Though the timing of our meals is often a neglected part of our diet plans, it is a highly significant one. By focusing on our meal times and our circadian rhythm we can achieve optimal metabolism of our body, and thus can lead a healthy lifestyle. Researchers have proved having meals in sync with body’s internal clock can help to prevent many diet related problems like diabetes, hypertension, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, sleep disorders, etc.
The Old Wise Saying ‘Health is Wealth’ has become quite a Paradox in modern day’s sedentary lifestyles. As much as we struggle to find time for our Health, it’s absolutely insane to neglect our food habits and patterns. But there are times when no matter how religiously we follow our Diet plan, or no matter how hard we hit it out in the gym the weighing scale doesn’t come down. And that’s when the vicious cycle of feeling depressed and losing control starts which ends up in total failure of the DIET plan. If this situation sounds familiar to you then is the article for you.
We all see people around us who eat anything and everything but still get a slimmer and well toned body, which we cannot get despite strictly following our prescribed diet charts. The only way we console ourselves in such situations is by believing our metabolism is not as good as theirs. Well this might be true but there can be other reasons also like hormonal imbalance, vitamin deficiencies, stress or just incorrect timing of your meals. Yes… improper meal-times do take a toll on body weight and that too quite significantly.
Typically our diet plans revolve around what to eat and what not to eat. However, it is of equal importance to focus on “when to eat”. Correct timing of having our food can help us to reap more benefits from our diet.
The best time for having meals is that which is in sync with our circadian rhythm i.e. body’s internal clock. Circadian rhythm regulates all our body functions like Sleep, Digestion and other physiological processes. Skipping meals or having them out of sync with the circadian clock can adversely affect our body resulting in fatigue, heartburn, spikes in blood sugar levels and WEIGHT GAIN.
Starting your day with an early and nutritious breakfast is a big thumbs up as it is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast replenishes the blood sugar levels and gives us more stamina and energy throughout the day. The best time to have breakfast is within 30 minutes to 1 hour after waking up in the morning; more precisely in between 7.00 – 8.00 a.m. Skipping breakfast is a big NO as body gets starved for almost 15-16 hours resulting in less production of the enzymes needed for digesting fat. Also you end over indulging in later meals causing surge in blood sugar.
As the day moves on, towards noon, we get busier and our energy starts draining out that is when our body needs refueling, but we often overlook our cravings and delay our lunch, due to work pressure whether at home or at work. However recommended gap between breakfast and lunch shouldn’t be more than 3-4 hours. The best time to have lunch is in between 12.30 to 1.00 p.m.
In the evening as we are done with our work, we become less active and the calorie absorption in our body also becomes slower. Any heavy meal late in the evening provides lot of calories which get stored up in the body as FAT, so Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day and should be eaten at least 3 hours before bedtime. Eating close to bedtime can increase blood sugar and deteriorate the quality of sleep. Ideally it is best to have dinner before 7.00 p.m. and it should never be delayed beyond 8.00 p.m.
So the mantra is “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”, follow a healthy diet regimen, with a healthy lifestyle and keep your meal times in sync with your circadian clock. Stick to the same meal times every day. Drink loads of water throughout the day, it will make you feel fuller for longer duration and you can avoid nibbling on mid day snacks. Control your sweet tooth with fruits and yogurt. Cut on your intake of refined & processed food, opt for fresh stuff and say no to night snacking.
With all these little modifications in your food habits you will surely be able to push the weighing scale down without over-stressing yourself. As they say “smart work” is better than “Hard work”.
Happy Living, Happy Eating !!
– Aafiya Siddiqui
A full time work from home mother, she utilises her spare time to contribute insightful articles around day to day lifestyle challenges and their remedies, that all can relate to. Trust Aafiya to provide apt advice on diet mechanism, nutritional facts and common home remedies.
Away from writing, Aafiya is statistics post graduate, has worked earlier in the field of Research & Education and loves travelling.