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I think every woman has heard about this weight loss ‘trick’ at some point, and possibly even tried it. The idea is that not eating any food after 6 PM will help you to lose weight. What’s the rationale?
Some say that the food that you eat close to bedtime is more likely to ‘stick’ and make you fat. Others believe that you’ll take in less calories overall if you stop eating at this specific time each day.
So, do these arguments ‘hold any weight’ (excuse the pun)? Let’s take a look at how this weight loss technique really affects metabolism and see whether it’s worth our while!
Any type of caloric restriction, whether it be skipping breakfast, eating too few calories or not eating after 6 pm can cause your metabolism to go into ‘survival mode’ which can definitely stall weight loss.
The body is incredibly adaptive…it will try to adapt to any circumstances it has to in order to ‘survive.’ So, when we restrict calories, our bodies may effectively say, “Gosh, seems like food is more scarce right now. Let’s save more calories as fat and store up for later.”
To make matters worse, if we restrict food at one time of the day, we’re likely to make up for it later. Skipping meals after 6 is likely to make you feel starved first thing in the a.m., and less likely to avoid the tempting treats at the coffee shop.
How frustrating this state of affairs can be for those of us that are trying to lose weight! But it does mean that we could be sabotaging weight loss efforts by following the ‘no eating after 6’ rule.
In a certain way, proponents of ‘not eating after 6’ are onto something. The evening hours are the time when we are most likely to eat mindlessly, and thus overeat. If we find ourselves eating not-so-healthy foods in front of the television during those after dinner hours, that’s a habit that is likely to cause weight problems.
However it’s the type of food we eat that causes the trouble, not the time of day we eat it. Making unhealthy food choices will affect your weight loss goals no matter what time of day those foods are eaten.
Surprising as it may sound, ignoring the ‘no eating after 6 pm’ rule and doing just the opposite can help you achieve your weight loss goals! On our Athlean-XX for Women nutrition plan, we recommend eating 5 – 6 small, healthy meals per day, the last of which is just shortly before bed.
Why does this work? When you eat small meals spaced throughout your waking hours, it trains the metabolism into keeping a steady rate and avoiding the ‘starvation mode’ response. Since the 8 hours that we’re asleep is a long period of time to go without food, it’s important to eat something small before bed and eat breakfast shortly after waking.
Eating 5 – 6 small healthy meals has other weight loss benefits beyond just a metabolism boost. It helps manage cravings to eat something once every few hours…especially those late night cravings which tend to be worse when we restrict ourselves throughout the day.
Eating every few hours also helps manage insulin levels, as well as ghrelin, one of our principal hunger hormones. Keeping these hormone levels steady helps decrease fat storage.
Eating small frequent meals is also easier on the digestion and helps to keep our energy levels steady throughout the day. It’ll help avoid those mid-morning and mid-afternoon slumps that send us to the vending machine or the nearest Starbucks for sustenance.
It’s worth repeating that the most important factor for weight loss is WHAT you eat. They say that weight loss is 80% diet, and at Athlean-XX for Women, we agree. The nutrition plan that comes as part of our Athlean-XX for Women fitness and nutrition system will help you learn to eat the best types of healthy, whole foods for weight loss.
You’ll learn how and what to eat to make your metabolism hum along like a well-oiled machine! Nutrition is the cornerstone of our program, because you need to eat well in order for your hard work in the gym (or home gym) to really bear fruit! Our nutrition plan is flexible and fits into your life easily – we promise you won’t have to cook separate meals for the family! Our fitness program is also a great fit because workouts are just 30 minutes per day.
If you want different results then it’s time to try something different! Give Athlean-XX for Women a try and see what you can do in just 90 days!
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