We Americans are a fast-paced culture. We are usually doing something from the moment we wake up in the morning, to the time our heads hit the pillow in the evening. We are busy with work, busy with families, busy with life and there’s always something to do or somewhere to go. For all of the hectic parts of our schedule, there should be something in our daily lives that regulate us mentally, emotionally, hormonally, and metabolically. It is one of the most important activities of life, eating.
Humans need food in order to survive. We have to ingest enough food to create the energy for activities of daily living. So, we must eat. But, almost as important as eating, is the regularity of eating.
Eating on a schedule should be an everyday routine. A regular eating agenda causes the body to expect meals at certain intervals during its waking hours. This establishes a diurnal pattern that trains the body to prepare itself for food by shifting into a parasympathetic nervous response. The parasympathetic nervous response takes the body into “rest and digest” mode, which slows the heart rate, encourages internal organ function, and benefits the digestive processes.
The key is to allow the body to stay in the parasympathetic mode for as long as possible. This is the comfort zone and forms the groundwork from which to build upon. That foundation is a solid platform for us to better respond to the changes and stresses that may come about.
Whether a meal plan consists of three meals, five meals, or two meals and two snacks per day, an eating schedule should be the base of everyone’s lifestyle, especially the busy ones.