If you’re eating for more hours over the course of the day than not, there’s a good chance you’re consuming more food than you actually need. Being aware of when you start, and finish, eating over the course of your day can have many positive long term benefits to your health.
The human race evolved having seasonal, and often limited, access to food. We are wired to handle periods of both food scarcity and abundance, yet this age of processed foods has created all sorts of confusion. Having tasty, addictive, and readily available choices 24 hours a day results in chaos! Mindlessly consuming foods high in sugar, refined oils, chemicals, and preservatives has distorted a once harmonious relationship with what we put in our bodies.
The modern refrigerator, for home use, was invented in 1913. It wasn’t that long ago that our families were eating fresh food from local sources, only during a specific window of time during the day. Fresh foods were harvested, purchased, prepared and consumed using traditional practices. Simple and nutrient dense, we ate what we could, when we could.
Todays “food” is readily available anytime, anywhere. There is no longer a natural order to consumption of nutrients, we simply buy and consume whatever we are inclined to. As a result, we eat way more on average then we did even 50 years ago, with most of that difference coming from processed foods. We typically start eating earlier in our days and continue eating later into our evenings, robbing our bodies of extended periods of time to digest, absorb, rest, and heal.
Shortening the “window” of time that you consume food is a simple habit that has intuitive benefits. For example, if you spaced out your meals between 8am and 6pm, you will have consumed your days calories within a 10 hour window (leaving 14 hours for your body to rest and regulate). However, if you start eating at 6am and consume all day until desert at 10pm, your body has been dealing with digestion for 16 hours, with only 8 hours of rest.
It’s easy to see how over a several year period the extra calories, and dependency on food could add up. Begin to explore how you start and finish your day’s consumption. Do you eat for more hours than you rest over a 24 hour period? Do you snack after dinner into the hours before you sleep? Do you wake up in the morning and immediately start consuming food? Become aware of your routine and explore the possibility of giving your body a little more rest in between your last meal and your first the next day. You can ease digestion, stabilize hormone response, decrease daily calorie consumption, and allow your body proper time to heal and repair.