We spend so much time fighting our bodies with diets, but what if reaching your healthiest weight-and shedding inches from your middle-was as simple as listening to your natural rhythms and inner clock? These tidbits from a new book, are intriguing. By Ava Feuer, REDBOOK.
1. What The Belly Melt Diet is all about: "This plan will reset your hunger hormones to stop cravings. You'll eat at specific times so that the hunger hormone ghrelin (the substance that triggers cravings and makes you want to eat) is under control at all times. You'll be eating meals that provide the perfect balance of carbs, protein, and fats that will keep ghrelin under control but that will also stimulate you when you need it (during the day) and calm when you when you don't (when it's time to go to sleep). You'll also be choosing foods with nutrients that help you sleep better, which in turn helps reset your body clock so the weight will come off faster. You'll follow a 1,200- to 1,500-calorie diet." Ed note: This seems low to us.
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2. Skipping sleep isn't doing you any good: "If you're what researchers call a short sleeper-5.5 to 6 hours or less qualifies you-you'll have trouble losing weight, no doubt about it. In a 7-year study of 7,022 middle-aged people, Finnish researchers found that women who reported sleep problems were more likely to experience a major weight gain (defined as 11 pounds or more).
3. Sleep better with these p.m. bites: "A healthier nighttime snack would be a bowl of oatmeal, cereal with low-fat milk, low- or nonfat yogurt, or a slice of whole wheat toast spread with natural peanut butter and sliced banana (which contains tryptophan and the muscle-relaxing minerals potassium and magnesium)."
Related: 31 Days of Snacks for Grown-Ups
4. Eat on a strict schedule: "By conditioning your body to eat at specific times-and eating more frequently-you can train it to expect food only at those times, thereby heading off any time-driven cravings at the pass. Timed eating keeps hunger hormones in check and conditions your body to eat only when it needs to."
5. There's a scientific reason diets don't work: "The other element of most diets that sends our body clocks into tailspin is the rejection of certain food categories, such as carbs, fat, or protein. Those hunger hormones respond differently to different foods, and if you cut out, say, carbs, they won't be satisfied-no matter how much you eat of other foods."
Related: 21 Ways to Burn Fat Faster
6. When you work out matters: "There's a huge health, fitness, and circadian rhythm bonus to waking up and walking out the door first thing in the morning. Doing some cardio before breakfast can stimulate your body to burn fat more efficiently. But the afternoon and evening are when the heart and lungs work most efficiently. Your muscles will respond better to strength training at that time of day."
7. Give exercise a regular spot on your calendar: "Just as eating at the same time every day can reset your natural clock and help you eat more healthfully, so too can exercising at the same general time help push your circadian rhythm to a happier place."
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