When you’re on a weight loss journey, it’s essential to review many of your everyday habits—in addition to actually dieting and exercising—in order to optimize your success. For instance, simple tasks like meal prepping and making a detailed shopping list are all positive ways to help you stay on task. Another thing that can be overlooked is learning the best times to eat meals for rapid weight loss, and we spoke to an expert to find out the scoop.
Melissa Mitri of Melissa Mitri Nutrition reveals the best times to eat meals for rapid weight loss, and why. Mitri explains that your body usually digests food more productively during the early part of the day. It does this to use the food you consume for energy rather than storing it as fat. Your hormones, like insulin, for instance, are likely the reason for all of this, Mitri says. They are much more efficient in the first part of the day in order to line up with your circadian rhythm.
Schedule an eating window to fast and give your metabolism a rest.
Mitri specifies, “The best times are between 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. A recent research study showed eating solely during these hours may lead to more effective weight loss, blood pressure control, and mood improvement.”
Of course, you have a little wiggle room with these times, but typically, it’s better to consume meals earlier each day. Now 3:00 p.m. can be a tough deadline. Although that time is ideal, a good number of experts suggest not eating past 8:00 p.m., although there are no concrete studies that back it up.
In light of this, Mitri suggests, “Instead of focusing on a specific cut-off time, it’s more effective to consume the majority of your calories earlier in the day. Schedule an eating window of eight to 12 hours, such as 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., so that you fast for at least 12 hours and give your body and metabolism a rest. Setting this fasting window has been seen to be more beneficial for weight loss than any specific cut-off time for eating.”
Eat the majority of your calories at breakfast.
We also have the skinny—yup, let’s bring on all the positive vibes!—on what meals you should focus on throughout the day in order to speed up your weight loss. Research proves that you can lose more weight by opting to have more calories for breakfast instead of a late dinner.
Mitri recommends eating more protein earlier in the day, as this habit will assist in regulating your hunger hormones and appetite—and this is backed up by research. Mitri points out, “Eating more protein with breakfast specifically may help reduce your overall calorie intake once the day is done. Research shows we also burn more calories after a breakfast meal than after dinner, which is yet another reason to get in a higher percentage of calories in the morning.”
For the rest of your meals, choose high-protein sources.
For a great protein breakfast, consider an omelet with a portion of fruit and Greek yogurt on the side. It’s important to get in some solid protein during each meal, but breakfast is king and should be the most substantial, according to Mitri. For the rest of the day, ground turkey, fish, lean chicken, seeds, nuts, lentils, beans, tofu, and low-fat dairy are all excellent sources of protein.