By Tina Paymaster, PHASE IV Functional Nutrition & Health Specialist
When it comes to weight loss, it’s not just about what you eat, but also (and more importantly) how you eat.
Our eating habits can promote digestion or hinder it. Impaired digestion can lead to inflammation which can cause weight gain and a lot of other serious health issues including food sensitivities, allergies, pain, arthritis, brain fog, skin issues and depression.
Improper eating habits can also impact your metabolism, so while you may think you’re eating all the right foods, if you’re not eating them in the right way, this may have a negative impact.
Below are 5 eating habits that can help support your weight loss efforts.
1. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is a huge buzz word these days, but its benefits are real. While their are many ways to intermittent fast, the most basic and common one is to go 16 hours between your last meal of the day and your first meal the following day. This may look like having dinner at 6pm and then eating breakfast at 10am the following day. If 16 hours feels like a stretch for you, start with 12 hours and then work your way up. The extended fasting period forces your body to tap into fat stores and use that as energy. If you’re not doing a high intensity workout the next morning, doing some fasted cardio can turn up your body’s fat burning potential. One exception to the intermittent fasting is if you have adrenal fatigue or workout at high intensities in which your body needs fuel to support your activities. To know if intermittent fasting is right for you, it’s best to consult with your doctor or nutritionist.
2. Make lunch the main meal of the day
Mid-day from about 10am-2pm is when your digestion is the strongest, so this is the ideal time to be taking in most of your calories. Unfortunately most people forget to eat lunch and then end up eating a large dinner. For most people, mid-day is when you are doing work that requires brain power. In addition, you will be able to burn through the calories you’re eating by the end of the day. In the evening, your body wants to wind down and get ready for sleep. Digesting a ton of food isn’t high on the priority list. Therefore, if you want to lose weight, try eating a larger lunch and a small dinner, preferably something easy to digest like lean protein and steamed veggies, soup or a stew.
3. Eat slower
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain and stomach to register feelings of fullness. During the eating process, certain hormone are released in the body that help to regulate hunger. If you eat too fast, there won’t be enough time for your brain to receive the signals from the hormones and can lead to overeating. By eating slower, you not only allow ample time for your stomach and brain to communicate about your actual nutrient needs, but you also allow yourself to savor and enjoy your food more. This can help you feel more satisfied from your meals because you actually taste your food. A helpful tip when it comes to eating slower is to eat away from distractions such as the computer, phone or television.
4. Don’t eat if you’re not hungry
One of the ways we can throw our body’s metabolisms out of balance is by not listening to its hunger signals. If you aren’t feeling hungry and you eat just because it’s 12pm, you risk overloading your body and impairing your digestion. While you don’t want to wait until you are feeling famished, making sure you are ready to receive food is important to ensure the body can properly digest and assimilate that food. If you feel that you are hungry all the time, or rarely have an appetite, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor or nutritionist to correct any underlying imbalances. In addition, if you’re not hungry after your workout, it’s still a good idea to eat a little something to support the recovery process, which brings us to the next eating habit.
5. Eat after your workout
Eating protein and carbs after your workout is important to support the body in increasing muscle protein synthesis, decreasing muscle protein breakdown, restoring glycogen stores and supporting proper recovery. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so maintaining proper muscle mass is essential to weight loss efforts.
There are many diet and lifestyle factors that can impact your ability to lose weight. Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Nutritionists and we can help you to identify what these are and what you need to do to progress forward. Call us at 310-582-8212