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There are 24 hours in a day. Some of that time can be spent eating, and some fasting. The time between your first and last meals can be considered your eating window, and the rest of the time designated “fasting.” Fasting can be a scary word, but some other common names for this schedule include time-restricted feeding (TRF), intermittent fasting (IF), not snacking, skipping breakfast, or simply: meal timing.
The quality and amount of calories you eat is important, but the timing of the meals is also an important variable. The goal here isn’t to just skip a meal or eat less food, but rather eat the same healthy food within a scheduled time. You are always eating your food at a certain time, so the question is how deliberate and optimized that schedule is.
What is an ideal meal timing? It varies depending on what you are trying to do. Fasting is an important lever in managing your body. Something as important as this should be well understood and done intentionally, not left to chance, habit or social conventions. Controlling the number and time of your meals is also a very intuitive way to control your total intake, without needing complex calorie counting or extreme willpower.
A simple rule of thumb is three meals to gain weight, two to maintain or one to lose weight (bodyfat). By the end of chapter, you will have experienced a wide variety of meal timings — ranging from constantly eating to just one meal a day. With that experience, you can make an informed decision about what works best for your health and current goals.
People often have a lot of fear and uncertainty around missing a single meal, worrying that skipping breakfast might be unhealthy for their metabolism or reduce their energy. There is now a lot of research dispelling those common myths, but the easiest way to know for sure is to simply try it yourself.
For most purposes, near-zero calorie meals like water, coffee, tea, matcha, etc. (without milk or sugar) count as fasting, and eating meals that need to be digested and metabolized (anything with sugar or more than 5-10 calories) count as ending the fast and start the eating timer. You can track all this in the app by simply taking photos of your food — the times on the photos will be automatically used to measure your eating and fasting each day.