What you eat and when you eat is so important when you are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, trust me I know what it is like first hand!! How do you lead your healthy lifestyle when it comes to deciding when to eat? Are you set by the clock everyday and stick to a regimented plan? Or do you eat only when your body tells you to do so, when you are hungry and feel the need to eat? I personally eat on the clock and it is pretty much always around the same time I am hungry, but lets look at both options and see the benefits and the flaws.
Eating On The Clock
With this saying, I mean you have a structured day and you know exactly when you are going to eat from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. For some of you it may be eating every three or four hours and you will do this so you fit in your macros for the day. Macros are your main food groups that you want to reach especially if you are aiming for a specific goal like weight loss or weight gain. So for some of you, you will know exactly how many carbohydrates, proteins and fats you need to consume on a daily basis.
As long as you have your plan set out and you know your requirements this is a great way to ensure you get all your nutrients on a daily basis. You know exactly how much of everything to eat so there is no guess work. If you are looking to build lean muscle, you can work out exactly how much protein your body needs. If you are seeking to lose weight you can monitor your total calories for the day. Eating on the clock will certainly help you reach your goals but are there any down sides to eating like this?
A big down side to this is you could over eat and put on more weight than you want to! I think this would only happen if you do not know what you should be eating per day. For instance, if you haven't worked out how much of each macro group you are entitled to have then there is a danger of over eating. How many of you when you get to dinner in the evening can remember everything you have eaten in the day? Believe me, not many of you will be able to remember each and every meal or snack you may have had. So how do you know how much you need to eat? If you are going to eat every three to four hours make sure you know what you are eating, why you are having it :)
Eating When You Are Hungry
So the other way to lead your healthy lifestyle is to eat when you are hungry. No looking at the clock and thinking when your next meal is, no forcing a meal in and possibly being more relaxed with everything! However, are you doing the right thing and eating when you are hungry? Is your body in a negative state because you are hungry? Let's take a look at the positives and negatives for this...
You will no doubt feel more relaxed when you eat only at the times you are hungry instead of eating every 3 or 4 hours. You aren't as strict on your body and you may find that this method works better for you. If your goal is to maintain what you have then this way of eating might work best for you.
You might find that you miss out on meals and don't hit your specific requirements for the day. Sometimes (not always) when you are hungry you may have needed something to eat 20-30 minutes prior to the point when you eat. The biggest negative in my opinion with this style of eating is that you may not hit your macros for the day. So if building muscle is your goal and you need to hit 150g of protein per day, eating three meals a day is quite hard to fit it all in.
Either way you lead your lifestyle has to work for you. If you aren't happy with what you are doing then change it and make it work for you. There are pros and cons to everything so it really is just trialing each way and see what works for you. Do you see results one way or the other? If something isn't working then change it and see if the new way works :)