‘The Little Things That Make a Big Difference’ is an article series outlining weight loss and diet interventions that may seem insignificant, but can make a huge difference to the success of your diet plan.

Calorie timing in the holidays

We all seem to think that our bodies can tell time by themselves… we stress about the EXACT time of the day we should and shouldn’t be eating!

The reality is much less complicated. Sure, your body knows whether it’s day or night, but even that can become confused if you travel to a different time-zone. Your brain and your body run on patterns. And these patterns are not related to your meals.

What this means is that as long as you get the right number of calories per week you’re going to be okay, as far as your body is concerned. It doesn’t matter WHEN you get the calories, just that you get them.

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So what does this mean for the holidays?

You can plan ahead, and ‘save’ calories for those big holiday meals. For example, on Christmas eve, you’ll probably have a feast. So try to eat fewer calories earlier in the day so that you can enjoy yourself on the night. Eat fewer calories for breakfast the next day, and you’ll even things out over time.

It’s all about averages. So if you ate an AVERAGE of 2000 calories a day (or whatever you should be consuming based on your weight and energy requirements), it doesn’t matter what time of the day you ate them.

If you do this well, all the big festive meals won’t hurt your diet so much. A good example: you’re going to a braai with friends who eat a lot. Great. Just have a tiny breakfast and lunch that day, so you can have a big dinner.

This is a way you can enjoy yourself while still being ‘festive’ too. Try it.

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.