When to Eat to Lose Weight: How Time-of-Day Eating Affects Weight Loss

when to eat

Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But is it true? Does when to eat, or how we eat, or what we eat affect whether we gain weight? More importantly, does it affect when we lose weight?

I could go into a million stories of the people I have talked with, heard opinions from, and interviewed, but the one common theme for losing weight regarding eating is that eating late at night will more likely cause you to gain weight. When to eat is as important as the other factors of what and how.

When to eat, how to eat, and what to eat – lose weight the easy way

To pull from my own experience with when (time-of-day), how (heavy vs. light), and what (veggies, fruit, carbs, proteins) we eat I will give some examples of things I—and strikingly similar to what others have—experienced while losing 75 pounds over a period of a couple of years.

There were times I plateaued, and they were most often when I didn’t follow these simple rules of how, what, and when to eat…

When to eat:

Morning is the best time to eat because it triggers chemistry in the body, wakes up the brain, enhances alertness, provides energy, and gets the metabolism going. Generally a large breakfast is not fully necessary, but snacking on light and healthy foods all morning long will enhance the metabolism better than a single heavy meal. Fruits are best during this time.

Early to mid-afternoon is the best time to eat a big meal. This meal will carry you through the rest of the day, and keeps you from feeling weak. If you are a meat eater, this would be the best time for getting in about 4 ounces of protein (whether animal or vegetable source).

Dinner should be at least 4 hours before you go to bed, and should remain light in calories, fat, and vegetable-heavy. If you are hungry later try drinking unsweetened hot tea. If you cannot stand it a single serving of instant oatmeal (a complex carbohydrate) will still allow your body to lose weight.

What to eat:

I gained 5 lbs per week(!) when I drank a full glass of milk before bedtime (to try to avoid eating), and learned quickly NOT to do this! Instead, I changed my eating habits to eating healthier, eating less, and walking more.

For losing weight it is obviously important to cut out the “white foods” (white sugar, white flour, white potatoes, white rice, dairy products, and most oils (except extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil), fried foods, and processed foods (from crackers, to wheat products, to meats).

Substitute those items with seeds and whole grains, especially those that are complex carbohydrates or high in protein, such as flax, oats, millet, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat.

Have a minimum number (such as five) vegetables that you fit into your daily regimen, plus a few fruits. Berries, in particular are high in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory.

How to eat:

It’s not just what or when to eat, but how… Eat a medium-sized meal for breakfast, or else eat light (continually snacking on small amounts) all morning long, with fruits and a variety of foods.

Eat your heaviest meal for mid-afternoon lunch to get you through the day. Supper should be light, and healthy. Eating within the 4-6 hour window before bed should be a big and absolute no-no on your list of time-of-day eating habits.

Count your calories (no more than 1200/day for the average person)… avoid too much fat (20 grams), and enjoy a single square of dark (70% cocoa or better) chocolate, some coffee, teas, and fruits each day for health! When to eat these things depends on you and your body, but hopefully these guidelines will help you focus on how you will lose weight most easily.

Ultimately, I lost 75 lbs by following these rules on how, what, and when to eat, and so can you!

The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at http://www.aminoacidinformation.com and Vancouver Health News at http://www.VancouverHealthNews.ca.  National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a third health news portal focusing on medicinal mushrooms at http://medicinalmushroominfo.com, plus our newest portal at http://todayswordofwisdom.com.

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