Your eating schedule can have a huge effect on your weight loss! The time of day that you eat will play a critical role in your body’s ability to burn fat: start the day with a healthy breakfast and you’ll burn calories all morning long, and have an early dinner to prevent weight gain overnight. In fact, shifting your eating schedule slightly may be just what you need to encourage better fat burning and weight loss overall!
One study looked at the results of time-restricted feeding—shifting your meal times to within a certain schedule—on the bodies of middle-aged men. Men between the ages of 29 and 57 shifted their breakfast 90 minutes later into the day, and shifted their dinner 90 minutes earlier. After just 10 weeks of this diet, their snacking decreased and they reported a body fat decrease of 2%–all without any sort of dieting or any other changes to their eating habits.
A New Way to Overhaul Your Diet
The truth is that changing up your eating habits can be hard! You know what foods you like and what foods you dislike, so you may be struggling on whatever diet you’re currently trying. Giving up your favorite foods can be just as hard as incorporating new healthy foods into your diet. But with this new eating schedule, you may not have to follow a “diet” in the traditional sense. The men in the above-mentioned study made no changes to their eating, aside from their eating schedule. Thanks to this small shift, they were able to lose weight and decrease their snacking habits.
Why Time-Restricted Feeding Works
When there are very long periods between meals, your body often craves food in order to increase your available energy levels. You may end up snacking between meals or overeating come meal time, all because a lot of hours have passed between your meals. But with time-restricted feeding, you eat all of your food in a smaller time window. For example, if you shifted your 8 AM breakfast 90 minutes later to 9:30 and your 7 PM dinner 90 minutes earlier to 5:30, you’ll be eating all of your food within an 8-hour window. Three meals in 8 hours means one meal every 2 ½ hours—no way there’s enough time for you to feel snacky or hungry between meals!
Intermittent Fasting and Fat Burning
The great thing about this new eating schedule is that you can actually see serious fat-burning results. The diet encourages fat burning because during the 16 hours that you aren’t eating, your body will run out of glucose-based energy to burn. Seeing as you’ve trained your body to recognize that there won’t be any more food until the next day’s eating window begins, it will have no choice but to tap into stored fats and use them for energy. Thus, this form of intermittent fasting helps you burn a lot more fat.
Doing Time-Restricted Feeding Right
If you’re going to try this new way of eating, it’s important to remember that both quantity and quality matter. Just because you don’t NEED to diet, that doesn’t mean you should just eat whatever you want. The key is to stick with foods that are healthy, consume a balanced intake of carbs, proteins, and fats, and restrict yourself to a healthy number of calories. Overeating will make it harder for the intermittent fasting diet to promote weight loss. By watching what you eat and how much, you’ll ensure this new eating schedule does everything possible to help burn fat!