Circadian Rhythm of Weight Loss

“I’ll eat some breakfast, then change the world.” ~ Hairspray

The axiom of “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” has strong research validity. Our bodies function around a circadian rhythm, a kind of master clock that regulates hormones, calorie burn, and perception of appetite over a 24 hour period.

The circadian rhythm causes a natural and necessary slowing down of calories burned as we move through the day towards bedtime. Distributing the majority of calories consumed throughout the normal wake time (daylight) can have a positive influence on weight loss, weight management, and insulin production. Many studies show that these benefits occur when participants consume a higher percentage of their total daily calories at breakfast and lunch instead of dinner.

One study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who ate their main meal earlier in the day (before 3:00 p.m.) lost about 5 pounds more than those who ate later (22 pounds lost versus 17 pounds for late day eaters), with the same diet and exercise program.

Another study in the journal Obesity revealed that people eating a large breakfast (and smaller lunch and dinner) lost nearly 19 pounds compared to just 8 pounds for small breakfast eaters who ate larger meals later in the day. In addition, the levels of hunger, blood sugar, insulin and blood fats were improved among the hearty breakfast eaters.

Developing an eating “window” of 8 to 9 hours per day (thus avoiding late-night snacking) can also influence weight loss. Our metabolism has evolved to be higher during daylight hours, so calorie burn is more efficient then. As the evening comes, we tend to slow down our activities and increase fat storage.

And for those who aren’t hungry in the morning, consider your “breakfast” as simply the first meal of the day, whenever that may be. And make the last meal the lightest of all.

To your good health!

Coach Gayle

Gayle Wilson Rose
Certified Weight Loss Coach & Fitness Trainer

If you are struggling to maintain a healthy weight, eat cleanly or be physically active, consider partnering with a weight loss/health coach for one-on-one support and accountability in getting to a healthier place. A 15-minute no-obligation phone consultation is the next step. Get in touch to arrange yours today.

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