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What I Ate Wednesday: What is “Time” Anyways?

Time is such a weird thing, no?

I mean, back in cave(wo)man days, the only sense of when people ate was gaged by 2 things: their tummies rumbling and, I’m assuming, the sun (and whether or not the men brought home the bacon).

So who was it that dictated 12:00 as the time to eat lunch? Or 6:00 for supper? or 8:00… 9:00… for breakfast? 

Okay, of course I know that these general times sync up with the moon and ocean tides and energies of the sun and connect with our digestion system and all that cool Ayervedic stuff.  But what about eating one of these “meals” at a completely different time than one of these alleged numbers? What does that even meeeeeean!?


Thanks to Laura and Arman for hosting the weekly celebration of eats. 

I have some pretty whack rules stuck in my brain. Where or when they became so engrained – I wish I knew. In the silence of my own thoughts, they seem extremely rational and worldly and just kind of, “common sense.” But when spoken aloud – as they were with my counsellor last week in a rather amusing and humbling conversation – I begin to see them for what they are: “WTF!?!” 

Let me reenact a little of that last week’s conversation for you…. eh hem…


Me: “Well I couldn’t do that because I was going to be having dinner in like 2 hours.”

Counsellor: “Excuse me… what?”

Me: “Dinner was going to be in two hours. That’s way too late to have a snack.”

Counsellor: “Wait a second. Says who?”

Me: “I don’t know…. Me?…”

Counsellor: “So you’re telling me… there are certain amounts of time that have to go by between when you eat?”

Me: “Yes…”

Counsellor: “Okaaay. So, what other little “rules” are there up in that brain of yours?”

Me: “Um, well, I don’t know. There should be four hours in between all meals. And like, three in-between an afternoon snack and dinner. Lunch is at like 1:00. A snack can be at like, 2:00. 2:30. But then dinner has to be at like 6:30….”

Counsellor: “Then what about in-between breakfast and lunch?”

Me: “Oh no, there isn’t enough time for one. There is only like 4 hours.”

Counsellor: Silence. “I… see……”

Me: “………Oh my god I sound completely INSAAAANE!!!”


Cue face plant.

So when my counsellor “challenged” me to have simply one day where I throw all my timing “rules” to the wind, I had little intention to do so. Even less did I expect this test to sort of happen – completely on its own – this last Monday. 



7:15 am. The earliest I’ve probably ever eaten breakfast. Because, you know, “breakfast shouldn’t be before 8:00 am. I haven’t been awake long enough if I eat before then. I’ve only been awake for like… 2 hours…”


potato and eggs breakfast

Cold baked potato with butter and sour cream + 2 scrambled eggs with chives + coffee


Began at 10:30 am. 10:30!

Excuse me… stomach…What? It’s only WHAT time and you are actually hungry!? Can I even call this “lunch?” Well when you feel hunger for the first time in over a week, you eat your wrap at whatever goddamn “time” it happens to be. 

grilled veg wrap 5

Grilled Vegetable Wrap with Hummus and melty Monteray Jack

Snack #1:

12:00. Because Father Time said you should eat at noon, right?

Bana Krisp crackers

Cocao Almond Bana Krisp Crackers. Have you entered my giveaway for a chance to win these wholesome and delicious little guys!?!

Snack #2:

3:00. But I have to eat earlier than normal tonight, so I shouldn’t “ruin my dinner.”


Because when you get a desperately needed break at work, soothing overrules time. 

matcha brownie snack

Matcha Almond Brownie + 2% Americano Misto


5:20. And sometimes your busy schedule and needing to start another shift at your comfortable dinner time leaves you no other choice than to eat a little earlier than “normal.”

Chicken Dinner Time

BBQ chicken breast + sauerkraut + grilled sweet potato + salad + a slew of hidden edamame bean


10:00 pm. And then sometimes you make a plan to get DQ with your brother, but – of course – HE has zero sense of time and thinks nothing of it when he picks you up at 9:45 instead of your expected and comfortable night eating time of 8:00. But you are hangry (from all that waiting grumble grumble) and still want that flippin ice cream dammit, even if you will be finishing it in bed and falling asleep in the next half hour. 

DQ blizzard

DQ Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard. 

