Five Meals a Day Myth: Long-term Benefits of Fasting

There is a myth in the fitness world that you should eat smaller meals throughout the day, and they should all be high in protein. In my experience, this is a far stretch from the truth-I have found maximum benefit for my body and health from following an intermittent fasting style protocol. I also spend less time worrying about food and more time doing other things I love.

The recommendation for example is that you would have breakfast and then a post-workout shake, lunch, a snack before dinner, and then dinner of course. This is a popular misconception in the whole health industry; that you have to eat multiple times through the day in order to keep your metabolism up and running well. I am here to bust that myth for you all because let’s be honest here…the time spent buying, preparing, and even eating all of that food can surmount to unpractical limits and that can lead people to fall of the whole health wagon, and worse, pick up something fast like a milkshake or burger if they need to hit their “macros” for the day, but are unprepared.

Here’s the deal…you can actually drastically reduce the amount of time you spend worrying about food and stay as healthy as ever in this process. I have found for me personally, that sticking to a strict intermittent fasting style during the week and usually not breaking my fast until 12 pm, sometimes 1pm, finishing my last meal around 7pm latest has changed my health drastically.
Fitness Progress

In the morning before the gym I have a bulletproof coffee which has MCT oil in it and cinnamon. I break my fast around 12pm-1pm with a big meal, usually eggs, avocado, sweet potato and sometimes a smoothie if I am really hungry. This lasts me well throughout the day. By the time it’s dinner I start to get hungry again so I have another big meal, usually a salad with lots of protein and vegetables. I usually finish off the night with an adaptogenic turmeric latte or a square of dark chocolate to curb my sweet tooth.

That means that I’m basically having two big meals in my day: breakfast and dinner. This also works well with my workout schedule, because I usually like to eat after I work out to replenish fuels. Since I exercise each morning, breakfast achieves this, and because I usually go to yoga or Pilates in the afternoon, dinner accomplishes the same goal. Of course, I’m not saying I stick perfectly to this plan every single day. On the weekends in particular, there are times where I will go out for dinner and it will be a later meal and that’s fine. It’s not about having all these rules in your life that you have to follow, it’s more about generally adhering to a routine that allows you to maximize your time and your health.

As I said, the whole eat five times a day thing is not that practical and in my experience, it is better to have 2-3 large meals that keep you satiated. For me personally, it is more fulfilling to eat a big meal than have tiny snacks and small meals that don’t leave me feeling satisfied after eating.

Salad with sweet potatoes

Fasting is an excellent way to maintain long-term health. Fasting has numerous benefits for the body. I recommend a 16 hour fast, and 8-hour window. You can also do a 18 hour fast and have a 6 hour eating window. Some people stick to a 20 hour fast and only a 4 hour window. The CEO of twitter, Jack Dorsey, only eats one meal a day, meaning he is fasting the majority of the time. He claims that this method has never given him more mental clarity in his entire life. Fasting puts your body in a state of eustress, or good stress. When your body is not having to digest food all the time and break it down, most people find that fasting gives them MORE energy (because the energy is not being used on digestion), and it will also give them more mental clarity and alertness. Fasting also has long-term benefits for health such as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, death from cancer and lessened inflammation systemically. These are great reasons to try implementing fasting. You don’t have to be extreme as Jack Dorsey but try to stop eating by 7 or 8 pm each night, and then don’t break your fast until noon the next day. You can meditate, workout, clean the house, journal, drink lemon water or water with a little bit of Himalayan salt and apple cider vinegar in the morning. Green tea and coffee is also fine (just don’t add any creamer or milk to the coffee…MCT oil is fine). Click here to read about my morning coffee recipe.

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5 responses to “Five Meals a Day Myth: Long-term Benefits of Fasting”

  1. Amanda Avatar

    GIRL for some reason I thought you were vegan. Disappointed that you aren’t :/

    1. holisticallykatie Avatar

      Hi, I actually wrote about why I am not vegan in this post:
      As Ive mentioned before, we are all unique and therefore thrive on different diets! 🙂

      1. Amanda Avatar

        For some reason I was following your blog under the impression you were vegan. You should definitely look into making the change, though. Don’t be a stranger if you ever need diet/lifestyle advice!

      2. A Dude Abikes Avatar

        I agree Katie. I was vegan once in the 90s when my metabolism worked. Maybe it lead to it slowing down, plus age. I tried it again last year and got anemia, so I quit… as 85% of people trying it or vegetarianism do in a study I read about. Eat what you want and what works for your body. Not what some dogma or zealot tells you.

  2. A Dude Abikes Avatar

    Fasting when you are prediabetic is not a good idea. A dip in blood sugar, especially if you exercise, could lead to overdoing it, or eating whatever
    sugary thing you see (definitely my problem). That said, having some space for digestion is important. Also, I would say having coffee with oil is bresking your fast in one sense. But if it works, do it! I have dark chocolate in the am and can’t do caffeine.

    Diet should be tailored to each individual. I’m very wary of blanket statements or one size fits all prescriptions. Eat more vegetables is really the main thing I want to do better, and I think that will take care of most of my diet issues. Easier said than done.

Let me know what you think!

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