Yesterday I posted a challenge on Facebook to not eat after 8 pm. This has been a struggle for me the past few weeks.
I was surprised when one of the comments disputed the idea as having any merit.
Wanting to be armed with all the facts to prove my point, I went internet surfing. I was a bit surprised by the results. Apparently there aren’t enough studies to support the long-held fitness idea that eating later at night causes you to gain weight.
A study from 2009 has some merit. Mice who ate during the day (they are nocturnal, so this was their “night”) gained 50% more weight than their counterparts who ate during their more active time. However, scientists point out there’s not enough evidence to link these mice with humans.
The other theory is that a calorie is a calorie, no matter when you eat it.
So, even though it makes sense to me, eating after 8 pm may not be so bad for you.
Eating late does tend to make you gain weight. Why?
Here in the States, the evening meal is usually our largest. Consequently, we are seldom actually hungry later in the evening. We have nighttime snacks out of habit, boredom, or to satisfy cravings. Many times its a way to relax or deal with stress.
What types of food are you eating in the evenings? I’d dare bet it’s not fruits and veggies. I know I don’t crave a carrot stick when I’m watching HGTV at 9 pm! We tend to eat higher calorie, not-so-good-for-us foods that time of day. Sweets, chips, and butter-laden popcorn come to mind.
How much are you eating that time of day? Are you mindlessly eating? Are you paying attention to portion size or just going for that hand to mouth motion? We can destroy a healthy day by not paying attention and taking in more calories than our bodies need.
So, while the correlation of mice and humans is still up in the air, I’m going to stand by my resolution that eating after 8 pm is NOT a healthy choice.
If I have the munchies, herbal tea is a satisfying option. Or I need to stop and think about why I’m having these cravings. Am I stressed? Maybe a walk or a hot bath (ok, shower, my tub isn’t big enough to be relaxing) would be a better solution for my overall mental and physical health. Maybe I’m slightly dehydrated and I just need a glass of water. Could I be
exhausted tired? Instead of looking to food for a pick-me-up I should hit my bed early.
My mini-goal for the week is to stay away from food after 8 pm (unless it’s a carrot!). Are you with me?