Moral of the story. Time is just a number. Hunger and listening to when your body wants sustenance is the only thing that matters – not the numbers that your phone screen or office clock tell you. Not the “normal” or “allowed” eating times that society – and my brain –  has fabricated. Your body can’t tell time. It could care less whether it is 2:00 am, 7:00 am or 11:00 pm. It knows what it needs and its only “rule” is that it will tell you when to feed it. So let’s do a little more listening and a little less dictating, ya? 

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Tell me,

Do you ever find yourself stuck in timing rules?

Do you ever find yourself trying to hold off eating until a certain time?




  1. Emily Swanson | 8th Jun 16

    I FIND myself stuck in these ‘arbitrary time’ rules all the time. And I think, “God created your body, not a robot body.’ He made it to need food, and that need for food is going to change at different times of the day. The body is not something that we can cram into a box, and I try to do that sometimes. Well, let me tell ya… It doesn’t work, and I’ve finally realized that it is so miserable to just wait and wait to eat because it’s somehow wrong to eat lunch at 11 AM or dinner at 4:30 pm or a snack at 10:30 pm… O_O I am just right with you on every step of this journey, because I experienced these thoughts myself SO much. God is GRACIOUS to heal!
    Emily Swanson recently posted…WIAW: The Girl I Am + A Giveaway!!!My Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      “not a robot body”… I like this. And “cram into a box”… also so good. I really don’t know why we try to do these things, when really hunger is hunger and our bodies just need food when they need food.

  2. Emily Swanson | 8th Jun 16

    Oh yes, and that DQ treat? That looks AMAZING. I want to go on an icecream friends date with you so bad.
    Emily Swanson recently posted…WIAW: The Girl I Am + A Giveaway!!!My Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      I would LOVE THAT so much. One day!!

  3. Susie @ SuzLyfe | 8th Jun 16

    Definitely. I definitely find myself sticking to time rules. But hen I get so hungry that it is just like, F IT ALL and I eat, lol.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…The Five R’s Of Post Run Recovery (Giveaway)My Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      We can try to beat it, but hunger will ALWAYS WIN. And good thing, too.

  4. Sarah @ BucketListTummy | 8th Jun 16

    CORAAA, I LOVE THIS. So proud of you. You’re so right – time is a weird thing, and it’s really just a boundary and silly rule we set for ourselves – there is no right or wrong time to eat. Love that you had “lunch” at 10:30.. I definitely have those days where my morning snack won’t cut it and I need to eat a super early lunch. The only problem with those days is if I don’t pack enough food… (womp womp)… but I truly believe when we listen to our bodies and give them what they need (when they need it), some of the stress and anxiety goes away with the “time” rule.
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…When Your Weekend Meals Differ From Your Weekly MealsMy Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      That is a fear with eating early.. if I didn’t pack enough you don’t want to be around me a few hours lately when I’m hungry again!

  5. Liz @ I heart vegetables | 8th Jun 16

    Nice work on listening to your body!!! I try to eat when my body is hungry but I definitely find myself trying to stick to the “normal” times. Nice work breaking your “rules!”
    Liz @ I heart vegetables recently posted…Tone It Up Meals: Week 7My Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      Thanks, Liz! I think its something we can all work on breaking from time to time.

  6. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 8th Jun 16

    This is great (also so happy you were feeling hungry!!!!!!!!! thats awesome!) I am guilty of following “rules” for eating. I sometimes dont eat when I’m hungry because its not “Time” to eat yet. OR I eat when I’m not that hungry because it’s “lunch time”.
    I do think it can be hard when you have a set lunch break and have to work all day in an office setting. I’m often forced to eat at that time because its my lunch break and wait when I’m hungry until my break. I definitely hate having those constraints! On the weekend, I enjoy actually eating when I want to and not having to be stuck in work land.
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…WIAW + Be Well Philly Boot CampMy Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      That’s interesting how the rules can go both ways…
      But it definitely changes everything when you put a work schedule into it. That’s when it is less in our control and we do need to just eat when we get the chance to. I know if I don’t eat when I have the opportunity to at work – even if I’m not yet hungry – catch me two hours later during the busy time and you don’t want to be around me. Haaaangrryyy!! I do hate those constraints though – but that’s the working world I suppose.

