Optimal Eating Times

If you're anything like me, you eat breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, dinner and a snack. This isn't necessarily bad, as long as you are eating at ideal times and not past 8 pm. Most nights I found myself eating dinner at 8 pm or later, which I have learned is wrecking havoc on my gut as I tend to have a snack later before bed as well. No wonder I was having sleeping problems and digestive issues. 

I did some research and The Daily Mail reports that the optimum time to have breakfast is shortly after 7am, with 7:11am picked as ideal. Lunch is best enjoyed earlier rather than later with the key time between 12:30pm and 1pm, 12:38pm being spot on. Leaving dinner later than 7pm can be ruinous for diets - the best time is between 6pm and 6:30pm, with 6:14pm the best.

This gives your body about 12 hours in between to digest your food and rest. Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night, the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy. As well, the heavier the food you are eating, the harder it is for your stomach to digest, thus leading to interrupted sleep and discomfort, gas and bloating.

I've already started eating dinner earlier and end eating around 8-9 pm. Change takes time, but I'm working on it. I think this combined with the recent change in my diet is helping me to be able to sleep through the night without pain and discomfort. I've also noticed a significant improvement in my bloating and gas.
This all seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, it is if your schedule allows you to eat when you want. I'm lucky that I work consistent hours and am able to accommodate my meals when needed. Not everyone is able to eat at the same times everyday, but maintaining some sort of a routine to allow for your stomach to digest and rest are important. 

One last thing that the holistic nutritionist I saw mentioned, that my mom always mentions and practices, is eating slowly and chewing thoroughly. Why is this important? The benefits of eating more slowly include better digestion, better hydration, easier weight loss or maintenance and greater satisfaction with our meals. Meanwhile, eating quickly leads to poor digestion, increased weight gain and lower satisfaction. She also mentioned chewing my protein shakes in order to feel the sensation of eating and to help me not gulp it down in a minute. I usually do this anyway, but I am already slowing down the time it takes me to consume my shakes and most importantly, my food. 

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