How many times a day should we eat?
Well if you are anything like me, I used to think three times was the norm.
But a colon resection changed all that for me!
I have learned much in the last few years about eating than I ever did in my first 47 years of life. One thing which really stands out for me now is that digestion begins as soon as our saliva mixes in with the food.
On a mission to accomplish as much as I can
At one time I was a person with a mission, the faster I ate, the faster I would get to where I needed or wanted to be. I still have my tasks, but now I get to them at a slower pace now.
I love food, the more I can eat the better I feel. But now it’s a little different than before. I now eat six meals a day, where before I used to eat three large meals.
Hey! That’s the concept I had grown up with.
It was ingrained into my very psyche. To change this would have meant changing many things I believe what my parents had taught me in regards to food.
My Mom, bless her heart was/is a fabulous cook. Eating was a fun time had by all. Not only did we eat our three meals, by seconds at dinner time were a necessity to make sure there were no leftovers for the next time.
Because of my Mom’s love cooking, all of us had to make sure to finish the food that was on our plate, plus more. We finished our meal so she could cook a new meal every single day.
I mean really who doesn’t like to eat differently at each meal especially if they are prepared by someone else who makes such fantastic food.
Eating snacks was a given
Snacks were always available as well, which I took great liberty with. Most of our meals were over 500-800 calories, which I now realize in hindsight was such a burden on my colon.
Can you imagine taking on the task of trying to push food down as fast possible to ensure the best outcome, so nothing gets left behind?
What has changed for me now?
Well, now I eat six small meals every 2 hours a day. Each one of the meals is 250-300 calories, although, for the most part, I try to stay closer to 250.
This makes it easier for the colon to handle the load coming in. Smaller weight takes a shorter time, plus since 18’ inches of my colon is gone, it also means a shorter distance to the destination. Many would think a shorter length might be better.
But that is not so. Why? Because shorter distance means the colon can get impacted with food, which may cause a full stop to everything.
Trust me you don’t want that. Then you may need to go to the hospital to get an enema, kind of embarrassing.
Not fun at all!
An analogy here: Think of pulling something heavy versus something light. Which one would get to the end faster?
Yes, I know a weird way of comparing the colon to pulling a load, but that’s the way I see it as well as the easiest way for me to explain it.
I know some of you are probably thinking but what about gravity. While I agree with that the food is going down, after a resection, gravity isn’t much of a help. The colon needs coaxing to make sure it does its job right, why not start right at the beginning, to make the process easier.
Learning to chew was a process
Another thing you want to make sure is to chew thoroughly. Maybe you remember the saying, “chew each bite at least 25 times.” Whoever came up with that line was not kidding my friend.
They were definitely onto something.
Now it’s become evident more than ever of why I need to chew each bite 25 times. Well first off the digestion is handled more efficiently when the food is already thoroughly chewed.
One thing I really like about this chewing thing is I can actually taste individuality of the food. Kind of the like chefs on TV, where food is prepared, not only do the judges eat the food, but they also describe what has gone into making the food.
I am not calling myself a gourmet chef who can tell precisely by tasting the food, what all was involved in making it. But at least now I can taste the food while enjoying the process of some silent time for myself.
At the beginning of my colon resection, I used to eat fast, swallow without thinking of what the result would be. I caught on pretty quickly when gas/bloating/pain would start.
The more chewed up food I ate, the better I was preparing my colon for the onslaught that was coming. My colon thanked me for it, by increasing my movements.
Walking after eating is good
Moving forward with each meal I eat.
I walk at least 10 minutes right after to move things right along, but drink water to help the meal go down. I now have a treadmill to help with the process, but before this, I would put my hands straight out to any wall (really depended upon the view I wanted, but mostly just my bedroom wall) to walk in place.
This way not only done to get things going, but I also get my daily 60-minute walk in. Granted that it is broken up into six chunks, but I’m not really worried about that. As I know, it’s good for me to keep moving around.
And 60 minutes is 60 minutes!
I really want to stress this next point. Have your last meal at least 4 hours before bedtime. I learned this the hard way. A few times I woke up having breathing issues, as soon as I woke, I would burp.
Which means the food was still sitting at the top; this would block my breathing. It scared the crap out of me, but I figured out my eating time was one of the contributing factors to this.
How did I figure this out? Well in the mornings I would still be burping the previous evening’s meal. This meant it was still waiting to get digested. I changed that around pretty quick, since changing this, I have been getting a night of much better sleep.
Hopefully, I have answered your question, “How many times a day should we eat?”
I plan to stick to this, but sadly sometimes I fail. But then pay for it throughout the week.
Drop me a comment below about your experience with eating meals relating to digestion.