Do you ever eat according to what time it is?
Over the years I got in the habit of relying on the clock to tell me when it was time to eat. I’d eat breakfast between 8 and 9 then eat every 3 hours from there, because somewhere I read eating every 3 hours would keep my blood sugar steady. That roughly translated to 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, which was considered a “normal” amount of eating.
But sometimes I was hungry way before those 3 hours were up, and sometimes I didn’t feel like eating but did anyway, because that’s how I was “supposed” to eat. I totally made up this eating rule (though based on info I found through nutrition blogs and articles), but I took it as hard fact for a long time!
Besides not working with my natural hunger cycles, using this time rule really didn’t work, because I quickly became obsessed with tracking the clock and denying myself food if it wasn't time to eat.
Not exactly sustainable or enjoyable, right?
I’ve since moved past that habit, but my point is this: we can make up rules upon rules around food, and some are really subtle! I’ve noticed with clients and friends this time rule can be a biggie.
Have you ever thought:
I shouldn’t be eating right now because it’s not breakfast/lunch/dinner time!
That’s a small “rule” that absolutely doesn’t need to be followed. If you’re hungry, you’re hungry.
So let’s make this simple: give yourself full permission to eat when you’re hungry, even if you ate half an hour ago.
And hey, maybe you want to eat when you're not hungry sometimes. That's OK too! There are no rules here, just suggestions that stem from listening to your own wants and needs.
Every single body is different, which means every single body has different food needs. You’re not supposed to eat at a specific time, nor does the average person need to. Your body is so wise and knows what it needs, but sometimes our minds make up these rules and get in the way.
Your stomach is growling for a reason, so allow yourself to honor that hunger. You need food to fuel your body, to think clearly, to put forth your best self. Nourishing your body with food is one of the greatest forms of self care, and denying ourselves of that can lead to a funky food relationship, which you may experience already.
Of course there can be some health factors involved in hunger (or lack of hunger), but I’m talking about the average person with no health issues who finds herself stuck on timing out meals and snacks.
If you notice you’re getting hungry pretty quickly after a meal, it’s also OK to take a closer look at what you last ate to see if it was filling enough for your body. That is, if you even want to! It’s totally up to you. Freedom, people!
This shifts the power from outside factors (dietary “rules”, time, etc.) back to you and your body’s inner wisdom. It’s all part of tuning into your body and honoring your unique needs.
So this week I challenge you to throw away all time “rules” and to eat when you’re hungry. Experiment! See what happens. Notice how you feel. This doesn’t have to be a forever thing, but it’s worth trying.
Email me and let me know what you get out of it!