Looking to shed a few extra pounds? A new study points out that you should focus on when you eat, not just on how much you consume. Researchers from the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas explored whether the time of day that mice ate affected their body weight. They found that mice on a reduced-calorie plan that ate during their active cycle lost weight, while those that consumed the same amount of calories but ate during rest time did not lose much weight.

“Many people eat too little during the day and overeat in the evenings. To compensate, they may restrict themselves the next morning and end up in an ineffective cycle of meals and snacks,” says Isabel Maples, M.Ed., R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who was not involved in the study. This can affect your workouts along with your waistline, she adds. “With this pattern, the athlete’s body is probably under-fueled for a workout and may be low on fluids,” she says. Without the right fuel or hydration, your performance can suffer. To help balance out your meal intake, aim to eat the majority of your calories during the day and limit meals and snacking at night.