If someone is eating sufficient calories, I don't think it matters how often they eat during the day. If someone doesn't find themselves binging/overeating, I also think it is fine to eat more in the evening and less over the course of the day. But if you frequently find yourself not eating until you are really, really hungry, I would try eating even when you aren't. (Honestly, for me, I find my body gets used to the schedule it is on. If I'm eating breakfast regularly, and I don't ... I starving. But there are months when I don't eat breakfast, and I wake up and need nothing. I'd see if I could recondition myself, if I were you, so that I didn't have such pains at night.) Might as well try it, right?
While it techinically doesn't matter what time of the 24 hours you eat, it is good practice to force yourself to eat a little something 3 meals a day. If i'm not hungry at breakfast time I might eat just a hard boiled egg and/or a peice of fruit. At lunch if you are still not hungry eat a few servings of a veggie and some cheese. A mid afternoon snack like an apple or carrot sticks and then eat your dinner make sure to include a whole grain carb if you haven't atleast once during the day unless you are on a atkins style (ketosis diet). You won't really feel full at dinner time. Your body feeling hungry at dinner time is because that's what time you have trained it that you are going to give it food. In good practice, eating only one meal a day is not the best option and one tends to over eat at that one meal. Try that for a few weeks and you will likely feel better, have more energy and might also help you lose weight quicker.
I try to eat 5 small meals a day hungry or not. I eat every 3 to 4 hours. That way you are never starving and never eat anything wrong.
Brian hit it on the nose, I think.
In my personal experience, munching on a baggie of carrot sticks or an apple and an ounce of light cheese between lunch and dinner keeps me from being ravenous and eating too much at dinner time. I do better if I don't let myself get so very hungry.
You might not be hungry because your metabolism is slowed.
I could never eat first thing in the morning before, but I started by forcing myself to just have something small. These days, if you don't feed me breakfast within about ten minutes of waking... WATCH OUT!
I do think there is some value in eating regularly throughout the day, whether its three large meals or several smaller ones. It keeps your metabolism firing, and helps you control over eating. I know the days I don't pack proper snacks are the days I come home and search desperately in my cupboards.
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