  7. Amanda @ Real Life Recovery Diary | 8th Jun 16

    Oh my gosh I absolutely needed this post! Breaking timing rules is what I struggle with the most in recovery. I sometimes still find myself waiting until my “approved” times to eat even when I’m hungry but I’m trying to challenge it more and more.

    It’s so crazy and stupid when I realize I’m hungry but waiting those last 15 minutes before it’s “okay” to eat. Like what the heck Amanda?!

    All that being said, I love this post just like I love you because I’m soooo incredibly proud of you for getting out of those times, even if just for one day. Baby steps!!
    Amanda @ Real Life Recovery Diary recently posted…WIAW #2: eating for comfortMy Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      I HEAR YOU. Sometimes it could get as insane as “okay.. 5 more minutes.” Like…. gah!!
      Thanks girl. Screw time, ya?

  8. Aubrey @ Clusterforked | 8th Jun 16

    Timing rules are something I have struggled with for a very long time. Weirdly, they began popping up more when I started recovery than they ever had before. The thing about timing rules that a lot of “normal” people seem to misunderstand is that they can be genuinely debilitating. There have been many occasions on which I’ve missed out on great opportunities and ruined others because of these rules. Shaking them is so difficult but it can be so liberating and it’s great to see that you’re breaking these rules!
    Aubrey @ Clusterforked recently posted…What Have You Gained?My Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      They ARE genuinely debilitating. And they most definitely can get in the way of making plans or doing anything social. “They want to hang out during my snack time… no that just won’t work.” Breaking them is absolutely liberating and I think by just “ripping off the bandaid” even once or twice, we realize that – oh hey that made absolutely zero difference at all – and so the rule loses its power.

  9. Kate | 8th Jun 16

    I usually eat breakfast right when I wake up (between 6 and 7). For a long time I resisted a morning snack, even though my lunch break wasn’t until 12:30. In reality, I realized that I probably needed TWO snacks because my body is so much hungrier early in the day.
    I think we can learn a lesson from your bro (and all the bros in my life) that anytime is a good time for ice cream 😀
    Kate recently posted…Go with the flow (WIAW)My Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      Haha – we can certainly learn from “all the bros.”
      Now that I’m eating earlier its become absolutely evident that I either need a snack or even my lunch mid morning. I think in general our metabolisms are more revved the beginning part of the day, so it doesn’t make sense to not give it more during this long stint in between.

  10. katalysthealth | 8th Jun 16

    LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS POST!! First off, kudos to your counselor. So smart here with the way she challenged you. Second off, hot dang girl look at you telling your ED to suck it! I love how you took control of your food and timing in this day of eats. You didn’t hesitate or try to challenge your hungry, you just obeyed your body. Huge congrats on this babe. What a success!!
    katalysthealth recently posted…WIAW 6.8.16My Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      🙂 🙂 Thank you Kat. Means a lot.
      You’ve been telling a lot of thoughts to suck it too.. so we both pretty much kick ass.

  11. Lyss | 8th Jun 16

    Love this!! I was the same way and had so many stupid rules regarding time. I had to wait this amount of hours before eating, couldn’t eat after 9, blah blah blah. It gets exhausting!! Now I don’t give a crap like every other person out there. Also that blizzard just looks perfect!!
    Lyss recently posted…Mental Health Monday: Simplifying ExerciseMy Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      Its SO exhausting. And so silly. Let’s just have blizzards no matter the time of day. Maybe together one day!

  12. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 8th Jun 16

    Way to toss your time rules out the window. Just like weight on a scale, those things are nothing but a number. What’s really important is how you feel and how healthy you are as a result. Keep on challenging yourself; you are doing great.

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      Nothing but a silly nummbeerrrr. I never liked numbers. God, I despised math.

  13. gracefulcoffee | 8th Jun 16

    So proud of you for challenging yourself, Cora! I’m guilty of eating at certain times and freaking out when I don’t. I’m making a conscious effort to try and be more spontaneous. That DQ blizzard looks AMAZING 😀

    Edye | http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com
    gracefulcoffee recently posted…International Giveaway: DSC Designs Shop $25 Gift CardMy Profile

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      Let’s bash those silly rules and that guilt together, ya??

  14. Jillian | 8th Jun 16

    Yes! I love this!! Our bodies don’t even know what time is. And that breakfast… WANT!!

