When vs What You Eat

Dec 23, 2021 | Nutrition

As you’re considering a ‘new year, new me’ diet change, keep in mind that WHEN you eat may matter just as much as WHAT you eat.

It’s something you may have read in my previous blog on my results from a month of intermittent fasting.

I’ve gone head first into this food-timing rabbit hole and so far there’s no end in sight, so to keep you from stressing about yet another ‘latest, greatest diet for 2022’ here’s some food for thought (pun intended).

The Focus Has Been the “What”

Take a look at any weight loss or diet information and I’d bet money that it’s focused mostly on the “what” of eating.

Whether it’s eating some meat or not eating meat (vegetarian) or only eating meat (carnivore).

Perhaps it’s eating various ‘styles’ of diets like the Mediterranean diet.  

Or maybe it’s about eating certain macronutrients – think Atkins, paleo, keto, IIFYM, and countless others.

It could even disregard macros and composition and instead focus solely on calories (the calorie deficit people). 

Any way you look at it, all the information and focus is geared toward what you’re actually putting in your mouth. Which, if you think about it, makes sense. We do need to be aware of what we’re putting in our bodies.

But WHEN Matters, Too

The timing of our food absolutely matters for many, many reasons that are beyond the scope of this post. 

To create a very extreme, but very obvious example – imagine if you ate the exact same food two days in a row (so same amount of calories, macronutrient makeup, etc) except on the first day you ate them in 3 meals, and the second day you stretched it all out over the course of the entire day and ate roughly one bite of food every 5 minutes.

Note: I don’t even know if that’s possible, if there are enough bites of food to last the whole day, etc. But you get the idea.

You’d likely feel very different about the food you ate, and your body would process the food you ate differently. In addition, the effect of the food on your body would be different.

Rather than processing a few meals, your body would be continuously processing food for the entire day. Meaning processes that normally occur when you’re not digesting food wouldn’t have the chance to occur.

Be Conscious of the When

This isn’t a plug for any type of fasting, but rather a recognition that our bodies likely weren’t meant to graze on food and snacks all day every day like is so readily available these days.

We went through periods of starvation and surplus and our bodies did just fine (we’re still here, right!?).

But the fact that we KNOW our body needs a break from digestion (it’s science), yet most of us Americans still eat from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed means most of us aren’t paying much attention to the “when” of eating.

I’ll let you in on a secret though – paying attention to the when is WAYYYYYY easier than paying attention to the what.

When I did my intermittent fasting and I knew I could only eat between certain hours, I wasn’t worried about only being able to eat a salad or vegetables or [insert other health food thing]. I ate like normal, but stopped after a certain time on the clock. It really was that simple.

Calorie or macro counting wasn’t on my mind, I didn’t have to buy any supplements or meal replacement bars, nor did I even think about what food groups I was eating.

Literally the only thing on my mind was making sure I ate during the window I set for myself. 

It made it all SO DANG SIMPLE!

Plus (as you may have already read) that super simple change helped me cut out all the shit I was eating after dinner out of boredom or bad habit. But guess what – if I wanted chocolate during my eating time, I ate it!

Is a type of intermittent fasting or time restricted eating the magic diet you’ve been waiting for?

Hard NO.

But does meal timing play into weight loss, health, and your relationship with food?


So have food timing on your radar if you’re considering switching things up for the new year.

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