During the past several months, I’ve heard a lot of talk about meal timing and intermittent fasting, and how by adjusting this for yourself, you can balance your blood sugar, lose weight, and gain energy.
With all of the information out there about what to eat and when, it’s hard not to get completely overwhelmed. I mean, you can find research to support any school of thought when it comes to the “healthiest” way to eat.
And a lot of the information out there is completely contradictory.
This whole only eating 3 meals a day theory goes against everything I’ve read and heard for the last, well, over a decade.
So many people, “experts” in the health industry, talk about the importance of eating five meals a day (3 full meals and then 2 snacks).
And that’s what I’ve done because that’s what I thought was the “right” or “healthy” thing to do.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that things that once worked well for me aren’t really cutting it anymore.
So, how many times a day should I eat?
Well, about six months ago I became really curious about meal timing and what it could look like for me.
I decided to put it to the test and conduct a little experiment of my own. I truly believe that our bodies are the cheapest and most readily available laboratories on the planet.
If you want to know if something will work for you and your unique body, test it out.
To be honest, the very thought of cutting down to three meals a day made me feel a little anxious.
That’s an understatement. It made me feel a lot anxious.
Was I going to starve?
Was I going to gain weight?
Would my blood sugar be all over the place?
Planning My Experiment: 3 Meals a Day
Even though I had some doubts, I really wanted to see if making this change would help me feel better.
So, I decided to give it two solid weeks.
For me, this is a good timeframe to give any experiment I do with my body, as it allows for a “detox” period (both mental and physical) and time to adjust to a new way of eating.
Not only did I want to try eating only 3 meals a day, but I also wanted to adjust the amount I consumed during these meals.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and pauper for dinner.”
Well, I decided to try that as well.
I mean, why not?
So, my plan was to eat three meals a day, making my breakfast the largest and my dinner the smallest.
Essentially, my calorie breakdown looks something like this:
Breakfast = 700 calories (Yes, you read that right. 700 calories)
Lunch = 500 calories
Dinner = 200-300 calories
Oh yeah, and I only wanted to eat between the hours of about 10 am and 6 pm.
And just to be clear, I do not count calories.
I simply made an estimate based loosely on reading some of the labels and doing a little research. And to be honest, I probably eat more calories than this (everyday is different), but I always try to eat them earlier in the day.
Before Adjusting Meal timing
I was constantly hungry.
I was constantly thinking about food.
Every day around 3-4 pm I would crash. I would get really hungry and tired.
My 4 pm “snack” essentially became the beginning of a three hour dinner.
Has that ever happened to you?
You had your snack and it just wasn’t enough, so you had a little more.
And then, before you know it, you’re eating everything because you’re just so freaking ravenous.
I mean, I was eating while I was cooking dinner because the hunger was just too much.
By the time dinner was over, I had probably consumed several hundred calories and never felt satiated.
After Adjusting Meal Timing
I’ve been eating three meals a day within the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for about 6 months now, and I cannot believe how good I feel.
I don’t really think about food anymore.
Well, I do. I just think about it differently. I’m not watching the clock in anticipation of my next meal.
Not once have I felt ravenous.
Not once has my blood sugar crashed.
I can go 4-5 hours without eating.
When I get hungry, it’s the normal kind of hungry. Not the “I’m going to rip your face off if I don’t get some food NOW” kind of hungry.
My cravings are pretty much nonexistent.
This way of eating definitely supports what my body needs in this season of my life.
So, to answer the question: Does meal timing matter? For me, yes, it matters. It has made a huge impact in my energy and ability to maintain or lose weight. But as I always recommend, if you want to see if something will work for you and your unique body test it out for yourself. Don’t just take it from me.
If you’ve been curious about this, or if you’re just hearing about it for the first time, I would definitely encourage you to try it out and see if it’s a good fit for you. But before you do, have a plan so that you set yourself up for success. If you’re looking for an accountability buddy (a.k.a. an awesome health coach) reach out and let’s see if we’re a good fit for one another.
I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Let me know if you’ve tried this yourself or if you’re encouraged to do so after reading this post.
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