You’ve heard all the clichés before: “You
are what you eat,” “Calories in, calories
out.” We all know full well that what we put in
our bodies has almost everything to do with
how we lose, or gain, weight.
Well, just when you thought you had it all
figured out and started replacing your cake
with a fruit salad, we find there’s more to it
than that. A study recently conducted at
Northwestern University and reported in med
icalnewstoday.com gives strong evidence that
it’s not always about what you eat, but when.
According to the study, how and when our
body uses its energy appears to be linked to
our sleep patterns. Our circadian rhythms
want us to sleep when it’s dark and be ac
tive during the day. We’re just wired that way,
despite our chosen lifestyle.
Evidence from the study indicates that eat
ing during times of the day when we should
be resting – as well as not eating when we
need the most energy (such as breakfast) –
greatly increases our chances of putting on
weight. This is especially problematic for night
owls and shift workers.
A common thread among overweight peo
ple is that they tend to skip breakfast, eat large
midday and/or evening meals and fill the gaps
with unhealthy snacks. Drinking alcohol late
into the night (followed by the munchies) does
n’t help, either. By comparison, a fit person
may take in the same amount of calories dur
ing the day, but because they ate a good (and
early) breakfast and tapered off their intake
prior to going to bed, their calories will be put
to good use and are less likely to be stored
as fat. They’ll also sleep better and have more
energy during the day.
A change in diet is often the hardest thing
about losing weight. Although eating health
ier food is always good practice, the good
news is that you may be able to get off to a
good start just by reworking your eating
schedule. This will help your body get the most
from the food you already take in. You can
work on improving the food you eat later.
Shifting away from bad habits to a healthy
lifestyle can be an overwhelming task for some,
but, just like our goal setting, we need to think
of the small things we can master bit by bit.
If you’re struggling with nutrition, this may be
the step that breaks the case for you
Brian Merrill is a certified fitness trainer. firstname.lastname@example.org