To get fit, you need to know the best time of the day to eat and exercise. Research shows the worst time of the day to eat is at night, and the best time of day to eat is before 6 or 8 pm.
Before this research, many people thought the total number of calories eaten all day is more important than when you consume those calories…but that’s not true.
“How or why a person gains weight is very complicated, but it clearly is not just calories in and calories out,” said Fred Turek, professor of neurobiology and physiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology. “We think some factors are under circadian control. Better timing of meals, which would require a change in behavior, could be a critical element in slowing the ever-increasing incidence of obesity.”
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And here’s a summary of the best and worst times of the day to eat and exercise, plus a few weight loss tips…
What is the Best Time of Day to Eat to Lose Weight?
The worst time of day to eat is at night, when your body is sleepy
Your metabolism slows down at night, when your body wants to sleep. This is not the best time of day to eat if you want to lose weight, because your body won’t process the food. To stop yourself from snacking at night, just picture that food going straight to your bottom and belly and turning into fat….ugh.
Note that this weight loss tip has been refuted by some researchers. Some say that it doesn’t matter when you eat; your total calorie consumption is what matters most. What’s the truth? Whatever works for you!
Eat at the same time every day
This research from Northwestern University shows that eating at irregular times can lead to weight gain. It’s the first study to prove a cause and effect relationship between meal timing and increased weight gain. To lose weight, stagger your meals and snacks so you don’t get overly hungry – and so you’re not eating at night.
For more weight loss tips, read The 8 Best Ways to Lose Weight.
Tune into your natural body rhythms
An effective way to lose weight is to listen to your body. Your daily cycle of feeding, activity and sleep, with respect to external dark and light cycles, is called your “circadian clock.” This internal clock also regulates energy use – which is why the worst time of day to eat is at night – it leads to weight gain.
To lose weight, remember how gross it feels to wake up full
This is one of my favorite weight loss tips! When I eat too much at night, I wake up feeling full and sluggish – and I don’t sleep very well. But when I go to bed slightly hungry, I wake up feeling energized, and eager for my morning cup of coffee and breakfast. Remembering how bad I feel when I wake up full usually reminds me not to eat food at night.
The best time of day to exercise to lose weight
Dr Oz says the best time of day to exercise is in the morning, shortly after you get up. I’ve also heard that the best time to exercise is in the late afternoon, when your metabolism is burning a bit more effectively. I think the consensus is that the best time of day to exercise is when you can fit it into your schedule!
Many people find that a digital pocket pedometer increases the number of steps they take every day, which helps with weight loss.
For more weight loss tips, read Can’t Afford Jenny Craig? Help Losing Weight For Free.
What do you think of these best times of the day to eat and exercise? Comments welcome below…
Source: Northwestern University (2009, September 7). That Late-night Snack: Worse Than You Think. ScienceDaily.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.