Eating by the clock is a no-extra-willpower-required way to help you lose more pounds, boost satisfaction and stick with your weight-loss plan for the long haul. Just by working with your body's natural rhythms and needs, you can boost diet success.
The latest proof: A new Spanish report says eating your main meal earlier in the day could help you lose 29 percent more weight.
Why? We're beginning to suspect that eating helps reset your body clock every day, the same way exposure to sunlight can. Downplaying or ignoring breakfast, then eating a major meal late in the day may throw off the timing that helps keep your metabolism humming - throwing it out of sync with the big body clock in your brain.
This could mean the difference between calories getting burned for fuel or stored as fat after a meal.
- Better-timing lesson: Start the day with breakfast and make sure you have some protein (there's plenty of evidence that breakfast-eaters are slimmer). Then try to eat the biggest meal of your day at lunch. Keep dinner satisfying by diving into chunky, filling foods like salads, cooked and raw veggies, and veggie-packed soups, stews, stir-fries and casseroles. Then try these two additional ways to turbocharge weight loss while factoring your new, better timing into the equation.
- Slow down. Making meals last longer boosts release of appetite-satisfaction hormones that help you feel full. People who spent 30 minutes eating a bowl of ice cream had 25 percent to 30 percent higher levels of two key I-do-not-feel-hungry-any-longer hormones (peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1) than those who wolfed down their treats in just five minutes. Slow eaters also saw levels of these hormones remain elevated for the next two and a half hours.
- Better-timing lesson: Linger over your meals. Put utensils down between bites, make conversation, listen to music while you eat or just take in the view from your kitchen or dining-room window.
- Take time off. Yup, breaking your weight-loss diet now and then could help you stick with it. In one fascinating study, researchers found that people who took time off - they stopped counting calories and didn't weigh themselves - lost just as much weight as people who dieted continuously for 11 months. Why? Knowing you'll get a vacation soon makes it easier to resist temptation today.
- Better-timing lesson: If you find you've been cheating a lot lately, reset your mealtime clock. Then, once you're back on schedule, give yourself a break. Take the weekend off, declare a "no diet" day once a month in the middle of the week, or if you're on a long-term weight-loss plan, give yourself a whole week off.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.