Lessons From A Diary 2: It’s all about Timing

Probably the most common mistake I see on Food Diaries is where clients leave long gaps between meals. Prior to starting a training and nutrition programme, the daily routine for most people will look something like this:

7.30 AM – Drag themselves out of bed.

9.30 AM – Tea/Coffee with a scone or muffin.

1 PM – Light lunch, usually consisting of a wrap or sandwich

6.30 PM – Main meal of the day, usually potatoes, rice or pasta combined with meat or fish and some vegetables.

7.30 PM – Biscuits/Chocolate/Sweets/Crisps with a cup of tea

8 PM – Biscuits/Chocolate/Sweets/Crisps with a cup of tea

9 PM – Biscuits/Chocolate/Sweets/Crisps with a cup of tea

9.30 PM – Biscuits/Chocolate/Sweets/Crisps with a cup of tea

Obviously there are a lot of problems with this (only slightly) exaggerated example but it is typical of a pattern that I see regularly. However there are a couple of fairly simple solutions. And one of the best is to eat smaller meals more regularly during the day.

The problem with the sample diet above is that the client eats practically nothing between getting up at 7.30am and having their main meal around 6pm. At that point they feel ravenous and therefore any notion of portion control or healthy food choices will go out the window. They also tend to combine this feeding frenzy with their least physically active portion of the day. This is a guaranteed method of teaching the body to be very good at storing fat.

A far healthier plan would involve something like the following:

7.30 AM –  Get out of bed, followed by breakfast within 20 minutes.

10 AM –  Light Snack.

1 PM –  Larger lunch

3.30 PM –  Light Snack

6.30 PM –  Small Evening Meal

Any training sessions in the evening should be followed by a small meal eaten within 20 minutes. By following the suggested meal plan, you can guarantee that your blood sugar and energy levels will be more balanced during the day and this, in turn, will help to avoid late-night over-eating and excess body fat.

Next week we’ll take a look at what you need to do during your training sessions in order to get lean and strong.

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