SHOULD we eat by the clock? When to eat what – and why.

In the pursuit of fat loss and healthy eating, we don’t just obsess on what to eat, but what the clock says when we do it.

Timetables do count, eat “as long as you’re up”.

One of the biggest myths my clients come in with is that you must stop eating at some magical hour, like 6pm or 7pm. This is a problem, particularly if you are staying up ’til midnight – that’s another five hours without food. Add sleep and your body has been denied sustenance for up to 13 hours.

Turning your evening into a culinary wasteland is a wasted opportunity for a nutritious meal – and counter-productive.

If you’re awake, you have the potential to keep your metabolism going by eating – something not many clients complain about! When the body is starved of nutrients for too long, it is triggered to start storing food as fat, a survival mechanism to sustain life.

To stave this off and maximise fat burning, my eating plan never leaves more than two to three hours between food – looking good is never about eating less – but does favour different foods at the start and end of the day.

My eating plan kick-starts the morning without any food at all: raw organic apple cider vinegar in warm water (with glutamine powder, lemon and Manuka honey) which is a gentle, vitamin-and-mineral-rich ‘wake-up’ that cleanses and alkalises the digestive system. It adjusts your body’s pH balance, which helps nutrient absorption during the day.

For breakfast, protein is the priority. In addition, I am an advocate of ‘good’ complex carbs (as opposed to refined, processed white flour), but slot them in during the day when you most need their energy – and are active enough to burn it off.

During your first three meals, select from organic oats, barley flakes, rye or soy-linseed bread, sweet potato, wild rice or quinoa. Protein with carbs is fine early in the day, but as it winds down, switch to vegies.

An ideal dinner is protein, like chicken breast, salmon, eye fillet, lean mince or sirloin, with dark greens like broccoli, bok choy, asparagus or kale. Anyone rocking a six-pack knows that any workout is a good workout, but is there a secret to timing exercise with food intake? You bet.

To burn the most fat, try to have your last pre-workout meal two hours before. You’ll feel lighter, have more energy to train and be able to burn fat for the duration. Hitting your exercise routine first thing in the morning not only makes the logistics of training on an empty stomach easier, but is a psychologically nifty move.

Get it done in the morning before your brain figures out what you are doing! It becomes a habit; you’ll find yourself at the gym without even remembering the trip there. Exercise isn’t optional!

You don’t wake up and ask yourself, ‘Gee, I wonder if I’ll brush my teeth today?’ You just do it.

The #DietDoctor,

Moodi Dennaoui