Many diet plans, nutritionist and people recommend eating dinner at 6-7 and eat nothing after that. Is it practical and how long can an average person stick to this routine to lose weight? How much weight can you really lose from this? What happens when you get back to eating at 9 :00 pm?
Broadly metabolism gets affected by three things: quality of food that we eat, how much gap do we give between meals and how much physical activity do you manage to get in your daily routine. A light snack can take you 2 hours to digest and a large meal can take upto 4 hrs to digest. At night our physical activeness reduces and therefore might make the metabolism dip slightly.
We know that metabolism is the rate at which the body burns the food to produce calories for energy and digestion. This rate of metabolism can be accelerated or slowed down with the help of food and exercise. When our body gets food at regular interval it fastens the metabolism as it gets into the mode of sufficient food and digests food faster. The metabolism slows down when the body doesn’t get food when it’s hungry and slows the rate at which calories burn. Also more muscles in the body increase the metabolic rate and exercising and other activities also burn calories which revs up metabolism.
In India where our lifestyle is different along with meal timings, so would dinner at 7 pm work best for us? Usually evening time we like to snack and then eventually have dinner by 8-9 pm. But some people who have early dinner don’t eat the evening snack. To understand the scenario better what if one eats dinner at 7 pm. Then ideally they should sleep by 9-10 pm. This also means the next meal will be at 8-9 am next morning. Eating dinner so early causes a gap of 12-14 hrs between the two meals. This gap results in slowing down the metabolism which essentially makes you start storing calories than actually burning them.
When you are planning your meal for dinner keep it light and simple. Eat less or avoid starchy foods. Eat less of carbs and add protein rich food like eggs, meat, beans, legumes etc. Have your meal 2 hrs before sleeping and avoid mid night munching. Also exercising is important to lose weight. By watching what you eat and exercising you could lose 1 kg a week!
Author Information — this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo