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When, Can Be Just as Important as What You Eat

OSF HealthCare

While surveys show fewer people are doing it than previously, losing weight is still at the top of the list for New Year's resolutions in 2019. But, as most of us know, it's easier said than done.
There are plenty of considerations when committing to a slimmer you. One you might not have thought of is what time you eat. Registered dietician Adam Shafer, Coordinator of Weight Management at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center, says getting on a regular eating schedule can help with weight loss.

"If you're not really eating anything all day, at nighttime, after dinner, you're no snacking on broccoli," says Adam Shafer, weight management coordinator at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. "Let's just face it - we're snacking on junk food. And, usually, most of the bulk calories is going to be then and we're not being active at the end of the day, so it's just getting stored because it's not even being used as far as the energy consumption. So, that's how it can lead to weight gain."  

The rule of thumb is to do most of your food consumption during daylight hours. However, Shafer says, that depends on your circadian rhythm - or your sleep/wake cycle.  

This is particularly important for your insulin level. They say 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day'. That's because your blood sugar level is most sensitive in the morning.     

"Whether a diabetic, or not, you can still have peaks and valleys with your blood sugar," says Adam Shafer, weight management coordinator at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. "And people who are non-diabetic - what's going to happen is their insulin is going to kick in and it's going to take in all that blood sugar. Again, if you're not being active, if you're not doing anything and you ate too much - it's going to store it. Either it knows to store it, or use it."

Shafer suggests always eating something in the morning, but make sure it has nutritional and caloric value.  
Beyond that - you intake will vary depending on your height, weight and activity level. Shafer says, on average, minimally active folks should consume 12 -hundred to 14-hundred calories daily. While highly active persons could eat 2-thousand to 25-hundred calories to maintain their weight.  

Either way, don’t start on a weight loss regimen without first consulting a dietician and/or primary care physician.

"Especially if you have multiple health conditions," says Adam Shafer, weight management coordinator at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. Kidney disease, diabetes - all can really relate on timing, too. So, kidneys need time to function and then process all the things you’re eating. If you're only eating once a day, that's a lot for your kidneys to process in one sitting."

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