Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I hear people say that it is important to eat whenever you are hungry, but I never hear that we should sleep whenever we are sleepy. We discipline ourselves to sleep at appropriate times, that was the first thing our parents trained us to do. I know I trained my babies to sleep at night as soon as possible so I could sleep myself. No one questions this. Yet the eating patterns are always debated.
When I was little, we ate three times a day, and we little ones got one snack in the afternoon while Mom drank coffee. Which she drank out of a cup and saucer while sitting down (how old fashioned!) Feeding the family was a lot of work, so three times a day took a lot of time, planning and preparation. There just simply wasn't a way for a kid to say "I'm hungry" and have Mom pull out the pans and make a snack. Teeny tiny babies ate on demand, but weaning involved trying to get them on a schedule that conformed to family rhythms, which was as close to 3 times a day as possible, as soon as possible. When we started school, we weren't allowed to eat during class so we HAD to wait until lunchtime. It was expected and we had no choice but to figure out how to comply. Even the athletes who needed more food had to wait until lunch. Many thousands of years ago when our ancestors were hunter gatherers, they ate all day while gathering. Once cooking became the norm, we ate when cooked food was available, and it just isn't possible to prepare food for constant eating.
I wonder when the idea of grazing all day long came into being? We certainly don't nap off and on all day. Both are biological functions that have to fit into our modern days. Some of us who have problems sleeping at night don't just say "I'm tired" and go to sleep anytime. Try that one on your boss. We try whatever it takes to sleep as much at night as possible, to be able to fit our lives into the ordinary modern day.
I eat three meals a day because that is what that 24 hour day, sunup to sundown, demands of me. If everything you eat has to start standing at a stove followed by washing up, rather than reaching for a box or a package, 3 times would look pretty good.
To me my meal discipline and my sleeping patterns are two sides of the same coin: the 24 hour day.