The best first step to prevent overweight is to check the increase immediately by making changes in the diet related to the activity. Instead of reducing the total food intake, it is much better to adjust it according to the energy expenditure.
It is convenient to consider the energy expenditure of people employed in an urban society as divided into three parts corresponding to three eight hour periods. One part is spent in bed, the second at work and travelling to work, and the third in various non-occupational activities and recreation. The ‘rate of energy expenditure when in bed approximates 400-500 calories per 8 hours. At work the energy expenditure is determined by the nature of the occupation. In a sedentary job it amounts to about 900 calories per 8 hours; in a job involving moderate physical activity, to about 1,200 calories per 8 hours. On an average 900 calories per 8 hours can be considered as the expenditure for non-occupational activity.
Based on the above classification, the total food intake can also be divided into three – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is our first meal and comes just before the 8 hour period of work requiring maximum energy. Thus, it should be our heaviest meal providing us the maximum calories. The main activity after lunch is non-occupational and recreational apart from some portion left over from the work period. This implies that lunch should be lighter than breakfast. The 8 hour period of rest in bed follows dinner, which should be the lightest meal in terms of energy value, as this rest period involves the minimum energy expenditure.
This diet plan is known as the ‘breakfast diet’ plan, since breakfast is the heaviest and most important of all meals, according to this plan.
Taking a heavy breakfast, a lighter lunch and the lightest possible dinner prove to be an effective, check on body weight and an easy way to shed the extra kilos without cutting down on the total dietary intake.