Continuing to look at my Daily Energy Curve, I wanted to understand how my meal schedule would impact my energy levels. I have been working on feeling as energetic as possible. I imagined the times I ate would contribute to that.
I thought I had detected a pattern when I ate a big breakfast I would feel warm and alert for several hours. And a big breakfast would account for all my calories until dinner. Would I crash in the afternoon if I had no lunch? Or if I ate a smaller breakfast would I crash mid-morning?
Did I have more energy through the course of the day if I ate one big breakfast and skipped lunch or if I divided my intake between a modest breakfast and modest lunch?
What I Did
I captured how alert I felt four times a day for 50 consecutive days during which I either ate a large breakfast and skipped lunch or ate modest breakfast and modest lunch. I then compared my alertness at different parts of the day during the two types of meal intake.
How I Did It
I set my alarm on my iPhone so it would alert me eight times a day. When the alarm went off, I used my DIY Tracker on my iPhone to capture how alert I felt.
The DIY Tracker captures a score of 1 – 5 on my alertness. After 50 days I took the data generated and eliminated days where I did not measure correctly or had food intake what was outside specific tolerances. This yielded 30 good readings. I separated the list into the two types of food intake and did a TTest comparing them.
What I Learned
There was no significant difference in energy levels through the course of they day based on whether I ate all at once or spread the intake over two periods. I compared the different intake schedules for each of four day parts and the average of the four. The TTests revealed that there was no difference between eating a single meal vs. splitting it into two.
Another personal story debunked. My body would process the nutrients on its own pace and as long as I was putting in the right amount by noon I was ok. Knowing this gives me a tremendous amount of latitude based on what is happening in my day.
I think about all the upsets around trying to eat on a rigid schedule in the morning and how much time I spent planning eating based on having to eat the “correct” amount. The answer is if I had enough calories and did not distract myself with hunger I would be ok.
If you want to try using your own DIY Tracker, you can download free instructions to get you started.