The beauty of self-monitoring one’s behavior is that — if you bother to go back and read — you have a chance to watch your self (“self” intentionally left separate), maybe even catch yourself before you slip. Well, I might be regressing, not sure though. Using the Livestrong website (I have no commercial interest) allows me to keep complete track of my nutrient intake and physical activity. An interesting discussion with a wonderfully ancient woman in the grocery store made me go back and check my sodium intake, which is well below 2 grams per day. I noticed, however, that I have been lumping my calories in “gulps”. Breakfast – check. Usually a banana, half-n-half in my coffee (yummy fat and protein), then nothing, nada, zilch until dinner and even later when I eat the remainder of my allotted 1200 calories – if I even eat that much. Hmmm.
Why am I doing this? Does it matter to my weight loss?
Part of the reason that I don’t eat after breakfast is that I have no hunger mid-day, even though I am listening to my body for physical hunger. When it is time for the family dinner and I start eating then I want to eat more. As the Germans say, “The appetite comes at the eating.” I’m concerned that my evening appetite is not hunger but something old, primitive, anxious, and eating is a way to sooth the feelings. Or, maybe there is more to it.
The impact on weight loss… Current data seem to suggest that when you eat (time of day) really doesn’t matter – throw out that “no food after dark myth.” Now, how often you eat just might be crucial to regulating hormones that control appetite and metabolism, such as leptin, ghrelin, insulin, growth hormone, god knows what else. Unfortunately, I cannot find anyone who agrees on the exact mechanism of how these hormone interact – except that they are screwed up in obese people. For example, leptin suppresses hunger but us fat folks have an excess of leptin. Also, no one agrees on how one should adjust the timing of meals to best manipulate these endogenous chemicals to help with appetite and thus weight loss – eat every 3 hours, 5 hours, don’t eat after 7, wait 11 hours between evening meal and breakfast, yada, yada, (and no scientific evidence, i.e., WAGs). Oh yes, there is a link between ghrelin and sleep and obesity – enough evidence that I can say – GET YOUR EIGHT HOURS!
I am convinced that eating the majority of my calories in one setting is bad for my weight loss. Why? Who the heck knows the exact mechanism? I will be looking at this with a scientific eye and getting back to you. For now, I’m spreading out my calories, getting back into a routine, and with the help of my physical terrorist, walking again!