How Often Do You Eat?

I mentioned that we had some fellow members of the RKC community in town this past weekend for the HKC. We got to chatting about nutrition and each of our different daily habits.

How Often Do You Eat

One of our friends does the Warrior Diet. Details aside, he drinks water and coffee and might eat an apple or a handful of almonds during the day, but otherwise he eats one meal every day. It works for him. His energy levels are good and he likes not having to think about preparing or bringing food with him all day. His wife tried this for a year and a half. Although she liked the time-saving aspects of this diet and her energy levels were good, her body didn’t respond as well. She gained a bit of weight in the beginning and had a more difficult time staying lean.

Intermittent fasting has become all the rage these days. People are fasting for 16 hours, eating a few meals over the next 6-8 hours and then fasting again. Some people take it further and fast for 24 or 36 hours once a week or just every so often. I have fasted for 24 hours a few times after a particularly indulgent vacation or just getting off track for a few weeks. It helps me to refocus and start eating clean

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again. That said, while I find fasting helpful every once in awhile, I don’t think The Warrior Diet or Intermittent Fasting would work well for me, at least not long term.

Honestly, the Warrior Diet sounds like punishment to me. I’m not happy when I’m hungry and not ‘allowed’ to eat. I think I would scare people around me.

Silly Baby Face

I love food and I look forward to each meal and snack. As far as time commitment goes, yes, I spend a decent amount of time thinking about what I’m going to eat, preparing the food and eating it. However, I don’t mind because it’s something I truly enjoy. Food is absolutely fuel for the body, but it can also be enjoyment.

Baby Ready to Eat

This is just one example of how what works for some may not work for others. I love hearing other people’s approaches to their nutrition and fitness regimes. I truly feel that if something works for you (you’re happy, have energy, and are moving towards your goals) you should keep it up. If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it.

Personally, I’m sticking with smaller meals 4-5 times each day. That’s what I currently recommend for most clients and will continue to recommend the majority of the time. In my opinion, it’s easiest for most people to stick to long term, but there are always exceptions.

I’m really simplifying things here and only touching the tip of the iceberg. I’m not even talking about what to eat…only how often. I’ll get to the what and different diet choices/types in another post.

What about you? Do you fast? Do you eat lots of small meals?

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21 Responses

  • jobo says:

    The warrior diet sounds AWFUL to me!! I would die – okay, that’s dramatic, but seriously, that sounds horrible and ineffective! But to each his./her own, I guess, right? I am with you on eating regularly. I think about food a lot too and planning ahead and well, I love to eat, I love feeling nourished and satisfied. And fueled. Good post!

  • Jess says:

    Man. I could NOT do the intermittent fasting thing — my body would hate me (and so would my husband, he calls me a “vampire” when I’m not fed regularly LOL). I eat three meals plus 1-2 snacks a day, usually one in the mid-afternoon (150-200 cals) and then a little something after dinner (about 100-150 cals) and it works for me. I never feel that “droop” because my energy levels are consistent, know what I mean? But you’re right – not every approach works for EVERY person out there. you just have to find what works for you and stick with it.

  • PaulL says:

    I tend to eat just 3x/day. Occasionally I’ll skip lunch and have nothing between my breakfast at 8:30 and dinner around 6-8pm, but mostly, it’s 3x/day.

    I’ve tried the 4-5x/day thing, and it’s just too much of a pain to pack different things in tons of small containers. Though I’m sure my body would prefer smaller hits of protein scattered throughout the day vs.the 3 big hits of protein I give it. But I’m lucky I remember to eat 3x/day as it is!

