If you ask 10 people you will get 10 different answers. ‘Within an hour of waking up, after a workout, before a workout, 6 small meals per day, fast until noon, carbs in the morning, protein in the morning…’
Not only is there a lot of conflicting information, but how then do we apply that when in the throws of a day-in-the-life of ‘me’. We often have good intentions to have breakfast or eat more than one meal per day, but then fall victim to busyness and life.
Recently I listened to a podcast from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Their thoughts made a lot of sense and I even shared them with our clients. Here’s my recap on when they believe the best time to eat is.
Our bodies functions and systems all have rhythms. Our brain, lungs, heart beat, menstrual cycles, sleep, digestion and more all have an intelligently designed rhythm. That when thrown off can cause problems or even death.
So what does this have to do with when we should eat? Well, if we’re looking to line up our meal times with when our bodies will use the food we eat most efficiently and effectively then it matters a lot, especially when it comes to our body temperature. If we lay in bed all day long our body temperature and metabolism goes through a natural rhythm of rising and falling.
While we sleep we burn the least amount of calories while our body rests and repairs itself. As soon as we wake up our temperature begins to rise. It will continue to climb and hit a peak mid-day, before it drops in the afternoon (we’ve all had that afternoon brain fog). Going into the evening our temperature will increase once again until 9:00PM before it turns down in preparation for sleep.
If we’re looking to effectively and efficiently burn calories we want to try and align our meals as well as the size of each meal with when our body’s temperature and metabolism are ready. Temperature rises when we wake up so should have a moderate size meal to pair with our rising metabolism. If our body temperature and metabolism are peaking in the middle of the day, we may want to pair our largest meal then too because that is our body’s hottest time of the day.
Maybe after lunch would be a good time for a siesta and not another round of coffee. A short nap might do us good and allow us to finish the day strong. Heck, my two year old takes an afternoon name and is charging hard the rest of the evening!
Now going into the evening our body temperature and metabolism is climbing once again along with our energy! Now here’s where it gets tricky…eating a large dinner, especially late in the evening, will interrupt our ability to fall asleep soundly. So, we should choose a smaller meal early to mid-evening in order to give our body a chance to digest as well as prepare for a sound night’s sleep.
“Unfortunately, most Americans have it backward. We tend to do a small to nonexistent breakfast, a moderate sized lunch, and a more often than not, a big dinner before bed. And this is exactly what you ought to do if your goal is restless sleep and weight gain.” -Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
- Have a moderate breakfast as your body temperature and metabolism rise.
- Lunch should be your biggest meal as your body temperature nears it’s peak.
- Eat a smaller dinner early to mid evening so that you allow your body time to turn down for a restful night’s sleep.
- Don’t eat your most substantial meal and nutrient dense meal when your digestion is on the down turn in the late night hours.
Experiment and play with your meal times. See how you feel eating different size meals at different times of the day.
To read the full article visit: http://psychologyofeating.com/when-you-eat-is-as-important-as-what-you-eat/
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