One of the first
changes to eating habits people make when they decide to shed a few pounds is
usually to have their final meal of the day in the early hours of the evening. However,
adjusting meal times without considering the actual content of your diet and
training schedule is likely to be counterproductive.
By now, most people have
become familiar with the basic formula for weight loss, which is that the
calories you burn in a day should exceed your caloric intake. In other words,
you should be aiming to have a caloric deficit at the end of each week.
Therefore if you are
tracking your calories and how active you stay throughout the day, the effects
of eating late are minimised, at least with regards to fat loss. Furthermore,
if you are someone who prefers to train at late hours, it is unrealistic to
expect to have had your final meal early in the evening. Your body needs fuel
to power through a workout, and also needs to refuel upon its completion.
It is also important to
consider the possibility of late night binging if you eat too early. Even after
having a well balanced meal, a lot of people find it difficult to go long
stretches without getting hungry again. Likewise, if you have dinner at say
6pm, unless you’re disciplined enough to be in bed within the next couple of
hours, you’ll probably find yourself trying to subdue cravings with water for
the rest of your evening.
There has been heaps of
research done to determine what the standard meal schedule should be, and
indeed there are benefits to eating earlier. But nonetheless, if your primary
goal is cutting down your body fat, what you eat and how you train should be
your main focus, as opposed to when to put the cutlery away for the day. But to
play safe, if you eat quite late, give your body some time to digest some of
the food before you go to bed because when you sleep your digestive system
slows down as your need for energy reserves is small.
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