If you're sick of following diets that seem like an endless list of what you can't eat, you're in luck: this rule, a favorite of top personal trainers and nutritionists alike, won't leave you feeling deprived. The secret? It's not always what you eat, but when.
Michelle Bridges, a trainer on The Biggest Loser: Australia and author of The Total Body Transformation ($23), helps us out by sharing a mantra that's easy to remember when you're trying to lose weight. "Eat like a king for breakfast, eat like a prince for lunch, and eat like a pauper for dinner," she tells us. Why? Not only will you have more time to burn off a big meal if you eat it the morning, but starving yourself during the day can lead to bad choices at night. "The most common thing for all of my contestants on the show is that they don't eat breakfast, they barely eat anything during the day, and then they pig out and end up consuming more calories [at night]," Michelle says. "You can't beat Mother Nature, so don't try to play games with her."
Other trainers and nutritionists agree: breakfast is where it's at if you want to indulge. Bob Harper also advises weight-loss clients to front-load their heavy meals earlier in day; celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson (the man responsible for Sofia Vergara's strong curves) tells his clients to avoid carbs like rice, pastas, and grains later in the day if they are trying to look their best, since these water-retaining foods "blur, to a certain degree, definition and muscle separation." Nutritionist Shira Lenchewski says that our circadian rhythm of our bodies causes metabolic changes that make a large meal heavy with carbs easier to burn off if it's eaten earlier in the day. While this strategy isn't exactly permission to eat doughnuts and bacon every day, it's a good rule of thumb to follow with your healthy-eating plan.
If you can't imagine your weekend nights without a fun dinner with friends and family, don't worry. Michelle's tips for going out and still losing weight will help you stay on track when Friday rolls around.