Contrary to what you may have heard or read, there is no ‘magic’ or optimal time of day to eat.
Years ago when I was following a meal plan, I was to eat 6 times a day.
However, there was no specific time of day given.
I had my first meal shortly after I got up.
I then spaced them out at about 3 hourly intervals.
Now I understand about muscle building, I know that eating every 3 – 5 hours is best for muscle protein synthesis.
This was a well designed meal plan with plenty of protein and low enough calories for me to lose body fat.
I therefore saw body fat loss, while maintaining muscle strength.
In terms of set timings to eat for weight loss, or even for muscle gain – there isn’t one.
The important thing is to find a pattern that works for you.
When do you prefer to eat?
When is it best for you personally to eat, to enable you to reach your goal?
I find that quite often people who do not each much during the day, go on to overeat during the evening.
This is not always the case of course and if you are not hungry in the morning, then there is no need to force yourself to eat breakfast.
You may be quite comfortable not really eating until lunchtime.
However, if you don’t have breakfast, but then end up eating half a packet of biscuits on your morning coffee break, then maybe a decent protein rich breakfast would be a better plan?
Likewise, if you restrict yourself too much during the day on the premise that you are saving your calories for later, you can then find yourself having your dinner and continuing to snack all evening.
There is some evidence to show that are bodies work better, both in terms of digestion and in terms of metabolising our food, if we eat during normal waking hours.
Therefore if you are a shift worker, it will be better if you can try to avoid eating too much during the ‘normal’ night.
Try having a meal in the evening, perhaps before you start a shift, then a good meal in the morning, before going to bed.
If you have a long night shift, try using protein shakes to help get you through.
For the rest of us, all these myths about ‘not eating within an hour of bed’ and ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ are just that, myths.
The secret is to find a plan for eating that suits you, that prevents you from getting over hungry and risking bingeing.
Little and often works well for some, others prefer to have a very good meal less often.
It is absolutely your choice and if you really pay attention to your hunger cues, you can work it out for success.