Why It Matters When You EatBy Elisa - Jenny Craig
If limiting your intake of calories is helping you lose weight, then cutting back, even more, should speed up the process, right? Not necessarily.
Let’s talk about why it not only matters what you eat, but when. Read on for five tips to help you stay on track with your weight loss goals and to help you be more mindful when it comes to enjoying your next meal.
1. Avoid skipping meals
It may seem counterintuitive, but skipping meals can actually hinder your weight loss. By skipping meals during the day you’re likely to become extremely hungry, which can lead you to make poor food choices or overeat later (hello late-night snacks). One study1 even found that skipping breakfast may put men at higher risk for coronary disease compared to those who fueled up in the morning. In addition, eating breakfast and the right foods can help you stay fuller longer. This helps you stay on track for your weight loss goals.
2. Enjoy healthy snacks
Whether you’re filling up on fresh and free foods like non-starchy vegetables or enjoying a piece of fruit, it’s important to eat healthy snacks throughout the day. The same principles that apply to skipping meals also apply to snacks; not only do they keep you experiencing a dip in blood sugar (and energy), but enjoying small, healthy snacks can help ensure that you continue to keep your metabolism revved throughout the day.
3. Follow a planned menu
If you’re just starting a planned weight loss program like Jenny Craig, you may be surprised at the sheer volume of food—meals, snacks, free foods and even desserts—that make up your daily plan. Over time, making healthier choices will help you develop the skills for long-term success such as portion control and balance. If your meal plan calls for added vegetables or a piece of fruit, just know that it’s an important part of your nutritional intake for the day.
4. Stay on schedule
Controlling hunger and balancing your blood sugar are both critical to your body and weight loss success. In fact, studies show2
that eating smaller meals with regular snacks can help you balance your “good” and “bad” cholesterol, along with managing your appetite and blood sugar. How often should you eat? This is a common question many people have when starting their weight loss journey. Jenny Craig recommends eating three meals and three snacks throughout the day, typically aligned with daylight hours and avoiding late-night meals or snacks. By eating healthy snacks in between meals, you’ll be less likely to feel ravenous at your next meal. Here's one example: if you have breakfast at 7 a.m., you would enjoy a snack around 10 a.m., lunch at noon, your afternoon snack around 3 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m.
5. Time-restricted eating
Another food intake strategy that is gaining support is called Time-Restricted Eating or a Daylight Nutrition Strategy. This is the science behind Jenny Craig’s new Rapid Results weight loss program. This strategy uses our bodies natural circadian rhythm and metabolism to help you work towards your weight loss goals.
Essentially, there is a 12-hour nourishment period during the day to consume your daily calories. After that, your body goes into a 12-hour rejuvenation period—most of this time is spent sleeping. Since your metabolism is more efficient in the morning to late afternoon, this eating strategy helps to work with your body’s natural process. Here’s an example of how you would put this into practice: You would start your day with breakfast at 8 a.m. and finish your last meal of the day by 8 p.m. Tuck in for bed at a reasonable hour and start your routine over again the following day!
With so many different opinions, it can be confusing when deciding how often you should eat to lose weight. Remember, the same food schedule won’t work for every single person. Listen to your body and find a strategy that works best for you and makes you feel good!
Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig