your risk of heart disease and stroke, are great for your skin, hair and nails and are a powerful anti-inflammatory. The International Journal of Obesity published a study from Penn State that discovered that participants who ate eggs daily in place of carbs lost 65% more weight than those who did not. Eggs also help build muscle as they burn fat.
- Pay attention to your meal. Don’t eat at your desk or in front of the television. Chew each bite well – your mother was right about that – and relax. Consume proteins first so that you feel full faster, and pair them with produce, healthy fats and whole grains. Include fruits and vegetables throughout the day to provide the antioxidant nutrition your body loves most. Consider adding a “green smoothie” to your daily eating plan for an extra boost.
Your body knows how to lose weight…it is simply waiting for you to let it do what it does best: keeping every process and system – including fat metabolism –running efficiently.
Weight loss goals don’t have to be painful.
By tweaking when you eat and what you eat, you’ll find the long-lasting success you’ve been craving.