    • Amanda Perry says:

      I think that’s common for guys. It seems to me that girls are more likely to be snackers than guys. Sounds like the time commitment thing is huge for you. Maybe you would be a good candidate for IF, but then again if what you’re doing now works…why change? :)

  • Kalin says:

    I love IF! I eat a big breakfast & lunch and am done with eating by 3PM-ish. It’s really helped me differentiate between true physical hunger and just eating from habit. Also, I love the feeling of eating big, hearty meals. :)

    • Amanda Perry says:

      I knew there had to be some IF peeps out there reading this. :) If I were to do it that would probably be my time frame too. I train in the am and I like breakfast better than dinner anyway.

  • My husband is the go-to guru on the Modified Warrior Diet. He’s been doing it for years now and he’s the strongest and leanest he’s ever been. More importantly, he truly loves it. :)
    I personally eat 4 meals per day 5 days per week (on training days), and then I fast two days per week (on rest days). Like Kalin said above, fasting has really helped me distinguish between hunger and appetite. I used to be a total slave to my food, always worrying about what I’d eat when I traveled or if I’d be trapped in business meetings all day, thinking I’d starve if I didn’t eat every 3-4 hours. Now I don’t even worry about it and can deal with my hunger just fine.
    While fasting isn’t ideal for my personal physique goals on a day-to-day basis, it is a tactic that I employ every single time I travel. :D

    • Amanda Perry says:

      You fast for 24 hours on both days that you don’t train or just fast for a portion of the day? Thanks for commenting…I love hearing how other people manage their nutrition!

  • Samantha says:

    I could never do the warrior diet! I like food too much! I like to eat 5-6 smaller meals throughout and eat intuitively and thats what works for me with my energy levels and staying lean and strong!

    • Amanda Perry says:

      There’s nothing wrong with that. I think the Warrior Diet is good for some people who are just busy or traveling all day long and don’t want to have to deal with it. Sounds like eating often is more of an enjoyment than a hassle to you. (Same for me…)

  • I’ve heard of this Warrior Diet before and think it’s insane! I could not do it, praise those that can! I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full! I think listening to your body is the best approach when it comes to diet! It shouldn’t have to be torture and restricting!

    • Amanda Perry says:

      HA…love the fact that you called it insane. For me it would be insane too because it would feel like torture (and yes, restrictive), but for some people it is freeing because they no longer have to plan what they are going to eat all day.

  • I definitely do better when I eat small meals and snacks throughout the day and my heaviest meal for dinner. I know some say your heaviest should be breakfast but I feel super sluggish doing it that way. I always do protein shake for breakfast, almonds/protein bar/oatmeal at 10:30 for my pre-workout snack. Lunch is either another protein shake or some sort of veggie/quinoa dish. Afternoon snack is always an apple. And then dinner varies but is usually a protein/carb/veggie mix.

    • Amanda Perry says:

      That sounds kind of similar to how I eat most of the time. Sometimes I’ll have a little bit bigger of a breakfast and then just have a few snacks instead of lunch.

  • Mandy says:

    I’ve done both and I find it really depends on my lifestyle. When I’m extremely busy and/or stressed, I just forget to eat and rather eat one meal a day.

    When I don’t have so much on my plate, I prefer to have smaller meals. Both are valid!

  • Lisa says:

    I’m a brand new reader, but I wanted to comment on this post. I eat literally all the time; it’s not uncommon for me to eat 6+ times a day. Granted, I’m extremely active with an on-my feet job, part-time student, and gymnast (who also runs and strength trains to support my gymnastics). I usually do a big breakfast and big lunch with at least one morning snack and several small-ish meals throughout the afternoon. Also, I love food, so it works out really well. :)

    • Amanda Perry says:

      Hi Lisa – Thanks for commenting and saying hi! Sounds like you are perfectly happy with what you’re doing. I’m sure you need a ton of calories with all of the exercise and activity you do throughout the day! I need a decent amount as well and if I tried to get them all from 1 or 2 meals a day I would be so full and uncomfortable!

  • [...] when it comes to eating healthy or eating to get/stay lean? There are diets based on how often you eat, other diets based on eating specific types of foods at certain times, and still more diets based [...]

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