Lose Weight Faster by Following These 7 Body Clock Tips
Eating right and moving more continues to be the cornerstone of healthy and sustainable weight loss. But in recent years, researchers have found that other factors come into play, like hormones (see the surge of weight loss drugs like Ozempic, which work in the brain to reduce appetite) and the body clock (witness the rise of intermittent fasting). Even if you aren't ready to go all-in on IF, the timing of your daily meals and activity may give you a leg up on losing weight. The UK Telegraph recently reported on seven body clock hacks that may help you drop pounds faster.
According to a new study of more than 5,000 people from Franklin Pierce University, the best time to exercise is between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Researchers found that people who exercised for 150 minutes a week in the early mornings were six pounds lighter and had a lower BMI than people who exercised later in the day.
According to study author Dr. Tongyu Ma, doing cardiovascular exercise in those early hours is key. "Exercise can burn fat and glucose," he said. "After an overnight fast, the glucose stored in our body is low. Therefore, when we exercise our muscles are likely to burn more fat. I would recommend 40 minutes of aerobic exercise before breakfast, such as running or biking."
Studies have found that intermittent fasting is effective for weight loss. Scientists from King's College London recommend eating within a 10-hour window, the Telegraph reports. If you have breakfast at 10 a.m., you can finish eating before 8 p.m. and give your body time to digest before bed.
Studies have found that people are better at metabolizing and building muscle from protein when it's consumed in the morning instead of the evening, the Telegraph reports. Having a protein-rich breakfast—such as eggs or salmon—could help spur this process.
"At minimum, you need to leave at least a six-hour break between drinking coffee and going to sleep," said Dr. Guy Meadows, sleep expert and founder of Sleep School. "Drink two or three cups a day if you like, but ideally stop at noon."
"Consuming carbs midday will be important to give you some fuel to get you through the rest of the day," Ulrike Kuehl, head of nutrition at the metabolism-tracking app Lumen, told the news outlet. "It makes sense for most people if you look at the average metabolic flexibility to have more carbs in the middle of the day, that's when people tend to be more sensitive to insulin and so better at processing them."
"The most effective thing people can do for their weight loss is to eat a couple of hours earlier in the evening than they might think—I'd say three or four hours before bed," said Kuehl. "If you eat late at night, it increases blood glucose and insulin, which negatively impacts sleep. The cells of your metabolism need time to rest and regenerate so if those cells are active your body has trained itself not to shut down until they do. If you don't sleep well, you're more likely to gain weight."