Timing of Meal 3 vs. Getting Enough Sleep


Barfygarfy

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I couldn't find any posts on this question, but sorry if I'm repeating another post! 

I'm 14 days into my first W30 and going strong. No problem with cravings or meal prep or meal size (it took a bit of navigation, but I think I'm there.)

 

My issue is that 5 days of the week I don't get home until 6:30-7:15pm and I try to go to bed at 10 (haha posting this at 10:45, but going to bed asap.) Often times I'm eating by 7:30pm if I'm lucky...my question is: Is it more important to aim for getting enough sleep, even if it means sometimes only having 2 (sometimes less) hrs hours between Meal 3 and bed?

Please note, this is not at all an emergency post, just looking at tweaking my approach to the program and getting as much out of it as possible.

 

Here's my workday schedule:

Wake up 6:05-6:15

Meal 1 ~7am

Meal 2 ~noon-1pm

Leave work shortly after 6pm (commute takes 25-60 minutes depending on transportation)

Meal 3 ~7:30pm (depending on when I get home; I have to feed the pets before myself)

Go to bed ~10pm  (unfortunately this is non-negotiable most days because the dog cannot be kenneled for more than 8 hours, hence bed @ 10-ish and wake up at 6-ish)

 

 

I have been opting for sleep, as I know how important that is. The last 2 weeks have been especially long work days, and I've had several nights where Meal 3 didn't happen until 8 or 9pm. Coincidentally, those were also the nights (5 in a row!) where I woke up between 3:30-4am, suddenly wide awake, fell back asleep but then felt terrible 2 hours later when my alarm went off. (I read that that happens sometimes and I'm content to trust the program and I have managed to both eat a bit earlier and sleep better the last few  nights since.)

 

The only solution I've thought of is to take both Meal 2 and Meal 3 to work, although I would not have the opportunity to take another meal break (let's say, if I wanted to eat Meal 3 at 5:30 and not eat at all after getting home) and would have to eat that meal at my desk, which I know is also not recommended. 

 

I'm enjoying the benefits I'm seeing on W30, and I'm not freaking out about this. I've been making my own executive decisions and doing the best I can, but just wondering what you think and perhaps an outside perspective will see something I'm missing.

 

Thanks!

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Unfortunately sometimes the timing doesn't work out the greatest... the recommendation to stop eating a few hours before bedtime is due to what you experienced, sleep can be more difficult and disrupted when you eat closer to bedtime but we would not recommend putting off your bedtime just to get the hours between eating and sleep... In your particular context, it might work to take your M3 to work and eat at your desk (not the most ideal but a LOT of people do... just try and take the 10 or 15 min to eat... don't hoover it) and then if you need a mini meal at pet feeding time, do that... that might be a better load on your system and the timing of it definitely works because 6-7 hours between lunch and dinner is actually not awesome either...

In your case you need to make these small adjustments as you go to see what works best for you... the three meals a day, stop XX hours before bed etc... are for the common majority... for someone like me, it works great... you will need to see what works best for you but I think if you can eat M3 earlier and then do a small M3.5 a few hours before bed if needed, that might work better? And heck, maybe you don't need an M3.5... you could do just fine being done your eating at 530ish... a 12 hour fasting time is not that out there...

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Thanks! I appreciate the feedback and it resonates with where my thoughts had been heading. Since I'm usually eating alone at night anyway (not always, but often) it probably wouldn't throw me off all that much (to not eat, or eat just a mini-meal after getting home from work.) Just requires the extra planning ahead and taking another meal to work. I'll try some experiments with eating Meal 3 at work and see how I feel. 

 

Cheers - I'm impressed with the fast responses on here!

