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How Late Should We Really Stop Eating?

midnight eating pic

I love this vintage add! A “lounge coat” for a midnight snack! Can you imagine seeing a commercial for this today? Times sure have changed. Everyone has his or her own theory about when to stop eating. I’ve heard it all… “No carbs after 4pm”, “Food turns into fat after a certain hour”. All these myths are false! The truth is, our bodies run on a 24hr clock… not an eight or twelve-hour day. If you are truly physically hungry, you need to eat!

Why are these rules made?

In my article “Dieting vs. Calorie Counting” it states, “eating healthy is very important, but how much we eat is even more important”. This is the main reason why these rules are made. It’s called MINDLESS EATING. For most of us, mindless eating happens in the evening, after dinner, watching TV, when we’re bored, etc… Weight gain generally occurs when we consistently eat for reasons other than hunger (mindless eating). Think about it… we eat dinner, we’re comfortably full, definitely not hungry anymore, but somehow, we still find a way to squeeze a cup or two of ice cream in there. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dessert, but you have to account for it. Make it part of your meal. Not the mindless noshing that can occur after dinner.

Make your own rules!

You should know your body better than anyone! Make your own rules. I’ll use myself as an example. It took some time, but I’m happy that I’ve gotten to know my body pretty well. I know how much food is too much for me. I know how much I can eat at dinner and feel content and satisfied. I know that after each meal (including breakfast) I HAVE to have a small piece of DOVE dark chocolate. I know that if I snack too much after dinner, I will not be hungry for breakfast. I know how I will feel the next morning when I over do it at a restaurant the night before. I make it a general rule for myself not to snack or eat after dinner. If I am truly physically hungry after dinner, I will have something small to satisfy the hunger, but the lesson that I take away from that is I either didn’t eat enough for dinner, or didn’t eat enough throughout the day. With my clients, I give them a VERY LOOSE rule to stop eating two hours before they go to bed. That way they can feel hungry for breakfast the next morning.

Get to know your body! Try different things out and see what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake… that’s the best way to learn!    Know that following the rules you have made for your body are better than what any book can tell you!


Question of the day…

How well do you know your body?

Do you have certain rules you’ve made for yourself?

For me, after having a baby, I’m trying to learn my body all over again. It’s changed. It’s different. But my body is strong and healthy, and I am proud of it.

8 Responses

  1. Jessica said on December 7, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I feel that I know my body VERY well. I never worry about eating late, since it is the amount of food I need to get in for the day. Many times while competing, I have eaten my last meal and 11pm or midnight, and I have been my leanest!

  2. katie said on December 7, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    so true!! i know my body well too-i always eat before bed so i can get my calories in since im always on the GO in college. im smaller than any of my friends that dont eat after dinner!

  3. Anna@ Newlywed, Newly Veg said on December 8, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Thanks for posting this…I feel like I KNOW in my head that it’s not when you eat, but what you eat. Still, sometimes it’s hard to remember when you see all the hype out there about not eating past 7 pm!

    Love that ad– it’s so funny to think about what used to be accepted in advertising 🙂 I always think about that when watching the show Mad Men.

  4. Kristen @ Simply Savor said on December 8, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    looved this post, it really is all about knowing your body and adjusting your eating habits to work for you. i think i’m definitely in tune with my body now but it wasn’t always that way! what i’ve found thru trial and error is that i LOVE big breakfasts bc it fuels me for the rest of the day and i find myself not as hungry for bigger meals later in the day. That way I’m always hungry come morning 🙂

  5. Lu said on December 8, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I ate something last night at 11 pm. I had just gotten home from a late yoga session and I was starving. I love that you brought this up. I feel that if you are genuinely hungry, then you should eat. Granted, before I chowed down at 11, I had a nice big glass of water to make sure I wasn’t “fake hungry”. Oh, and the scale wasn’t affected.

  6. monica said on December 8, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I agree, after the baby my body has changed a lot. I think we all have lost the ability to tell when we are full and its a hard thing to reprogram. I can eat a lot more now b/c I breastfeed, but I am in trouble when I lose that calorie blaster!

  7. Aunt Becky said on December 9, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Yes, yes, yes! Thank you. Seriously, thank you.

  8. Kath said on December 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    When I have a little one, I will make this for sure!!! She’s so adorable 🙂