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The modern human doesn’t always follow the natural order of things. For example, we often eat by the clock. We eat in the morning before work or school whether we are hungry or not. We snack at our morning coffee break. Then our lunchtime schedule again must coincide with our workplace or school day schedule. In the evenings, however, it seems we have more control over our appetite. Sometimes, though, even our evening meals don’t follow the plan we intend. We have after school or after work activities, homework, projects, social times. All sorts of things dictate our meal times. But the thing we rarely pay attention to is our natural rhythm.
Circadian rhythm: eating with the day
According to recent research, healthy eating may be less about what is on our plate as it is about when it’s on our plate. In fact, the latest science reveals that when we eat may be a more significant factor than what we eat. The truth is that our three-square meals may not jive with the rhythm of our metabolism.
Your metabolism is your body’s energy usage. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock that tells your body what it needs when it needs it. And a more natural way to align your body’s internal clock is not with your smartwatch. It’s with the sun.
So, if your job dictates that you rise before the sun is up most of the year, forcing your body to digest food that early might be preventing you from losing weight. The research shows that eating outside your body’s circadian rhythm might increase being overweight, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and even up your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Aligning your eating times with your natural daily cycle improves weight loss, increase energy, and improve your general health. How do you do it?
- Follow the sun. Don’t eat before the sun rises in the morning. But once the sun is up, break your fast with something. Morning calories seem to burn more quickly than calories consumed later in the day since your body is replenishing what is used up overnight.
- Stop eating in the afternoon. The studies showed that eating past mid-afternoon (about 3 PM) hindered weight loss in the study participants; while those that stopped eating by the middle of the afternoon tended to lose more weight than their cohorts.
- Additionally, better results came from eating the highest caloric meal at breakfast with a smaller lunch and even smaller dinner.
- Keep your eating inside an eight-hour window. That means starting your first meal and ending your last meal within the window and not eating or fasting for the remaining 16 hours of the evening and overnight.
Consider trying this eating cycle for 30 days and enlist family members to join you. You may just love you’re your new rhythm of life.