Many people on a diet, desperate to lose weight, eat at exactly the wrong time. A good analogy is comparing the human body to a car. You would never expect your car to get you from one place to another without enough fuel in the tank. And you wouldn’t try to put more fuel in the tank than it’s designed to hold. But that’s how many of us operate our bodies. We try to run on empty for hours, then dump more fuel in than we can handle.
Say you want to jog in the morning. And since you’re trying to lose weight, you decide to do so on an empty stomach. The easiest way for the body to get energy is to break down muscle mass. Your body can convert specific amino acids – the building blocks of muscle – to glucose, the sugar that powers human activity. So running before eating may actually be breaking down the very tissue you’re trying to improve. That’s the “muscle loss” diet.
The other way that’s pretty typical is called the “fat gain” diet. You wait a long time between meals, and then, when you’re ravenously hungry, you wipe out an entire buffet line. This guarantees that you’ll get a larger surge of the hormone insulin than you ordinarily would. That means fat storage. Some people combine the “muscle loss” and “fat gain” strategies and turn their bodies into a perfect muscle-burning, fat-storage machine. So if you go out and run 10 miles on an empty stomach, then eat enough to fuel a 15-mile run, the net effect is that you’ve lost muscle on the run and gained fat from the post-run meal.
Energy balance is the answer. The best results occur when you stay within 300-500 calories of perfect balance throughout the day.
Eat something as soon as you get up. Even if you’re going right to the gym or for a run, there are foods that the body can assimilate easily: VT. whey protein shake or banana and hard-boiled egg, or whole grain cereal with soymilk. Plan to eat five or six small meals during the day to keep blood sugar stable, and have ready your before and post workout meals. A little planning can take you a long way to your goals.

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