9 Simple Eating Rules That’ll Ensure You Burn Fat All Day Long

Who knew it could be so easy?


Women's Health |

How and when you eat can impact your health – and your weight. Upgrade your eating habits to maximise fat burning and keep hunger at bay.

Certainly what we eat has an enormous impact on our health and weight status. But did you know that when and how we eat also make a huge difference? Eating at the appropriate times throughout the day will help to maximise fat burning and keep hunger at bay.

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1. Aim to eat every 3 to 4 hours

Most people eat three meals and one snack, while others may prefer four smaller meals; you’re free to find the combination that works best for you. Timing your meals in this way will improve your fat loss by preventing excess insulin, allowing leptin to work its magic on appetite control and metabolism, and by balancing the stress hormone cortisol. You should also enjoy your meals at the same time every day.

2. Eat within 1 hour of rising

Your mom was also right when she told you breakfast was the most important meal of the day. When you skip breakfast, you lose its stimulating benefits on your metabolic rate. You also become more likely to eat unbalanced meals, more kilojoules, and larger amounts of saturated fat throughout the day. Plenty of research shows that those of us who skip breakfast are actually heavier. Missing out on a healthy morning meal also increases stress hormones.

3. Never eat within 3 hours of bedtime

Eating too close to bedtime raises your body temperature, increases blood sugar and insulin, prevents the release of melatonin, and cuts down on growth hormone release. All these factors interfere with the quality of your sleep and the natural fat-burning benefits of a good night’s rest. Furthermore, sleep deprivation leads to more cravings and a greater likelihood of overeating the next day.

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If you must eat before bed, opt for a light meal or snack that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat, such as a protein shake made with berries and water, salad with grilled chicken, or a shrimp and veggie stir-fry.

4. Start the day with protein

For better appetite control throughout the day, try combining your starchy carbs at lunch, dinner, or after your workouts rather than at breakfast. Stick to eggs or whey protein smoothies for breakfast and you’ll eat less throughout the day.

5. Always eat within 45 minutes of finishing your workout

This meal or snack is the only one of the day that should not contain much fat and should be higher in carbohydrates. For example, have a smoothie made with juice, fruit, and protein powder, but no flaxseeds or oil.

6. Never do your weight training on an empty stomach

You will need energy from your foods to perform optimally. You may, however, complete your cardio before eating if your session will be less than 30 minutes.

7. Focus on your food

Do not eat while you are doing anything else (i.e., watching TV, working, surfing on the computer, etc.). Focus on chewing your food and relaxing while you eat.

8. Eat protein first

Eat the protein on your plate first to help speed the signal to your brain that you are full.

9. Drink alcohol last

If you have alcohol or wine, do so after your meal to enhance the hormones involved in appetite control and digestion.

Excerpted from The Hormone Diet.

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