Carbs, proteins and fats (macros) are one thing. Portion control is another, but timing is just as important to your diet.
Having a bite to eat can be too complicated these days, especially when you listen to fitness nuts like me. I've witnessed too many people over-think this health stuff (including me). One of the few things I know is that each person has his or her own body which has its own response to food, but I also know that we can suffer the same consequences if we do it wrong.
I made the graph above thinking of the timing of eating and how to ensure that you're giving yourself the best chance to get to, or to maintain good health.
Keep it this simple.
ALL DAY EATINGwill surely keep you tired and less than your best self. It takes about 15% of energyfor us to digest food meaning the best energy grade we can earn is a B. When we add body fat percentage, metabolic rate, and even the type of food we are eating, we are likely using even more energy to digest food thus defaulting us to lower levels of energy afterwards. If we're snacking, eating and digesting food all day, then we'll never operate at 100% or anywhere near it.
Eat during certain times allowing your body time to use the food for energy during your activities. As for me, I eat breakfast in the nine o'clock hour, I eat lunch in the noon hour, and I eat dinner usually in the seven o'clock hour. This means my body has time between to digest and use food for energy throughout the day.
Eating WHEN YOU'RE FULLI think is the most broken rule. We eat too much too often. Feeling full for some people is a sign that you've eaten good, which could be because of cultural, familial or mental influences. The phrase "eat like a king" gives the idea that a king can eat anything and however much of it he wants because he's the king, so we feel somewhat exalted, or well-off, or loved when we can eat heavy. Problem is, eating too much saps our energies too like I mentioned before.
Eating is mental, and some of us suffer clinically diagnosed mental disorders with food. The difficulty is knowing what exactly is enough aside from what we think, or how we feel [emotionally].
Our bodies are full before our mind computes it. Feeling satisfied after eating is very mental, yet it is a condition that we program ourselves to do.
Eating DURING A WORKOUT?!?You're asking for disaster. Vomitng isn't allowed in the gym, although it's tolerated, and that's what you'll do if you eat while you're training. I once played a soccer match after eating spaghetti, like one hour after eating it and my stomach was aching all day. I played like poo, I didn't feel relief until that next morning and I felt exhausted even then. I've even seen people eating in the gym (protein bars, snacks and smoothies) and they're usually not putting in real work. You can't.
Eat at least one hour before a workout (please, not spaghetti) and definitely eat after training.
LATE NIGHT EATINGis a bit nuanced. I was most recently guilty of it, not gonna hide it. My family and me went to the gym together, we went home, I cooked as we along with other home duties and by the time it was all complete, it was late but I ate. Sometimes I'll have a protein shake and call it a night, but I was not gonna eat a fresh meal as leftovers. I had a hard time sleeping that night, slight indigestion because of the size of the meal, and I knew better.
Why am I telling on myself? Because I share this information for you and for me.
Even I would've slept hard, eating within an hour to bedtime, eating without going for a walk afterwards can do so much harm. I should have just drank a shake. I should've prepared better with a light late night snack that digests easily and doesn't do harm.
It's only OK to eat before sleeping if it's light, lean and wholesome. Sodium, sugars and starches are the enemy before bed. Drink some warm-hot water, plan for a big breakfast if you're hungry, enjoy the snack and take that night nap.
Timing the right meals can elevate your health that fuel a superhero version of yourself giving you invincible energy levels.