Earlier this week, I posted a blog by Joan Salge Blake, a nutrition professor at Boston University, in which she discussed a research study that looked at the impact of calorie distribution on weight loss. The researchers found that subjects who consumed a large breakfast and small dinner lost more weight than subjects who consumed the same number of calories, but flip flopped their breakfast and dinner intakes.
Those of you familiar with how we work might have been surprised to see me post an article that seemed to give weight loss advice. Our treatment philosophy is in line with the reality that when people eat well and are physically active, weight tends to take care of itself. On the other hand, when people make weight loss in and of itself too much of a priority, they are likely to take approaches that can be unsustainable, unhealthy, and sometimes dangerous. Then they blame themselves and a supposed lack of willpower when the real problem was the approach. Because I have held this stance for years, my decision to post what looks to be a weight loss advice article probably seems a bit contradictory.
But it really isn’t, and here’s why: Even though the blog does discuss weight loss, I see it as more about health than weight. Professor Blake wrote, “Since the hormone ghrelin, which increases your appetite, was lower during the day in the breakfast group, these women also experienced higher levels of satiety, or that filling of fullness, throughout the day. In addition, large breakfast eaters also had significantly lower levels of insulin, glucose, and fat in their blood, which may help lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.”
In other words, the subject group that consumed the larger breakfast seemed to be healthier than the group that consumed more calories later in the day. They had better blood markers, felt more satisfied, and were in a better position to make sound food choices later in the day.
And yes, they lost more weight than the other group too, but that only reinforces the point I made earlier: When we make lifestyle choices that make us healthier, weight usually takes care of itself.