Do you find that you are not hungry for dinner when you sit down at the usual time? How about lunch? Or breakfast? Or even when you snack? For me, it is usually dinner time when I feel this way. Perhaps after the first dish, you work up an appetite and go up for seconds. Later, you think, "why did I do that?"
We have been trained to eat three square meals at certain times of the day, at least I was. It is something our parents did and their parents. But here is something I have learned, not everyone should have the same eating patterns. Digestive systems differ per person and each individual requires differing amounts of calories for every day. For me, I have a sensitive digestive system. I have learned the hard way when I decided to eat seconds or eat when my body said it wasn't hungry.
Recently I have changed my eating pattern after reading Mark Divine's "The Way of the SEAL." To those who don't know, this book has heavily influenced my life and I wrote an article about it. In one section of the book, he gave a quick suggestion on eating habits. He said that the three square meals a day comes from the Industrial Revolution days when people had specific schedules. He said that the body should be fueled as needed through eating. Not only did it benefit his health, it freed up his breaks at work to focus on other things. At the same time, he states that it is okay to break the rule once in a while to enjoy life.
Even though his book didn't focus on nutrition or eating habits, this small section caused me to analyze my patterns. I realized that I was having calorie-rich meals when I wasn't hungry and that it usually caused indigestion. Plus his advice just sounded like common sense, eat when you're hungry. So I decided to start doing this. The result: I felt healthier and experienced less indigestion. And something seemed right about it.
If you consider it, our body sends us many messages on what to do. When to go to the bathroom, when you're cold, etc. People typically listen to their body in those situations, but not so much with food. The obesity epidemic in society is evidence of that. Obviously, there are other factors that have caused the obesity problem, but self-control with eating is not encouraged enough. Therefore, I believe people should check for a hungry message from their body before eating. As much as it will cause some odd schedules for meals or quick snacks, it will be beneficial for health. And checking the quantity you eat is important as well.
Another important part of eating is what you eat, which is one we hear about frequently. Another personal observation I have made is that when I eat healthier foods, especially fruit, my mood can get more positive. Probably because healthy fruits and vegetables don't give me the sick feeling after eating a sugar-filled brownie. Believe it or not, a healthier diet can improve mental health according to a study in New Zealand. So why not eat healthier to be in a better mood during the week?
I am not a health nut nor am I against enjoying life with a piece of cake once in a while. But I feel strongly about eating the right foods at the right time. I have gotten weird reactions from some people when I don't eat lunch for a long time or I talk about my eating patterns. I don't care since I know it is good for me and others. For some people, they need three square meals a day at certain times because that is when they are hungry. Like I said before, everyone has different eating patterns. Yet most of our eating should occur to satisfy hunger, not just for the sake of taste or socializing. If every person decided to eat healthy foods in the right quantities based on hunger, I think the health of the nation would improve.