Eating & Fitness: Is Timing Everything?

There have always been rules: you must wait 15 minutes after eating before going in the pool and no eating after dinner.   (Some) rules are meant to be broken, like wearing white apres Labor Day, but author Haylie Pomroy, author of The Fast Metabolism Diet, tells us that there are types of food that you should eat during certain times of the day to effectively burn those calories, rather than store them as fat.  Today, she shares with us what her ideal daily food schedule looks like:

6am: Drink 16oz of water.  We wake up dehydrated, which can slow down metabolism and raise stress levels -- neither of which are effective in achieving or maintaining optimal health.  Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning (yep, even before coffee -- enter collective groan here) to get your body going and continue to sip throughout the day.  The exception to the rule is during mealtime.  "Drink no more than 8oz during meals.  If you drink too much, you'll dilute the stomach acid responsible for digestion."

First things first: water

7am: Eat a protein based breakfast, that includes healthy fats and carbs.  Eggs (or tofu scramble), whole wheat toast and berries would be a great option.  Why now? Eating a protein dense meal within an hour of rising can jump start your metabolism and prevent cravings later in the day.  Eating a breakfast heavy on carbs will leave you feeling hungry and in search of more a short time later.

10am: Protein + Fiber + Healthy fat = sustained energy.  Think an apple and almond butter or hummus with a sliced bell pepper.

An apple + almond butter are a nutritious snack and easily portable.  

1pm: Have a lunch with equal parts veggies and protein.  A large green salad with salmon, chicken or chickpeas; Steamed broccoli with a lean protein (such as salmon, chicken or lentils).  A piece of fruit for dessert will satiate your sweet tooth and also add more fiber to your day. Avoiding grain-based carbs between breakfast and dinner allows other nutrients to be absorbed more efficiently. 

4:30pm: Now is the time for healthy protein and fats. A cheese stick and a handful of almonds or a cup of chia seed pudding is ideal.  I tend to grab my "go to" snack: a combination of cacao nibs, raw almonds and raisins, which I keep in a glass jar at home and also a bag in my purse.  This pre-workout snack combo helps to break down amino acids, which aide in lean muscle development.  Make sure that you eat 30-60 minutes before hitting the gym, as your body will need time to break down and digest the food.

5:30pm : New research out of UCLA shows that afternoon exercise was most beneficial at regulating the circadian rhythms, which affect metabolism (and why sleep is SO important in maintaining health and in losing weight).

7pm: High protein, high-carb, low fat. Suggestions? Black bean burrito with rice and avocado; turkey burger, small sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon and a cup of sauteed kale or spinach.  Why? After a workout, you have a 1-3 hour window where the body continues to burn fat, so make sure you grab dinner within that time frame.   

The time line is reasonable, totally doable and for you time crunched folks (aka. most of us), this eating schedule doesn't require high tech tools or complicated recipes.