Yesterday morning I ran out of the house to go do fitness tests on some of my local firefighters. Typically, if I’m in a hurry I’ll grab a high fiber breakfast bar instead of my go-to big bowl of oatmeal with berries. But we were out of the bars so I had to go for an apple. I figured it would get me through the morning…and it did.
However, the apple provided significantly fewer calories than I normally eat for breakfast so I ended up eating a larger lunch than usual. I also ate lunch earlier than normal, since I was so hungry. And since I ate lunch early, I was hungry for dinner well before dinner time. So it was either have a big snack and then dinner, or wait and have a larger dinner than usual. (I did the first).
The point I’m trying to illustrate here is that we eat more when we can’t get our hunger under control, and the #1 way to control your hunger is to eat the greatest portion of your calories in the morning. In Nutrition, we call this “front loading your calories.” This is one of the reasons why people who eat breakfast are more likely to have a healthy weight; because they tend to eat less throughout the remainder of their days.
For firefighters, this tactic also provides a buffer for those times when you get a call just before sitting down for lunch/dinner. If you’re not absolutely famished, you’ll still have some energy to tackle the call.
Ultimately, you can still eat the same things, but if you eat more in the beginning of the day and then taper down from there, you’ll be able to eat less later, without the hunger struggle. Another reason this works for weight loss is because you have more waking hours to burn off your calories, whereas if you eat the most at night, they’ll go right to storage as you sleep.
Of course, another way to lose weight without eating less (or even obsessing over eating less) is to simply focus on eating the three most filling nutrients. You can read my blog post on that here.
Now I want to hear from you. Have you tried this strategy and had success? If not, try it out and let us know how it goes!
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Very true. Thanks for sacrificing your eating habits for this story. 🙂