Timing is everything: why the timing of meals matters


nutrient-timing-for-optimizing-fat-loss
nutrient-timing-for-optimizing-fat-loss

As I sit here impatiently waiting for things to happen much more quickly than they are, and I try and pacify myself with the line, “things will happen when they are meant to…”, it has also dawned on me that indeed timing of meals matters. Too many carbs or calories at the wrong time can be all that is needed to leave you feeling tired, heavy and gaining weight long term. Late night eating, too little sleep and a late breakie in place of morning tea too enough to prevent your metabolic rate from operating at its best. So, how can you optimise metabolism simply by altering what you eat and when to help control your weight long term?

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Diets and weight loss literature rarely refer to the role metabolism plays in our ability to stay in control of our weight as we get older – instead they are trying to make as much money as possible from the latest quick fix diet scam or program. What is most useful for all of us to know is that as we age, our body basically becomes less efficient at burning calories; it is a natural part of the aging process. This is why we seem to gain weight gradually even when we exercise regularly and eat roughly the same thing each day.

In order to keep our cells burning calories as efficiently as possible, we need to regularly challenge them, by training at a very intense level that really increases our heart rate (a walk in the park just won’t cut it). In addition, we need to eat small, protein rich meals every 3-4 hours, as early in the day as is possible. The timing is crucial as the body’s hormones are programmed to burn during the day and store at night, so when we have a largish dinner followed by a sweet treat we end up with a significant calorie overload at the time of day when we are far less likely to be burning calories.

Considering these suggestions you can easily see where we go wrong. We exercise too lightly, we eat too much at times and not enough at others, and if you graph our intake of calories, in most cases we eat the bulk of what we consume after 3pm.

So if any of this sounds even the least bit familiar, the good news is that now you know, all you need to do is make a few little changes to bump up your own metabolism. Make sure your breakfast is eaten as soon as you get up in the morning, and increase your protein intake using eggs, lean meat, cottage cheese or a protein shake. Carry your protein rich snacks with you at all times so you always have some cheese or nuts with you to snack on mid-morning rather than your usual biscuits and fruit and make every effort to eat your dinner as early as possible. Swap the late evening TV for a little more sleep to allow your digestive hormones to do their work overnight food free and when you exercise remember it is quality over quantity. You are much better off smashing yourself for 20 minutes on a bike or treadmill rather than to walk slowly for an hour and who couldn’t do without that extra 40 minutes because as we know, with the current pressures in our day to day lives, our time is everything.

So if any of this sounds even the least bit familiar, the good news is that now you know, all you need to do is make a few little changes to bump up your own metabolism. Make sure your breakfast is eaten as soon as you get up in the morning, and increase your protein intake using eggs, lean meat, cottage cheese or a protein shake. Carry your protein rich snacks with you at all times so you always have some cheese or nuts with you to snack on mid-morning rather than your usual biscuits and fruit and make every effort to eat your dinner as early as possible. Swap the late evening TV for a little more sleep to allow your digestive hormones to do their work overnight food free and when you exercise remember it is quality over quantity. You are much better off smashing yourself for 20 minutes on a bike or treadmill rather than to walk slowly for an hour and who couldn’t do without that extra 40 minutes because as we know, with the current pressures in our day to day lives, our time is everything.

Comments

comments

1 Comment

  • michelle says:

    Hi Susie,
    Can you provide some guidance on lunch? My understanding is it should be bigger than dinner because the middle of the day is when your metabolism is at its hottest.

    Your thoughts?

    M

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