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The famous saying, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” has distorted our concept of what a balanced diet is and has caused more harm to our daily habits than just the false belief that eating a small dinner leads to weight loss.
This fictional story has made the time that you eat more important than what you actually eat throughout the day. Causing changes to people’s weight and body with it’s long-term effects. Do you want to know why eating very little, or nothing really doesn’t cause you to lose weight?
Stopping eating dinner, is NOT the solution
Not having dinner just to limit your calorie intake for the day is not the way to lose weight in the long run; especially if you want to maintain your ideal weight and avoid relapsing. Even though, when you first begin to eat less, your body initially loses weight, regularly skipping dinner, and following low calorie diets leads to metabolic disorders and weight gain.
Part of this loss will be the loss of muscle, which will slow your metabolism down. Why? Remember that your muscles are the ones that burn calories, so, the less muscle the less energy your body will need during the day. That is to say, the less mouths to feed (muscles) the less food you should prepare (eat) if you want to avoid your body storing the leftovers in the form of fat.
Doing this will enter you into a state of adapted thermogenesis, getting your body used to the reduction in calories, reducing energy expenditure, and preventing the release of energy that has accumulated as fat. Hence the typical phrase “but, I’m hardly eating, so why aren’t I losing weight?” The ideal thing to do is to practice intermittent fasting, where consuming normal amounts of food alternates with periods of controlled restrictions.
Picking at food instead of having dinner can be a double-edged sword
Snacking for dinner doesn’t necessarily have to be negative. The problem is that many times, this tempts us to abuse snacking and we lose control since it’s difficult to visualize how much you’re eating. In order to feel full your body needs around 15-20 minutes, but if you are snacking all evening your brain doesn’t receive the signals that your body has already had enough to eat.
Also, keep in mind that when you get home late and you’re tired we don’t usually think of preparing healthy snacks, we usually resort to something quick and easy like, over–processed foods full of sugars and trans fats, which don’t really give us the feeling of being full for a longer period of time, and they’re unhealthy. If you want to eat a bit lighter than usual, eat sitting down, and be fully present so that you can trigger the chemicals in your body to feel satisfied and full after eating.
Can I eat fruit for dinner?
If you’re someone who is generally fearful of eating fruit at night, you should bear in mind that what really matters is what you have eaten throughout the day and not at what time which maintains proper balance. In the end, this is what determines if the energy from that apple or peach you ate will be burned or stored in your body as fat. With a balanced diet, and eating with moderation throughout the day, having a piece of fruit for dinner won’t cause you to gain weight. Of course, it’s better to choose a fruit with low glycemic levels in order to avoid your blood sugar levels skyrocketing and thus later crashing, making you feel hungrier sooner than you think.
In conclusion, fruit neither makes you lose weight nor makes you fatter. It’s effect on your body depends entirely on what you eat throughout the day. Fruit is not magical enough to make you lose weight and is not evil enough to make you gain it either. Ideally however, you want to include other food groups that affect blood glucose levels less like vegetables and protein.
Start to be aware of the quality of the food that you give your body as well as how much you are giving it. Remove all those over processed, sugar-filled and trans fat foods. Start making the process of changing and adapting new eating habits easier by including other healthy habits into your routine, like physical activity and managing your emotions better.