    • Cora | 12th Jun 16

      They really really don’t. Like… they could care less what a friggen clock even is.

  15. Kristy @ Southern In Law | 8th Jun 16

    YESSS! Timing rules are so weird! My Mum will always say “oh, you’re eating early” if I eat lunch before “lunch time” or start eating dinner before “dinner time” but usually it’s just because either a) I’m hungry and girl needs food b) I have somewhere to go and need to eat before or c) I kind of just want to go to bed and binge watch my favourite tv shows so the sooner we eat dinner the sooner we can do that 😛

    Our bodies don’t run to a clock – and they don’t run to a set of numbers either! You’ve got to do what works for you!

    I really need a blizzard in my life. I’ve got to look at whether they’re gluten free because if they are, I think I’m spending every day at DQ next time we’re in Louisiana!
    Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…A Letter from Your Token CoeliacMy Profile

    • Cora | 13th Jun 16

      Your reason c)… YES. Baha!! So true. Just get’er over with so I can not leave my bed, thank you.
      I reallllyy hope there are at least some blizzards that aren’t gluten free so you can get ALL up in the goodness.

  16. Dani @ Dani California Cooks | 8th Jun 16

    I have been trying to pay more attention to my hunger cues recently!! Like, I normally eat an afternoon snack at 3pm because that’s out of habit – whether I’m hungry or not. I’m trying to notice if I start to feel hungrier or later than 3pm!
    Dani @ Dani California Cooks recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday – Foggy San FranciscoMy Profile

    • Cora | 14th Jun 16

      I think it can be a very good time to have “scheduled” or “routine” times to eat – especially when it comes to snacks so that we can just ensure we are nourishing ourselves – but it would be interesting to see if these times are actually when our bodies are wanting it.

  17. Patricia @Sweet and Strong | 8th Jun 16

    I loved this post because I hate that I’m stuck in ‘time rules’. Last week I had Friday off work and I found myself putting all my rules to the side, I was starving at 10:30 and decided to eat lunch and then didn’t have a snack until 4:00, which in my mind is way too long to go without food. I really need to work on just listening to my body and eat when I’m actually hungry.
    Patricia @Sweet and Strong recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday, #WIAW #4My Profile

    • Cora | 14th Jun 16

      That’s awesome you just bit the bullet and put aside all the rules on your day off. I think its something most of us do – whether we are totally conscience of it or not – so I think its good from time to time just to challenge ourselves to one completely whack day where all our timing is out of our normal. Keeps us from getting stuck ya know?

  18. Ellie | 9th Jun 16

    At my job, when the boss says “BREAK!” you go on break, plunk yourself down and eat. When I opened the store I ate lunch at 10, now that I close, I eat lunch at 2 or 3. It happens and the first day is uncomfortable but then your body gets used to it and it is easy. Still a mental shift though, I’ll give you that!
    Ellie recently posted…Fake Meats? [WIAW]My Profile

    • Cora | 14th Jun 16

      Yeah – that is really true. The first time can feel super weird and uncomfortable but its amazing how fast our bodies (and minds) get used to a new type of “norm.” I had this day and ever since eating at 10:30 has just been no big deal.

  19. cookiesnchem | 9th Jun 16

    Looks amazing! I agree with the whole “what is time?!” mentality. Crazy how sometimes our body is telling us something, but our mind gives us hundreds of rules to follow. It’s ridiculous, really, but sometimes I’m so STUCK to them that it’s hard to stop!
    cookiesnchem recently posted…Etsy Waterloo MarketMy Profile

    • Cora | 14th Jun 16

      Its completely ridiculous how we choose to believe our minds over our bodies. I say our bodies have been experiencing things far longer than our brains… so they know what they’re talking about.

  20. chasetheredgrape | 9th Jun 16

    Yup I had rules… And they did not make sense at all. But at the time they were my everything. For so long I didn’t even realise how restricted I was by these rules. You did awesome though, and it just shows you what you can do if you listen to your body and eat all the tasty things when it wants them.
    This holiday in Melbourne has really proved to me how far I have come in recovery. Those rules are so far away from me now. And they will be for you too. 🙂

    • Cora | 14th Jun 16

      Its crazy how you can become soooo “accustomed” to your rules that, until maybe someone else calls you out on them or you are presented with a challenge against them, you don’t even see them “rules,” or anything out of the norm.
      Makes me so happy to hear of your success and how more and more distant you find yourself from your past rules. Always giving me hope. I know I’m on my way there too.

