How Often Should You Eat?
- Mel’s weekly food pick: Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips (grain and gluten-free)
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Crunchy Chickpea Snacks
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What you feed your body most, it will crave. I mentioned this in last week’s post, and the truth is, it applies to more than just what you eat.
Your body craves the consistency of a schedule too. But make no mistake, it absolutely will adapt to prefer round-the-clock snacking if that’s what you’ve trained it to do.
If you’re nibbling all day long (even if it’s on carrot sticks), chances are you are doing it in a mindless, disconnected, foggy state. And to top it off, you’re not allowing your body the opportunity to experience hunger.
And that’s not good!
Hunger (and satiety) are natural and, dare I say, Divine sensations. They serve as a barometer, a built-in coach, gently guiding you to eat when hunger arises and stop when you are satisfied. The sheer ability to experience them is a sign that you are tuned into your body at the most primordial level.
How often should you eat? Ask a baby
We can learn a lot from babies in this department. They don’t snack mindlessly on breast milk; they eat at regular intervals (meals) in direct response to their body’s hunger cues.
You’ll also never catch them with a little baby notebook, meticulously counting their calories. Because they live in a constant state of presence, tuning into and listening to what their body is trying to tell them, is effortless. There’s no in between. It’s either:
- “I’m hungry…feed me now!” , or
- “I’m satisfied…now get your boob out of my face!”
Ask a baby how often they eat, and if they could talk, they’d tell you: “when my body tells me it’s time to eat…duh!”
Calories tell you nothing…so please stop tracking them! (Pretty please with a cherry on top🍒)
Calorie-counting is so 1980’s. It’s also a glaring sign that you do not trust your body. No calculation in the world can tell you how much your body needs; you must feel it.
Furthermore, calories tell you absolutely nothing, and focusing on them will only lead you down a foggy, confused, and disconnected dead end road.
Stay with me here…
First, the deep stuff: What you focus on expands.
When you focus on calories, calories, calories, your emotional desire for more calories will expand. You’ll always want more! This makes it impossible to tap into your deep-rooted, fine-tuned ability to sense hunger and fullness.
When you focus instead on tapping into your body and listening to what it’s trying to tell you, your ability to sense hunger and fullness will expand and become super sensitive. Just like when you were a wee little baby.
But wait…there’s more!
Did you know that your body is in search of nutrients from food, not calories? Yes, when you eat and digest food, your body begins the search for the nutrients that it knows will satisfy it. But when it can’t find those nutrients, it continues to eat more, still looking.
If you are totally obsessed with sticking to a prescribed calorie limit—choosing low-calorie, nutrient-poor foods like diet yogurt, pretzels, and God-awful Lean Cuisine frozen meals—don’t be surprised if you never feel full.
And please don’t be surprised when you eat the entire bag of pretzels.
On the other hand, when you eat a nutrient-rich meal (regardless of the calories) such as a big plate of salad greens mixed with a variety of raw veggies, along with a nice piece of wild salmon and good fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, you feel completely fulfilled. You aren’t likely stuffed, but what I like to call satisfied to the core. Your hunger switch turns off because your body extracted everything it needed from that meal.
The message is simple: If your goal is to go mad, keep counting calories. If not, stop!
So, how often should you eat?
Let your body guide you. If you are really present and connected, it will tell you when it needs to be fed.
But what if you’ve trained your body to eat all day long? How do you get out of this tangled web of mindless eating?
Start by eating three times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The length of time between each meal will depend on what you ate (how nutritionally balanced your last meal was) and how connected you are to the sensations of hunger and satiety.
When you become still, tap into the present moment and access your full power, you are in sync with your body’s needs. You eat when hungry and stop when you’ve had enough. You’ll also find that your body takes to its own schedule, because it really does crave consistency.
Yes, sometimes you will eat more than your body is asking for, but you’ll be OK with your decision…because you were conscious when you made it.
Mel’s weekly food pick:
Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips
Made from organic coconut flour, cassava (a root vegetable native to South America) starch, and coconut oil, The Real Coconut Tortilla Chips are a tasty, fiber-rich alternative to potato and corn-based chips.
Available in Original, Himalayan Pink Salt, Beach Barbecue, and Sea Salt & Vinegar (my favorite!).
Serve alongside a nice big salad with a scoop of homemade guacamole for dipping, or pick up a container of Wholly Guacamole on your next shopping trip.
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Crunchy Chickpea Snacks