I recently had a conversation with a friend about how she can adjust her eating habits now that she’s a retiree, and no longer required to start her day at the crack of dawn.
Her dilemma was a simple one, with a not-so-simple solution: to continue her routine of eating five-to-six meals a day, but doing so outside of the structured day that she once led as a full-time employee.
Sounds easy, right?
Well, you’d be surprised the difference a few hours can make in your day when you’re attempting to squeeze in the same number of meals–particularly if you aren’t, as in the case of my friend, enthusiastic about eating in the first place.
My suggestion to her was to refocus her attention on the calories as opposed to the all too well known industry recommendation of “six-meals-a-day”.
Many of us buy into the aforementioned approach, and have a reasonable amount of success following it, but what if your situation is similar to that of my friend, who now has no alarm to rule her day?
Her biggest problem is cramming more food into a shorter period of time. How do you do that without jeopardizing your desire to eat? Or, worse than that, skipping multiple meals altogether?
I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I can tell you the one thing I’ve learned over the years where following a strict regimen is concerned, it doesn’t matter when you eat so long as you’re managing to eat right regularly.
What has always–and continues to–work for me is to shoot for a set amount of calories per day and spread the amount out over the course of my productive hours.
It doesn’t matter if that means I’m eating three, four, or six meals in a day, so long as each meal is as balanced–caloric and nutritional wise–as possible.
By doing this, at least in my case, I’m able to adjust my food intake to the length of my day as opposed to depending on food intervals (breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, etc.) to dictate where my day begins and ends food wise.
The primary reason–in my humble opinion–most nutritionists offer the six meal a day suggestion plan is to get people who don’t exercise good eating habits into the mode of eating regular meals. Regular meals are a necessary part of any successful fitness plan.
However, your plan has to work for you and what works for you may not be what works for everybody.
The key, in any case, is to keep your metabolism moving in the right direction and that can be done in any number of ways–even if that way appears chaotic and unstructured in nature.
Find what works for you and do that because there is certainly more than one way to approach a healthy lifestyle.
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