  21. Julia @ Drops of Jules | 9th Jun 16

    I took a cultural anthropology class in the spring and research suggests that our ancestors didn’t sleep through the night but rather took naps throughout their lives, sleeping in 3-4 sections all their life! That meant they’d sleep, forage, eat, repeat. That’s why I find it so funny how we’ve normalized modern society and our lives. Time is arbitrary, yet our culture is focused on sticking to it!
    Your breakfast looks amazing. I’m not much of a potato person, but for some reason that picture instigated a might craving for me.
    Julia @ Drops of Jules recently posted…Cultural Diversity Awareness – I’m Getting Better!My Profile

    • Cora | 14th Jun 16

      Oh wow. What a fascinating course. And what a fascinating concept. How or why we started using “time” as such a “guideline” to live by is just so strange. Thank you for this!!

  22. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 10th Jun 16

    I totally relate, Cora. I spend a lot of time (ha ha…?) thinking about the timing of my meals. Before you declare yourself totally insane, there’s some sanity to it. I, for instance, sometimes start to get hungry around 3:30, but because I know dinner here is served at 5, I wait until dinner. I don’t think that’s disordered, just logical. I have come, on the other hand, more and more okay with diverging from certain eating “times.” For instance, last weekend, I ate a late breakfast around 11, another snack at about noon…but then I ate “lunch” at 1:30. Why? Because I was hungry, dang it!
    One thing that’s really helped me is reminding myself that I don’t “have” to eat if I’m not hungry. It sounds like a really strange recovery tool coming from someone with anorexia, but it helps me remind myself, if I’m about to eat a snack and fear not being hungry for my next meal, that I don’t have to eat the dang next meal if I don’t want it. 95% of the time, I do end up wanting the next meal. I know that might not be the most useful tip for you while you’re in weight recovery mode, but it might help once you move back into intuitive eating mode.
    P.S. I almost always eat a snack between breakfast and lunch. Second breakfast FTW! And I almost always eat a snack right before bed.
    P.P.S. That blizzard looks dang delicious.
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…Going Hungry Episode 4: Causes, Effects, and Which Is WhichMy Profile

    • Cora | 14th Jun 16

      You know what? That strategy has been a big help for me too!! It does seem contradictory for someone with anorexia, but at the same time…. its all about control and trust right? So if we remind ourselves that, “no… I am in control of this situation and I TRUST myself to make the right decision when it comes to it – whether I am actually hungry or not,” then we lessen the fear that we “made a mistake” or are going to be “forced” to do something we don’t want. Same as you, I do end up eating at that time most of the time anyways, but its this mental strength we give ourselves that lets us know that we made the decision ourselves. If that makes sense. I actually think its been working really really well – even though I am in more of the weight recovery phase. Thank you for this!

  23. masala girl | 10th Jun 16

    Cora, so proud of you putting your rules aside! I remember when I met with a strict dietician, she made me eat and chart at 8, 10, 12, 2:30 and 5. i hated it.
    i find it funny how food rules can go both ways. yeah, they can definitely help people who may not have a good sense of hunger, but they can also make you forget what hunger really feels like (that’s what happened to me)
    i hope you’re able to continue to listen to your body <3 it sounds like you've met some truly awewsome people to talk to Cora! <3
    masala girl recently posted…Homemade Chex MixMy Profile

    • Cora | 14th Jun 16

      Exactly. I totally understand setting a time schedule can be hugely necessary and helpful in many cases, but it is something that should be used for only a short time I think – so that we don’t get too accustomed to rules and can quickly learn to listen to and trust our bodies again, once it is healthy enough to do so. I hope your experience didn’t last too long for you and you were able to – joyfully – find your internal cues again. <3

  24. Link Love: Current Faves - Polyglot Jot | 20th Jun 16

    […] WIAW: What is “Time” Anyways? via My Little Tablespoon: This WIAW post explores time and rules we have made for ourselves for eating. A very interesting read. I know that I have random “rules” for eating times too! […]

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