If you struggle with cravings in the evening, or feel powerless over your portions you may want to take a look at how you are eating earlier in the day.
As Registered Dietitians, many clients come to us with this eating pattern – start the day with a cup of coffee, maybe stop for lunch if they have time and by the time they get home they are starving, which results in an unbalanced dinner of excessive proportions, followed by some down time of sitting on the couch and snacking.
Leading to weight gain.
I often compare this to how sumo wrestlers eat; they wake up in morning and skip breakfast and train for several hours. Once done training they consume a very large meal with excessive portions, followed by a nap and then a second large meal.
Leading to weight gain.
In order to meet your weight loss goals studies show that following the Circadian Rhythm and eating every 2-3 hours will provide your body the fuel it needs and decrease the risk of getting too hungry and over eating. By starting your day with a meal (breakfast), then continuing to eat every 2-3 hours you will be able to better manage your energy and hunger levels. I recommend aiming to consume 2/3 of your calories before 4 p.m. to help with weight management.
Eating regular meals will help you maintain your energy and blood sugar level throughout the day. It will also help decrease your risk of overeating at any given time, reducing gastrointestinal distress, and improve energy levels, and improve food choices. One of the most common symptoms of irregular eating habits is craving foods high in fat, carbohydrate and salt starting mid-afternoon and continuing on into the evening. You will be impressed how much your cravings decrease when you nourish your body on a regular basis with wholesome food.
Tips for successes:
1. After waking starts your day with water instead of coffee; coffee can often suppress your appetite. I often encourage my clients to not have coffee until after they eat breakfast.
2. If you struggle with your appetite in the morning, wake up and have ½ a cup milk or juice right after waking to help increase your appetite. You’ll notice after a week or so that you start to wake up hungry.
3. Aim for balanced meals and snacks to help balance blood sugar levels and reduce mid-day and evening cravings (link to other blogs where we discuss this).
4. Eat every two to three hours; Plan to have breakfast and lunch with 1-2 snacks when needed. The goal is to eat most of your calories during the day when you need, versus eating after you need them in the evening.