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When To Eat And How Many Times

when to eat how much to eat pitfalls if on strict eating schedule
when to eat how much to eat pitfalls if on strict eating schedule

We were fortunate to collaborate with Health Well Wise on an article explaining how we can turn snacking into our friend and improve our overall diet. We shared some wonderful snacks everyone can enjoy without guilt such as popcorn, applesauce, smoothies just to name a few. In this post, we want to tackle the question – how many times to eat, when to eat, and how much.

When To Eat

There really is no one size fits all. The amount of time you should wait between meals could be a personal choice, lifestyle necessity, and could depend on your level of activity, metabolism, state of health, and nutritional requirements. For example, I have a friend diagnosed with gestational diabetes. She had to eat at a certain time and only allowed foods. She had to watch her portions too. Her diet was really strict because she had a medical condition. I also have a friend who is on a Keto diet. She fasts and only eats within an 8-hour daily interval. This is her personal choice and belief.

Unless you are following some strict diet for some reason, we suggest that you follow your body clues on when and how much to eat. There is not enough research and data to back up otherwise how many meals a day we should eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. Hence, we suggest eating when you are just about to get hungry and stop eating when you are just about to get full.

When And How To Eat

  • Eat when you are just about to get hungry.  Don’t wait to get “hangry”. This is when you are so hungry that you become irritated.
  • Eat slowly so there is time for the “full” signal to reach your brain prior to overeating. You can use mindfulness techniques to slow down and enjoy your meal. If your goal is to lose weight, drink some water to fill up your stomach ahead of time. That will help with overeating on calories.
  • Eat as much food as fills you up. Once you are full, there is no need to continue eating just to “finish” the plate.
  • Enjoy your meal. After all eating should be about enjoying the meal. Our mantra is that we should eat not only healthy but also delicious food that we enjoy.
  • No need to count how many times you ate during the day. Just listen to your body’s needs. There are days when I am not hungry in the morning and I skip breakfast. There are days when I am “famished” as my kids say and I eat more like a brunch. Just listen to your body how much food it needs to function well. Otherwise, you may bring unnecessary stress on yourself.
  • Feeling hungry is OK. You will also notice that when you feel hungry and you don’t eat immediately sometimes the hunger goes away in a few minutes. Hence, test out and explore your body signs and clues.
  • Try not to eat out of habit or emotions. Rather eat when your appetite has come back and you feel hungry.

Watch For Pitfalls During Rigid Eating Schedules

As we mentioned before, there is no one size fits all. If you still decide to follow a strict eating regime, or if you are asked to follow it due to unfortunate circumstances, then watch for the following pitfalls.

  • You may be eating without needing food and ending up eating more than your body needs. Hence, this may lead to gaining weight. Try to pause while eating. Allow your gut time to communicate to the brain when you are full.
  • For people who cannot control their portion control in one seating, eating often may offer more opportunity for overeating, hence leading to gaining weight. Consider having 2-3 meals a day versus 5-6 meals a day.
  • Everyone has a different lifestyle, so introducing rigid mealtime eating could lead to stress and unhealthy side effects. I have an extremely busy schedule so if I decide to introduce yet another time-consuming activity such as tracking meals, it will push me over the bridge and I will fail in several areas. Now, if tracking meals becomes a big priority, then I will have to drop something else to make room for tracking meals, as an example.
  • If you pay too much focus on eating, it might be counter-productive. Thinking and thinking about food may actually make you hungry even though your body may not give you the hungry signal.
  • Some people are afraid of feeling hunger. There is nothing wrong with being hungry. In fact, there are sometimes benefits of feeling hungry such as lower insulin levels. The Keto diet is based on fasting and being hungry which might bring some health benefits.

Summary

In summary, unless you have a reason we suggest to eat when you are hungry. Eating on a schedule may backfire or bring unnecessary stress. Check out our blog about a balanced diet to find out more about our eating philosophy.


* Information and statements made by be Healthy be Happy are for education purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. be Healthy be Happy does not provide medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by be Healthy be Happy are not to replace conventional medical service. Any choices and decisions you are making are at your own risk. If you have a medical condition or health concern, contact your physician.

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