Understanding more about our metabolism can make a huge difference to how easily weight drops off and stays off for the long term. I like to think of it as a furnace. It needs to be fed at the right times to burn the calories we are eating, instead of storing them as fat.
When we see the disconnect between a typical day and our metabolism it is easy to understand why so many of us are gaining weight. Japanese sumo wrestlers have understood this and follow a quite a number of our 'typical day' habits to bulk up their weight. They are up early, skip breakfast, and enjoy large meals followed by sleep.
We have hectic lives and are often juggling family routines with busy careers. However, even small changes can make a difference to how we burn our calories:
1. Start by having breakfast. If you don't have an appetite in the morning try having an earlier dinner and no snacks after 7pm for three consecutive evenings. Start small if you aren't hungry, for example with a couple of oatcakes and nut butter.
2. Make lunch a bigger meal. It doesn't have to be your main meal if that doesn't fit with your life. Bring left overs from dinner the night before to work. Or, instead of just a bowl of soup, make sure you include some protein with that (like chicken, fish, chickpeas, lentils).
3. Afternoon cravings will reduce if you follow points 1 and 2.
4. I encourage my clients to have a snack at 5pm, just as the metabolism is coming up. This takes pressure off dinner as you won't arrive home absolutely starving.
5. Evenings are definitely the danger-time in terms of storing calories. Try to eat earlier when possible and because you will have eaten more during the day, you will no longer rely on the bulk of your food in the evening.
These strategies are a great starting point if you are feeling overwhelmed by food choices, diet plans and media hype. In just a few days your energy will be on a more even keel which can spur you on to make healthier food choices.
David M. The Slow Down Diet. Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press, 2005. Print.
Eckel-Mahan K, Sassone-Corsi P. (2013). Metabolism and the Circadian Clock Converge. Physiol Rev. Jan; 93(1): 107-135
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