When you’re trying to lose weight, skipping breakfast may seem like a good idea. One less meal means fewer calories, and fewer calories means faster weight loss, right?
If it were this simple, weight management would not be a problem for many Americans. Studies have shown that less than 40% of Americans eat breakfast every day. While this may work for a high-metabolism teen, women who are overweight with struggling metabolisms absolutely must eat breakfast. Even better, eat the majority of your calories earlier in the day.
The results of a study published in Obesity showed that eating a big breakfast can help you lose weight. Keep in mind that “big” is a relative term and doesn’t indicate that a Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast will help you lose weight.
In this study, 93 overweight and obese women with metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance) were assigned to one of two groups. The first groups ate a 1,400-calories diet with most of the calories at dinnertime. The second group also ate a 1,400-calories diet, but most of the calories were at breakfast. Both groups ate the same amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrate.
After 12 weeks, those who at the most food at breakfast lost more than double the weight (19 pounds versus 7.9 pounds) and they lost twice as many inches from their waistlines. The breakfast group also had better medical results with greater decreases in glucose, insulin, and triglycerides as well as lower levels of hunger-regulating hormone.
How much did the participants in the breakfast group eat? Breakfast contained 700 calories, lunch 500 calories, and dinner 200 calories. You don’t have to restrict your intake to only 1,400 calories per day to get results. Most women will lose weight at calorie levels well above this amount.
No matter what your daily calorie requirements are, it may be worth experimenting with the timing of your calories to see how your metabolism responds. Start with 50% of your daily calories before lunchtime and leave just 20% for your dinnertime. If your target is 1600 calories per day, your calories targets may look something like this:
Breakfast – 600 calories
Morning snack – 200 calories
Lunch – 500 calories
Dinner – 300 calories
You will be most successful with this plan by including plenty of lean protein in your meals and a large portion of low-calories vegetables at dinnertime.
Give it a try for 4 weeks or longer and let me know how it works for you!