A couple of posts ago I covered the 80/10/10 theory – the idea that what you eat determines 80% of your body composition. Even longer ago I wrote a little ditty about “clean eating” and what exactly a healthy diet should look like. I also gave you a few words about using pyramid training for exercising with weights. This post takes a little bit from all three – squishes ’em all together – and I present to you:
The reverse pyramid theory!
Ok, so I swear this blog isn’t going to turn into a series of hackneyed one-off “theories” of health and wellness (although I can’t guarantee there won’t be more down the line) – but this is one I really stand by when it comes to advising clients on nutrition.
The basic idea is summarized in an old adage I heard a while back – “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” I know lots of people that skip breakfast, get hungry and eat junk food-y snacks all day, and then come home starving and pound down a giant dinner. Sound at all familiar?
How about this one – not skipping breakfast entirely, but having something full of empty carbs like a donut or bagel, then pigging out on lunch after those carbs quickly fade into ravenousness, not feeling hungry enough to eat a “full” dinner at a normal time, and then rushing to the fridge way later than you should and taking down some late-night eats. Close to home?
Even if you’re a healthy eater, the way our social lives work, there are few opportunities to have a big breakfast but lots to have a big happy hour/dinner/nighttime meal – and I suggest changing that up entirely. I once read a study where the test subjects ate chocolate cake for breakfast (versus the control who had a small, low-carb breakfast) and were able to lose 15 more pounds over time than the controls.
Chocolate cake, people!
See, your metabolism – particularly the sugar-burning metabolism – is in full gear in the morning, so you’re able to more effectively burn off carbohydrates that are eaten earlier in the day (plus you have more time). When you overindulge late at night, the calories and carbs just sit there – you’re basically done being active for the day – and are absorbed into fat stores.
Furthermore, when you eat the most when your metabolism is moving its fastest, then taper down throughout the day, you are setting up a pattern of eating that maximizes your body’s natural functions – meaning you aren’t fighting your body with your diet, you’re emphasizing its best processes – and in turn, losing weight naturally.
Waking up hungry is the natural state of your body – you should be truly “breaking” a “fast” at breakfast, not just putting more food on top of the food you ate at 11pm. Allow your body time to digest after (a small) dinner, reduce or eliminate carbs in your last meal of the day, and then wake up raring to go – and fuel your body – with a big breakfast (and yes, I mean big – I myself usually have a green juice, banana with peanut butter, and egg whites with spinach on a whole wheat pita).
I challenge each of you guys to try the reverse pyramid for a week – wake up earlier if you have to make adjustments to how you eat breakfast, have a perfectly sensible lunch (think big salad and soup, or a sandwich and fruit), and keep dinner down to protein and vegetables. I bet you’ll find a big change in energy, sleep quality, and yes – weight!
What’s your favorite meal of the day? Does your current diet look like a pyramid, square, or reverse pyramid?