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Step 4 – How to Improve and Optimize Body Composition

– Follow the timing principles of eating

  • Do not consume food or beverage calories within two to three hours of bedtime
  • Delay calories (non-caloric beverages such as coffee are fine) for at least one hour after waking
  • Use timed-restricted feeding and minimize snacking – try to maintain at least a 12 hour overnight fast and a 12 hour feeding window, and if possible, try to maintain a 14 or 16 hour overnight fast with a 10 or eight hour feeding window.

– Create strategic calorie deficits to compensate for times that you eat more – for example, eat less than 1200 to 1500 calories four or five days of the week and eat more permissively (but don’t overdo it) two to three days of the week. If you know you’re going to a great party with a lot of good food in the evening, fast through most of that day but still consume protein earlier in the day (protein powder, essential amino acids, or food-based protein)

– When it’s time to eat, prioritize protein. Increasing your protein intake reduces hunger and supports the structure and function of your body. It also helps you maintain your lean mass when you’re consuming less calories. For women, try to get at least 100 grams of protein a day, and for men, try to get at least 120 grams. Even better would be 120 to 150 grams. When you start to get hungry, first think about eating protein

 Increase physical activity to increase metabolic rate, which will increase calorie flux. Move more, take walks, fidget more, stretch more. Stand instead of sit. Walk around in the evening while you’re watching a show or talking to a friend

– Consistently engage in resistance training to build muscle. The more muscle you build, the more fat you lose. Also, the more muscle you build, the better your metabolic health and the lower your risk of the chronic diseases associated with aging

  • If you are going to an event where you will consume more food, especially sugar, or you end up eating something sugary, try to perform light exercise after eating for 30 minutes which will rapidly lower blood glucose by moving it into the muscles
  • If possible, prior to eating a larger meal, perform 2-3 minutes of more intensive exercise to deplete glycogen in your muscles- body weight squats, jumping jacks, etc.

This video series provides an overview of the practices and supplements that will result in improvements in health through the holidays and the rest of your life.

The accompanying outline provides an overview of the material in the video series.


Join Dr. Gus Vickery for Healthy for the Holidays. Start the New Year happier, leaner, stronger, and all-around healthier.