Eating the bulk of your calories earlier in the day and having a lighter dinner a couple of hours before bed really does help with losing weight, leading dietitians have revealed.
Leanne Ward, from Brisbane, and Susie Burrell, from Sydney, are the co-hosts of the hugely popular The Nutrition Couch podcast, which aims to dispel myths around dieting and healthy eating and explain how you can produce the best results.
In the latest episode, the fat loss dietitians highlighted a new research paper that found that people who eat earlier often lose more weight than those who have their main meal in the evening.
They said women in particular get their ‘spread of calories throughout the day’ wrong – and this contributes to unexplained weight gain and fluctuating energy levels.
Eating the bulk of your calories earlier in the day and having a lighter dinner a few hours before bed helps with losing weight, dietitians revealed (Susie Burrell and Leanne Ward pictured)
‘Working with clients every day, I have always advised women to have the majority of their calories – where possible – in the first half of the day,’ Susie said on the podcast.
‘I know it’s hard as many clients are busy working mums who are rushing around and they only get the chance to think about their nutrition when they get home in the evening and the kids have gone to bed.
‘But a lot of us are sitting down to have a main meal, snacks and maybe a glass of wine at night in front of the TV and it’s just not the best time to have it.’
Susie and Leanne said the bulk of women go wrong with their ‘spread of calories’ throughout the day as they are busy and only think about nutrition in the evening (stock image)
Leanne agreed with Susie and said it’s never a good idea to go to bed on a full stomach.
‘You feel bloated, sluggish and the body doesn’t have enough time to break down all that extra energy consumed at nighttime,’ she said.
Instead, eating well for weight loss requires ‘planning and preparation’.
‘I think a lot of people fall down at lunch,’ Susie said.
‘They might grab a coffee and a pastry in the morning and then lunch gets pushed back. Busy working women often grab things on the go and then they inevitably snack in the afternoon, which also pushes back dinner.
‘Dinner ends up being the main meal of the day with the family. It’s often heavy and carb-y like pasta, Mexican or something.’
She said instead of doing this, you need to prioritise having a lighter, earlier dinner – something like fish or chicken – and a bigger meal before 12pm.
‘The old saying eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper has some bearing in truth,’ Leanne said.
The dietitians said you need to rely on more than just a cup of coffee and potentially a pastry in the morning, and should try and have a main meal before 12pm (stock image)
They (pictured) said lunch should be the ‘main meal’ of the day and soup or a salad isn’t always enough to keep you going till dinnertime
The dietitians recommend women try and eat a proper breakfast where possible, whether that means eating something at home before you go to work or packing something healthy and nutritious to take to the office with you.
Then, lunch should be the ‘main meal’ of the day and soup or a salad isn’t enough to keep you going till dinnertime.
Instead, you might do these and add a wholegrain wrap or sandwich to your meal.
‘Dinner should be light and early to give your body time to digest,’ Leanne said.
‘And if you enjoy something sweeter at night or a glass of wine, you might think of a way to make it lighter too,’ Susie added.
‘It might be choosing between wine or dessert in the evening or having fish instead of steak at night.
‘It’s all about the body’s circadian rhythm and hormones, and optimising it for the best weight loss results.’
To find out more about The Nutrition Couch, you can visit the website here.