How often have you heard that meal timing is essential for weight loss? It’s true that the correct timing of meals makes a difference when you’re trying to slim down. But there are at least a dozen rules about the timing of food intake that are simply not true.
These diet myths, for example, need to be busted:
• You must eat breakfast if you want to lose weight
• You should eat more often to lose weight faster
• If you don’t eat often enough your body goes into starvation mode
• Eating every three hours is the best schedule for weight loss
Each of these diet rules may work for some people, but that doesn’t mean that they will work for you. The key to proper meal timing is to make a schedule that works with your routine and your lifestyle.
Determine the Best Timing of Meals
Meal timing matters because eating often enough will help you to avoid excessive hunger and the food binges that often occur as a result. In short, eating on a schedule that works for you will help you to eat the right number of calories each day to slim down. But there is nothing magical about any particular hour in the day that makes it better or worse for your metabolism.
The best way to determine the best timing of meals for you is to lay out your typical schedule and decide when you need energy the most. You should also take into account your meal preferences and cultural habits. Honoring your lifestyle will make your meal plan easier to maintain.
For example, if you have a very busy afternoon, then you should fuel your body with healthy fiber-rich carbs in the morning to stay satiated and energized for several hours. If you exercise after work, then you may want to make a late lunch your main meal of the day so that you get the fuel you need to burn calories at the gym. Very few people need a big dinner because evening is usually the most sedentary time of the day, but for some people, this meal is an important part of their family experience, so it’s reasonable to honor the habit.
My Personalized Meal Timing Plan
I recently adjusted my plan when I was reviewing the Modere M3 Body System, a weight loss system that is designed to be used alongside the Mediterranean diet. As part of the plan, you consume a protein-rich shake in the morning and evening shake that is packed with fiber. This allowed me to eat a big lunch, which I found was perfect for my schedule.
So, my current daily schedule looks like this:
6 a.m.: Wake up and have a big skim cappuccino
6 a.m.-10 a.m.: Write, work and answer emails
10 a.m.: Drink a light fruit and protein smoothie to give me quick fuel for exercise
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Exercise including cardio, strength and flexibility training
1 p.m.: Cook and eat a large meal built around lean protein, healthy fats, and tons of veggies
1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Write and work
6:30 p.m.: Drink a light fiber-rich chocolate smoothie to satisfy my sweet tooth and curb my evening cravings
10 p.m.: Bedtime
This plan works for me because I love having a big indulgent meal in the afternoon. It makes me feel satisfied for the rest of the day. Will it work forever? Probably not. I’ll adjust it when my schedule changes. Will this plan work for you? Again, probably not. But the point is that you can make a plan that works with your schedule and your preferences.
For many people, determining the correct timing of meals is the key to curbing hunger and mindless eating. And it may be the just the thing to help you slim down and keep the pounds off for good.