Question:

I wake up at 4 am to be at the gym by 5am, work out until 7am, and then I work 10 hours. My job is stressful so I forget to eat, and I want to eat healthy. Which foods are best and at what times throughout the day should I eat? My goal is to lose abdominal fat. 

– Mike

Answer:

Hello Mike. It seems to me that if you’re forgetful, stressed out or not hungry which results in not eating during your work day, I’m not sure that making precise recommendations will make a difference. Start with a regular eating routine by setting reminders at set times or regular intervals. Employ sticky notes or smartphone alarms if you have to! Having ready-to-eat food on hand may make the difference between grabbing a bite and not eating altogether.  

You only need a microwave or refrigerator for temperature acceptance (rather than food safety) for the following: pop-top cans of chili and tuna, aseptic packaged chocolate milk, and shelf-stable ravioli.  Dried fruit, nuts/seeds, protein bars, turkey jerky and veggie chips make for easy dry snack options to have on hand. Don’t forget a convenient refillable water bottle! 

Of course, eating in the morning surrounding your workout is crucial to your performance in the gym and success losing abdominal fat. Are you drinking a protein shake as soon as you rise or before you leave the door? At 7:00 after your exercise you should be fueling up on a major breakfast given the 2-hour workout and long duration before your next meal. 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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