In brief, it is a long term diet by which the content and the quantity of the meal is linked to the production of hormones in the body, so the nutriments can easily be processed. Dr. Alain Delabos studied the subject and described it in one of his may thorough books “Mincir sur mesure grâce à la Chrononutrition” (Tailored weight loss with the Chrononutrition). The information which I provide on this blog is based on what I’ve read in this book, on his website, but also on the information I got from my partner. He took up the Chrononutrition a long time ago and is very pleased with the results. Let me be clear, I am no specialist, but I’d like to share my experiences with Chrononutrition with my readers. I think it is important to provide, because Chrononutrition is not that well known in Belgium and probably not so much outside France as well.
There are four meals, of which the three first are the most important: the breakfast, lunch, snack time, and dinner. These words can cause a bit of confusion, because they make us think at the traditional moments on which we eat in many regions, but it is important to get away from the grip of “fixed hours”. It is necessary to respect the first meals, and after breakfast the meals can be placed earlier or later, depending on your hunger.
You can never skip breakfast. It is the fuel for the beginning of the day. Your mother probably tried to convince you of it, but this time, she was actually really right! With the chronobreakfast, you will eat fat products, as cheese, a slice of bread and some butter or olive oil. You should be quite filled with what you took, so you don’t get hungry very soon. With that you can have tea or coffee (without milk or sugar!) and water. Sugars are absolutely banned, and you should get away from them the complete day, except during the snack time. You’ll get used to this very soon! I was absolutely obsessed by eating nutella in the morning, but now… I sometimes eat it in the afternoon when it is permitted 😉
After about four to five hours, you can take lunch, not earlier than that. If you’ve had a great breakfast, you’ll easily pass the time and don’t want to eat earlier. During this meal, you will eat quite heavy, but you shouldn’t exaggerate neither. You can prepare a good piece of meat (your weight in grams) with carbohydrates (2-3 spoons). It is OK to vary between rice, potatoes, lentils, beans, … On this time of the day, some sauce is also acceptable! Watch out that you’ll not take a dessert after the meal, just out of habit. This is reserved for the snack time. To trick yourself if you find it hard to resist, you can drink tea or coffee. Drinking tea, coffee and water is obviously OK during the whole day.
Snacktime resets your mood
Snack time is ideal at least four, but preferably five hours after lunch. You can wait until you’re hungry again. It is also known as the “sugar dip” and it is the sign that you’re in need of some sugar. I always feel a bit limp and sometimes I do get a bit grumpy… (what???) it is the sign to sit down and enjoy a juicy piece of fruit and something else with sugar. Black chocolate is the greatest option, but if you’re into something else, you can give in to it, with moderation. It is about shushing your hunger for the rest of the day, not to exhaust your stomach.
If you don’t have a lot of exercise left for the day, it is certainly possible that snack time is enough to pas the time until you go to bed. In the other case it is recommended to have a light dinner. On this moment fish, seafood and white meat (for example chicken) are a perfect option (your height in grams or more). Combine these with delicious vegetables prepared the way you like them the most (baked, steamed, in the oven, …). A little bowl is ok. Try not to make the meal too heavy, unless you still have to provide some heavy physical efforts.
Products that shouldn’t be on the menu are milk and other lactose containing products as yoghurt and fresh cheese. Alcohol isn’t the best idea neither, but if you like to enjoy (like me) a strong beer or a velvet soft port, then you can put that in your snack time or on one of the cheat moments. You’re entitled to two cheat moments a week, which means that you can do whatever you want on those moments, as long they don’t follow one another. This is necessary to stay sane and maintain a social life, have an alcoholic drink, eat a great dessert, have a 5 course meal… If you discover you’re too hungry in between two meals, you can adapt the quantities of the meals, but not of everything. In the morning, you can eat more cheese, at noon more meat and in the evening more fish, seafood or chicken.
For the quantities, read these:
Delabos, A. (2005). Mincir sur mesure grâce à la Chrononutrition. Rouen, Frankrijk: éditions Albin Michel.