Does it Matter When I Eat?

For many of us, we’re running around day-to-day trying to keep our head above water. Unfortunately, our eating can fall by the wayside.

“I’m too busy”. “I’m not hungry in the morning”. “I forgot to eat”. “I will eat next meal.”

Are just a few excuses we make to justify our lack of commitment to be our best. We are so focused on the “clock” and getting from place to place or meeting to meeting that we forget about our own “body clock”.

“Our internal timing device is a network of 37 trillion cellular clocks coordinated by a master clock-the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) located in the brain’s hypothalamus. The SCN controls the body’s daily rhythms, sleep, physical activity, body temperature and hormones”  (Inouye and Kawamura 1979).

Michael Young, a 2017 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine cautions, “skipping meals and skimping on sleep disrupts the body’s natural, coherent rythinicity”.

Inconsistent eating, relentless stress, sleep deprivation, and a sedentary lifestyle will throw off our circadian rhythm (our clock) causing havoc on our mental and physical health.

If you have used one of the many excuses above, you may need to reset your clock. However, you’re life is still busy and you’re not hungry first thing. So how do you reset your clock?

Here are a few suggestions to get your clock working to the best of its ability.

  1. Aim to not eat for 12-16 hours a day. Ideally at night. A study done in 2012 showed that mice that ate in an 8-hour window had no metabolic issues where as the other group of mice that did not have a time restriction became overweight and diabetic. So, put down the late night snacks, grab a lemon and warm water or a decaffeinated tea let your body rest. If you just “can’t” go without eating something, then protein would be best as it takes longer to digest than carbs, is less calories than fat, and can help you rebuild muscle tissue during your sleep.
  2. Plan. Either meal prep 1-2 x’s a week or plan what you’ll be eating each day of the week and stick to it! When you go to the grocery store only buy the items needed to help you prepare these meals/snacks and skip the mindless snack food.
  3. Eat some breakfast. Whatever time this may be for you, but try to have something after your window of not eating. If you’re not hungry or in a hurry, grab a meal replacement protein shake with a piece of fruit, toast and a hard boiled egg or two, or fruit and toast.

In closing, listening to your body’s clock and being mindful of what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat will go a long way. You don’t have to eliminate anything. Just be mindful and use moderation.

Scott Keppel is the owner of Scott’s Training Systems, a world-class coaching facility in Chandler, Arizona. He is a nationally certified trainer through NASM and ISSA. His mission is to empower women of all ages and fitness levels. For more information head to scottstrainingsystems.com or check him out on Instagram at @stsnation.

 

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