Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Unorthodox Eating

 “What? That’s just crazy!” That is the response that I usually get when people learn of my typical night-eating pattern. For the past 4-5 years, I have not slept through the night. I habitually get up anywhere between 1:00am to 4:00am to have breakfast and then I go back to bed. Now, there are several reasons for this. One reason is that I am a morning runner and I feel very uncomfortable running on an empty or full stomach. Another reason is that I eat dinner early, around 5:00pm or 6:00pm. By the time 1:00am rolls around, it has been 7 hours since I last ate. For a runner with a revved up metabolism, that is a long time. Reason three is that I don’t eat enough during the day. This is doubtful the rationale for me because my meals are carefully planned out and nutritionally adequate. My last suggestion is that I love to eat. Running 70+ miles a week makes it difficult for me to think about much more than my next meal. So when I wake up at 2:00am and think, “I have to wait another 4 hours to eat my shredded wheat with soy milk!? Ugh!” I sleep much sounder if I just get up, eat it and go back to bed. The same problem occurs when I get up. It has been 4-5 hours since my bowl of cereal and my stomach is rumbling which calls for another breakfast or a snack.

Tastes even better at 2am!
There are health professionals who say not to eat after 6:00pm and not to eat and then go to bed. As a health professional myself, I disagree. Each body is different and responds differently to different stimuli. Don’t get caught up in the “rules.” Who says breakfast has to be eaten within a certain time frame? As an athlete, you need to be very connected to your body. The last thing you want to do is ignore signs of hunger just because it isn’t the “normal” time to eat.

I used to get upset over this unorthodox practice, but now I embrace it. This how I am wired and it works for me. I still get enough sleep despite my eating escapades and I enjoy the peace and quiet of the wee hours. It gives me time to catch up on the latest news and plan dinner.

Do you have a weird eating quirk? What is your body trying to tell you? Listen to it- It knows best.

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