How important is it when I eat?
Intermittent fasting, nutrient timing, and eating windows are terms you hear tossed around quite a bit these days. As many studies as there are insisting that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, there are an equal number demanding that we would benefit best from skipping it altogether.
Don't worry! I'm a huge fan of simple, so I'm here to tell you that what’s most important is that you eat nutritious foods, in reasonable amounts, consistently, whenever it works best for you.
When you eat isn't particularly important for most people who are just trying to look and feel better.
Big breakfast or big dinner—it’s up to you.
(**If you're a bodybuilder or performance athlete, nutrient timing can be helpful, but for the rest of us, it can just make things more complicated than necessary.)
What about meal frequency? Should I be eating 3x per day or 6?
Again, as long as you're eating the right foods in the right amounts, how many meals you eat seems to be a matter of preference. I have clients that eat a lot of small meals and others that prefer a few bigger ones. Together we figure out what works best for them and their lifestyle.
We are all unique.
There is no one-size-fits all rule.
Take comfort in knowing there is no right or wrong choice, as long as you're happy and making consistent, long-term progress.
Follow your evidence. Track your experience. Do what works for you.
Nutritional hierarchy of importance:
How much are you eating? (Eat until satisfied, not stuffed)
How you are eating? (Eat slowly and mindfully, without distraction.)
Why are you eating? (Are you hungry, or just bored, stressed, or triggered by hyper-rewarding foods?)
What are you eating? (Mostly minimally processed proteins, veggies, fruits, starches, and fats.)
Are you doing #1 to #4 consistently?
If you are at least 80% consistent with the above, you might consider…
6. When are you eating? (Breakfast, late-night, during your workout, etc.)
Of course a coach's guidance can really fast track this process. If I can help, please give me a shout.