Humans, animals, insects and even plants have timers built into their makeup. It’s called the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm “clock” regulates 24-hour cycles throughout our body; the neurons are located in the middle of our brain and effects how much energy we have, how much rest and sleep we need, and even controls our attitude, weight and decisions that we make. How can we get our body to live in harmony with our body clock?
  • Eating regularly: The appetite and hungry feeling can be controlled naturally when we eat at the same time every day
  • Types of food: Each type of food group (protein, fat and carbohydrate) provides different chemical reactions to the body
  • The light of day: Sunlight prepares us for energy during the daytime hours and a restful sleep at night

This is the thing…the times of the day that these cycles can affect us with cravings is in the morning, at noon, 2:30-3:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. These are the times to avoid having your blood sugar levels plummet, which will make you feel moody, irritable, make bad choices and be in desperate need of a sugary pick-me-up, that makes you crave ANOTHER sugary pick-me-up in a very short time! Keep your body clock from over-reacting:

1) EAT BREAKFAST: Research shows that food eaten earlier, rather than later in the morning, is converted into heat and energy. Breakfast-time is defined as the FIRST hour after awakening. Skipping breakfast to cut calories sets dieters up for failure, making them snack later in the day to wardoff low energy levels. If you eat breakfast after being up for three hours, your metabolism shuts down and acts as if it needs to store the food, going into survival mode; and when you do finally eat, your food turns into sugar and stored in fat cells in an attempt to protect you from starvation INSTEAD of being used for energy. In addition, breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling and binging, adding more pounds to their waist!! Eating breakfast within the FIRST hour of the day, communicates with your body that you are healthy, well fed and not in need of extra fat storage!

 

As a weight-loss coach, I hear people say: “I just LOOK at food and gain weight.” And I say to that, stop looking at it and eat it! By now you have a better understanding why breakfast is important, but most people have a misconception of what a “good” breakfast consists of. Food Watch, a Minnesota-based firm that watches food trends, revealed that with the large selection of on-the-go breakfast foods of processed and refined carbohydrates or corn syrup, most people are basically eating dessert for breakfast! Let’s examine the usual American ENERGY-STARVING fast food breakfast: Coffee/sugar/milk (milk is a sugar not a protein!); Instant hot cereal (high in sugar!) or cold cereal with 2% milk (a sugar), adding more white/brown sugars/honey (also a sugar); Donuts/pastries/pop-tarts; Fruit-

filled, low-fat yogurt (fat carries flavor; without fat, sugar is added to replace lost taste!); Orange juice

However, studies prove that high fiber, good-fat breakfasts promote healthy weight control much more effectively than highly refined breakfast foods. Try the following choices for a long-lasting, ENERGY-BOOSTING breakfast: Full-fat yogurt with fresh fruit ~ Full-fat cottage cheese (4%fat) with a whole-grain muffin ~ Hard boiled egg and toast/butter ~ Scrambled egg on half a bagel/butter or mayo ~ Whole grain tortilla rolled with scrambled egg and salsa or cheese ~ For cold/hot cereals, add nuts/seeds and fresh/dried fruit, cinnamon (a natural sweetener that can replace some sugar), whole milk ~ Crepes filled with fresh berries, whipped cream/whole cream and butter (skip the syrup!) ~ Coffee (organic) with full-fat cream

2) SNACKS: These are little “meals” between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. To avoid the morning/afternoon hunger or foggy feeling that can cause binging, consider foods rich in protein, healthy fats and hearty carbs (fiber): Nuts/raisins ~ Cottage cheese or yogurt with a whole fruit like orange, grapes or berries ~ Apple and nut butter ~ Cheese roll-up (turkey or chicken rolled in a slice of cheese) ~ Cream cheese on a celery stick ~ Protein shake with berries

3) LUNCH: Keep the metabolism strong by eating every 3-4 hours. Have 5-8 ounces of protein from meat and nuts/seeds and avoid processed foods with nitrates because that puts a stain on our digestive system; and eat small amounts of carbs from bread or pasta or rice. Protein in the daytime supplies the balance for our stress hormone cortisol and our adrenals as needed for activity and alertness. An abundance of carby and sugary foods will cause fatigue and decrease alertness. A perfect lunch to avoid a midday craving/crash could include ~ Turkey or Chicken and avocado sandwich on a low-carb wrap/sandwich bread ~ Salad with a double serving of salmon/chicken, walnuts or sunflower seeds, avocado or feta cheese and an olive oil-based dressing (avoid fat-free salad dressings, which are loaded with sugar) ~¬†Leftovers that might include meatloaf or meatballs ~ And skip the milk shakes, pop or any other sugary liquids! ~ If you’re still hungry (or craving a sweet), add a few walnuts/pecans to your lunch and this should thwart all temptations

We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly” ~Anna Thomas~

4) MORNING LIGHT: exposure to sunlight sets our internal clock so that our body temperature, energy level and alertness stay high during the day, helping us get more done. Soak-up the morning sun for 20-30 minutes by ~ Eating breakfast beside a bright/sunny window ~ Drinking your coffee on the patio ~ Going for a walk