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I'm in the same boat as barfygarfy. I workout at 6am (with the pre and post workout meals). Breakfast between 8-9. Lunch around 2/2:30 and dinner I usually don't start eating until 8:30/9 then right to bed. Is it bad to be on the longer end of the spectrum for how much time between meals. I am typically hungry when I'm on my way home and making dinner and often pick at the vegetables raw while I prepare my meals. (Maybe a handful of carrots)

Thanks is for any help

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I'm in the same boat as barfygarfy. I workout at 6am (with the pre and post workout meals). Breakfast between 8-9. Lunch around 2/2:30 and dinner I usually don't start eating until 8:30/9 then right to bed. Is it bad to be on the longer end of the spectrum for how much time between meals. I am typically hungry when I'm on my way home and making dinner and often pick at the vegetables raw while I prepare my meals. (Maybe a handful of carrots)

Thanks is for any help

Lisabutler: Will be curious to hear what responses you get on this. I'm struggling with timing (my schedule listed at the top of this thread) and that's before I even get back to regular exercise! I've tried working out in the morning and working out at night - either way, it's going to be a terrible crunch. And If I do what you do (pre/post workout, then eat Meal 1 a bit later) I'm going to have to eat all 3 meals at work! That doesn't sound enjoyable at all. :P

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Lisabutler: Will be curious to hear what responses you get on this. I'm struggling with timing (my schedule listed at the top of this thread) and that's before I even get back to regular exercise! I've tried working out in the morning and working out at night - either way, it's going to be a terrible crunch. And If I do what you do (pre/post workout, then eat Meal 1 a bit later) I'm going to have to eat all 3 meals at work! That doesn't sound enjoyable at all. :P

That's what I am struggling with. Luckily a few days a week I start work a little later so I can eat at home but there is nothing like a freshly cooked meal and roasted veggies for dinner. I would prefer not to be eating out of Tupperware three meals a day. It takes the enjoyment out of eating my meals, in my opinion. I also am facing the issue on the weekends that my meals are much closer together because I sleep in a little and if I workout my breakfast is pushed back even further. I'm sure having a variable schedule from the weekend to during the week isn't ideal.

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That's what I am struggling with. Luckily a few days a week I start work a little later so I can eat at home but there is nothing like a freshly cooked meal and roasted veggies for dinner. I would prefer not to be eating out of Tupperware three meals a day. It takes the enjoyment out of eating my meals, in my opinion. I also am facing the issue on the weekends that my meals are much closer together because I sleep in a little and if I workout my breakfast is pushed back even further. I'm sure having a variable schedule from the weekend to during the week isn't ideal.

Oh I totally agree! I think that ultimately there has to be some give and take, but I'm new to this and given I have decades of unhealthy relationships with food I figure it's worth a little time and effort to find the right balance. My meals are usually more well-spaced on the weekends because I get up at roughly the same time (to let my dog out) and usually have more flexibility in terms of eating Meal 3 earlier. 

 

What are you using for pre-/post-workout meals? I've been reading a bit about it, but I've relied on fruit & protein (in the form of dairy-based protein powder) for so many years and I'm having a hard time expanding my ideas and/or being able to prep for those "meals" in addition to the 3 main meals. So far hard boiled eggs and sweet potato are the most likely solutions. I know there's a lot to read on this topic, which I definitely plan to do (forums & It Starts With Food) but I'm curious what other new folks are trying. :) 

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I think you have to experiment and find out what works for you, everyone needs a different amount of sleep and tolerates eating closer to bedtime differently.  For me, Mon to Fri the earliest I ever eat meal 3 is 7:30 and sometimes it is 8:30 when I work out after work and then I aim to go to bed at 10 and I get up between 5-5:30.  I try to eat a larger meal 2 and lighter meal 3 if I know meal 3 will be at 8:30.  Those are the days that I workout after work.  So I will have a preWO snack at 6pm, workout at 6:30-7:30, postWO right after before I leave the gym and then meal 3 at 8:30, go to bed at 10.  This has worked for me and it is not the recommended amount of time.  Just play around with timing and you will find something that works for you!

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I think you have to experiment and find out what works for you, everyone needs a different amount of sleep and tolerates eating closer to bedtime differently.  For me, Mon to Fri the earliest I ever eat meal 3 is 7:30 and sometimes it is 8:30 when I work out after work and then I aim to go to bed at 10 and I get up between 5-5:30.  I try to eat a larger meal 2 and lighter meal 3 if I know meal 3 will be at 8:30.  Those are the days that I workout after work.  So I will have a preWO snack at 6pm, workout at 6:30-7:30, postWO right after before I leave the gym and then meal 3 at 8:30, go to bed at 10.  This has worked for me and it is not the recommended amount of time.  Just play around with timing and you will find something that works for you!

