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AtA: When to Eat, the “9 hour” concept

Posted June 2nd, 2010 in Ask the Author and tagged , , , by Clint

In the nutrition section, you mention breaking up the day into 9 hour phases with meal breaks every 3 hours. What was the purpose of the 9 hour phases? I get that one phase is for sleep and metabolism is low. Am I right in thinking the next phase (morning-afternoon) should have meals with higher calories? Then with the last phase (afternoon-evening) should still have meals but with lower calories? I think that may have been what you intended but it was a bit vague.

The “9 hour” thing was simply to try and pry people loose of a “24 hour cycle” sort of mentality that has people scurrying to eat a bunch of calories before they sleep in order to meet some numerical goal, or else starving themselves because they ate too much that morning.

Really, the focus is on “what am I putting, or about to put, into my mouth?” A significant factor in that decision is what you’ve eaten earlier, and what you intend to eat later. You might consider eating more if (for example) you did not eat 3 hours before (you were asleep, say) or you do not intend to eat 3 hours later (zzz). Or when you plan to exercise, your meals will adjust as well.

If 3 hours ago you could only get a snack, your right-now feeding might benefit from being larger. Or if 3 hours from now you intend to eat a big meal, you may want your current meal to be something simple.

I should have said “6 hours”, in that with what you are currently or about to eat, you want to take into account what you ate 3 hours prior, and what you plan to eat 3 hours hence. More like this:

-3 —– 0 —– +3

Hopefully that clarifies things.

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