A while ago we wrote about the question of meal timing and here’s some news.
It’s not just what you eat but when you eat… or specifically how long you go between the last meal of the day the the first meal the next day. This is called your ‘fasting window’, being the non-feeding time between meals.
Let’s say you finish dinner at 7:00 pm and don’t eat until 12:00 pm the next day. Of course you can hydrate by having some water, tea, coffee or broth, but without milk, cream or sugar. That’s 5 hours before midnight plus 12 hours the next day, creating a 17 hour daily fast.
That’s how breakfast got its name, as it’s the meal that breaks the fast. But is it really important to eat as soon as you get up? No!
Is breakfast “the most important meal of the day”? No! You might be one of those people who simply does not feel like eating breakfast. Don’t beat yourself up. Just eat when you feel real hunger, not out of habit or family ritual.
What does the research suggest? Your body’s insulin sensitivity has a better chance to self-correct if you give it a longer fasting window each day. For many people, after they have nailed meal content, meal timing is the thing that helps them optimise their results.
Here’s are 5 meal timing tips.
- Pre-plan your meals and snacks. Don’t leave this to chance. Be proactive, so you’re always surrounded by the foods and snacks on your plan.
- Prioritise protein. People who wish to lose weight have better success if they have more protein than the recommended minimum dose. The theory is that your body will want you to eat enough of whatever foods you eat to get the ideal amount of protein. If you eat low protein foods (say fresh fruits), you’d have to eat a lot (many calories) just to meet your protein needs. These are meats, fish, eggs, tofu and dairy.
- Delay your 1st meal of the day. So that you’re not dependent on spending more time cooking, your 1st meal might be leftovers from the evening meal. It may not be what you’re used to, but if it has a good serving of protein, it will satisfy you. (Cook double the night before.) Many are very comfortable not having their first meal until midday.
- Organise to have your last meal earlier. This may take some family negotiation, or you’ll simply serve yourself first, or eat with the children.
- Keep records. Use your Daily Planner to pre-plan your meals and snacks. As you go through the day, record exactly when you ate, and how you feel. Then after a week or two, measure your waist or get on the scales, to see if meal timing actually makes a difference to your body.
There’s lot’s of meal timing options. This is also called Intermittent Fasting (IF). Think about your great grandparents, and their great grandparents and their great grandparents. That’s 9 generations. Many went through the depression and seasons where there was not much food or choice available. They ate when they had food and didn’t eat when they had none.
But they survived. They grew up dealing with feeling hungry. Today we run to the fridge, pantry or shop way too soon and too often. Our body, and especially our endocrine systems never get a break, to restore.
In summary… we’re not saying eat less. Just compress your feeding events into less hours.