Your circadian rhythm is basically your body clock which is effected by environmental cues such as the rising and setting of the sun.
Your circadian rhythm is also critical for the keeping our metabolism regular and energy levels high.
Why is this so important? Because the faster your metabolism is, the greater your fat loss will be. And there is emerging evidence suggesting that if our circadian rhythm is constantly disrupted, it can increase the chances of cardiovascular events and obesity.
So what affects our circadian rhythm for us to see such adverse reactions?
1. Eating meals too far away apart from each other.
Carbohydrates are our primary fuel source and without them our energy levels can get quite low and our cravings through the roof.
After we eat a meal that has a good quality carb source in a right amount for your body, the glucose (carbohydrate) is broken down in the blood stream and is carried to the body’s cells. After four hours of eating this good source of carbohydrate, our blood glucose levels significantly drop. As a result your body goes into a crave or hunger mode. And then instead of then having a normal portion size, because you are so hungry, your portion sizes increases... along with your waist line.
2. Eating too often
Eating too frequently can also affect our circadian rhythm. If an individual picks at food every time they walk into the kitchen or past the tea room at work the calories can add up very quickly. And once the habit sets in it is very hard to change and the struggle to stop is too hard.
So what are our strategies for change
Set an alarm to eat every 3-3.5 hours and have a meal of good quality protein, a carb source, and a small portion of fat – e.g. 2 eggs and a piece of fruit or 1-2 slices of wholegrain/light rye bread.
If you know that you tend to binge when you're at home, again set the alarm and try and hold yourself off until that 3 hour mark. If you still want to binge – only binge then but try and work into it being within your circadian rhythm. Occasionally you might find the craving is not as intense by the time you get to the three hour mark and you may not eat as much.
From there decrease the size of the binge.
This is all a learning process – these things take a long time to be able to change, so be patient and don't be too hard on yourself, because it will only make matters worse and decrease your own confidence in yourself. One step at a time :)
Did you know your sleeping patterns also affect your circadian rhythm? Your sleeping patterns can significantly impact your circardian rhythm and which in turn will your impair metabolism and increase your glucose intolerance.
If you are a person who normally gets 8 hours sleep, and one evening you only get 5.5-6hours. What happens to your body the following day? How do you feel? I know for me, if I don’t get 8 hours sleep, I am grumpy, frustrated, and feel completely out of routine.
When you feel like this what happens to your motivation to eat well? The motivation to prepare food and pick the right options decreases. The quick option is what you most readily reached for. And also, because you have been awake for a longer period of time, your body requires slightly more calories to be able to function, and the cravings can set in.
So trying to get a good night sleep consistently will help balance your circadian rhythm and prevent any disruptions to your metabolism.