Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Does eating at night make your butt grow?

7 o clock Some think they cannot eat anything past 6 or 7 PM if they want to lose weight. If that strategy works for an individual, great. But what if you want a snack at 8 PM? Or what if your job makes it virtually impossible to eat dinner before 8:30 PM? Are you doomed to be fat for the rest of your life?

The answer is: NO. You can eat past 7 PM and still meet your weight loss (or maintenance) goals. When it comes to eating at night, each individual needs to look at their own diet with a magnifying glass.

Are you eating enough during the day? If you are skipping meals and/or snacks throughout the day, chances are you will come home starving and rifle endlessly through the kitchen. Before you know it, you have had dinner and a barrage of ongoing snacks all night long.

Are you staying up too late? The longer you stay up and the more tired you are, the more inclined you will be to eat. When we are tired, our bodies are zapped of energy. What your body needs at this time is sleep. The longer you stay up, the more your body will crave energy in the form of food, especially carbohydrates.

What if I eat dinner at 8 PM? If you eat regular, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, plan ahead for dinner. Make your heavier meal earlier in the day. For dinner, go light with a lean protein (chicken, fish, beans) and some vegetables.  Try not to make your heaviest meal at dinner when you may be going to bed in two or three hours. But by no means do you need to skip dinner.

Forego the nightly snack? I eat a snack every night after dinner.  If a snack is around 200 calories or less and fits into regular, healthy eating throughout the day, this should not cause weight gain. The trouble with nightly snacks is when you are “grazing” all night long.  A few cookies, followed by some pretzels, then a couple handfuls of nuts - before you know it, your nightly snack could be upwards of 500 calories or more. That is not a snack. It’s a meal!

EXERCISE, silly! And as I always say, exercise will be your best weapon in the battle of the bulge. If you are not moving your butt, you are not burning calories. Why scrutinize every little thing you put in your mouth and at what time you ate this or that? Get to the gym or go speed walking outside. This will help make all the difference in the world.

For more great tips and insights to night time eating, check out Diet Truth or Myth: Eating at Night Causes Weight Gain.


Image from www.istockphoto.com

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