Have you heard about the term “timing” in cricket? When a batsman hits the ball at an exact time, the shot becomes very powerful, the ball goes fast and the batsman needs to spend very little energy to make it work, all he needs is to hit it at the right time!
Just like cricket, timing is an extremely important but often overlooked part of a diet. Eating right at the right time and in right proportion is the most sustainable way to become healthier.
Many people on diet tend to skip meals to reduce their calorie intake, but this puts the body into conservation mode (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starvation_response ). When you stay hungry for a long time, body tries to conserve as many calories as possible since it becomes insecure if it will get the next meal in time to be used for its energy requirements.
Instead of skipping meals, deceive your body by eating more, yes your read it correctly! Eat more if you want to lose fats, but choose foods that are high in nutrients, high in fibres and low in calories. Avoid added oil/butter/ghee on your food. Prefer foods which will need more energy from body to digest. I always ask patients to eat frequently and sufficiently so that body will never go into conservation mode. Eating more will increase your metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories when its resting.
Even if you’ve gorged on junk food during a meal, don’t try to make it up by skipping the next one. Its not going to help your fat loss. Instead this approach will reduce your nutrient intake & also your metabolism. In fact its better to have two fruits instead of one after an unhealthy meal to compensate for the extra calorie intake. The added fibres will help in burning those extra fats!
How to schedule your meals?
Now that you know the importance of not skipping any meals, lets look at how you can get the timing just right!
- Eat every 3-4 hours. It doesn’t have to be a full meal, it could be a fruit or a small healthy snack. But eating often keeps your body burning calories faster.
- For most people, a proper meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a snack break between these meals works best!
- Have a good sized, healthy breakfast. Instead of having biscuits and flakes, have cooked dishes like pohe, paratha, eggs.
- Finish dinner atleast 90 minutes before you go to sleep.