Dear Kruddock,

 

Thanks for this perspective! I've been struggling to figure out where to put my workout since there wouldn't be enough time in the morning for pre-W food, workout, post-W food AND another meal. I could take Meal 1 & 2 to work, which would space the meals more "ideally", but completely remove me from any lunch interactions with co-workers. I think having a preWO snack before I leave work, consider biking home my warm-up, working out as soon as I get home, and then eating a bit later might work. I'll try experimenting and see how that feels a few days a week. Weekends are much easier, of course. 

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Someone is going to scream that I'm not eating enough, but being on straight nights, this works for me.

Eat supper at 3pm -full meal including protein, veggies, salad and maybe a fruit. Then I don't eat again till 3 am when I will eat the 2nd portion of protein

that I made at 3pm and salad and maybe fruit.

The only time I change this ,is my days off were I will eat breakfast as I am staying up for the day.

I will have eggs and bacon and tomato or something like that.

This eating plan seems to work well, I feel satiated , don't have the munchies,no bloating and my sleep is much better than it used to be.

Weight is coming off slowly and I have energy again. I think we all have to tweak our individual meals and sleep to find a fit.

It's taken me about a month to settle into this and I feel great.

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Someone is going to scream that I'm not eating enough, but being on straight nights, this works for me.

Eat supper at 3pm -full meal including protein, veggies, salad and maybe a fruit. Then I don't eat again till 3 am when I will eat the 2nd portion of protein

that I made at 3pm and salad and maybe fruit.

The only time I change this ,is my days off were I will eat breakfast as I am staying up for the day.

I will have eggs and bacon and tomato or something like that.

This eating plan seems to work well, I feel satiated , don't have the munchies,no bloating and my sleep is much better than it used to be.

Weight is coming off slowly and I have energy again. I think we all have to tweak our individual meals and sleep to find a fit.

It's taken me about a month to settle into this and I feel great.

 

No one here 'screams' at anyone about not eating enough.  We encourage people to follow the meal template and meal timing that is recommended by the makers of this program.  If you choose not to, then you are well and free to do that but it's absolutely not the recommendation to only eat once every 12 hours.

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Someone is going to scream that I'm not eating enough, but being on straight nights, this works for me.

Eat supper at 3pm -full meal including protein, veggies, salad and maybe a fruit. Then I don't eat again till 3 am when I will eat the 2nd portion of protein

that I made at 3pm and salad and maybe fruit.

The only time I change this ,is my days off were I will eat breakfast as I am staying up for the day.

I will have eggs and bacon and tomato or something like that.

This eating plan seems to work well, I feel satiated , don't have the munchies,no bloating and my sleep is much better than it used to be.

Weight is coming off slowly and I have energy again. I think we all have to tweak our individual meals and sleep to find a fit.

It's taken me about a month to settle into this and I feel great.

 

I hear you. Prior to W30 I was having great success applying Intermittent Fasting. I was still eating 3 separate meals, just closer together. "Fasting" from roughly 8pm to noon the next day, M1 at noon, M2 around 4pm and my last meal of the day around 7-8pm. I was always satiated and found I was much better hydrated from drinking more water in the mornings. It's been a challenge to eat first thing in the morning, but this schedule has more or less been working for me too, and after almost 30 days I'm used to the new schedule. Some Paleo friends eat 6 or 7 times/day, and I imagine many of our ancestors lived feast and famine depending on what was available to them. (I do realize that the idea behind W30 is not just "health" but "optimal health" for what that's worth.) 

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I was eating like your list above, prior to W30 and was snacking at nights- hence the weight gain.

I don't eat first thing in the morning as I get home at 6 am, and hit the bed for 8 hours, so for me,  3 pm is my morning.

At 3 am I am working and that's my supper hour. Other than that I am not hungry, I also stay well hydrated.

 

I cannot imagine eating 6 or 7 times a day, I would blow up.

My goal is to feel good, sleep well and have more energy, and this seems to work.

The losing weight is just an extra bonus.Love it.

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