Weight Loss Support - Cereal at bedtime -a plateau buster?

01-26-2007, 06:54 AM
Hi Everyone!

As many of you know, I have been on this 210 Plateau for eight MONTHS! I FINALLY dropped a pound yesterday and have been trying to analyze things to hopefully keep up the loss. (God forbid that I spend ANOTHER EIGHT MONTHS now at 209!!!!) :nono:

Anyway, I have been thinking about setpoint. The last time I was 210 was TWENTY YEARS ago. For twenty years my body has "enjoyed" that comfortable, familiar weight (OR MORE!) Changing status quo maybe has been too shocking to this middle-age body of mine.

I recently changed part of my weight loss plan also. For months I have been eating nothing after 7PM. Oprah and Bob Greene said that was a good idea. Yes, I had a grumbly tummy all evening because we usually eat dinner around 4:00PM, and I rarely hit the hay before midnight. I'm up at 5:00AM, so that was 13 hours without food. No wonder this gal eats a good breakfast! Anyway, I started eating a bowl of shredded wheat with skim milk before I went to bed several nights ago. I slept much better, AND I have finally dropped a pound. I've heard that eating raises your metabolism and that fiber raises it even more because the body must work harder to digest it. Do you guys think that eating the cereal before bed might have actually HELPED my body relinquish that pound? Was I putting my body into starvation mode by not eating for those 13 hours even though it WAS late at night?

Oh, I have to add that for most of my life I have had a bowl of cereal before bedtime and have slept about 4-5 hours a night. I'm trying to get more now that I am retired, but old habits are very hard to break! I have to get my seven hours by adding a NAP!

Also I was thinking that age (55) plus menopause MAY also be playing a part in my body refusing to relinquish the weight.

Stay tuned! I have become a detective lately as I try to unravel my plateau mystery!


01-26-2007, 07:54 AM
I've never uderstood the not eating after seven thing. I'm with the plans that recommending putting something in your stomach to stop that starving feeling.

01-26-2007, 08:23 AM
I never understood the not eating after 7 thing, either. If you eat the same amount of calories a day, why does it matter if you have a yogurt or piece of fruit at 7 pm, or at 9? The calories are the same...

01-26-2007, 08:34 AM
I believe in not eating right before bed, but if you have dinner at 4 pm, you must be pretty hungry later on. As long as you're within your calories, it probably does help to have that cereal. I'd feel really unhappy going to bed that hungry.

I've heard other people report that eating a little more actually broke their plateau. I guess the trick is not to let the little more become a lot more.

Good luck! Keep going!


01-26-2007, 09:22 AM
When I first started this journey, one of my rules was to not eat past 7:30 and I've kept to it til recently. I find as I go on things can and should be changed a bit. It was no longer working for me. I now almost always have a jello sugar free pudding or a 60 calorie fat free/sugar free ice cream bar in the evening. I look forward to it. Oprah and Bob Greene are NOT the end all and be all. We are all different. I think I needed to set that rule for me in the beginning as to avoid nibbling at night. I no longer nibble at night, I can change the rule. I do though only eat something very light, like I said above.

Cheryl, I gotta tell you there is no way on earth I could eat dinner at 4, go to bed at 12 and not eat something in between. I quite frankly don't know how you did that. Or why.

Was eating your cereal a factor in losing the pound, who knows? You'll never know for sure. Why not test the waters, see what happens. Trial and error is a great method to find out what works for YOU. Just don't tell Oprah and Bob Greene, aww go ahead and tell em, who cares what they thinnk anyway?

01-26-2007, 10:09 AM
I definately eat all night no matter what time it is... My mom used to have that rule in my house because she believed it so as a kid I never ate after dinner and sometimes went to bed at 2am and was starving all night and look where that got me (aka almost 200 lbs!). I would eat waaaay too much for breakfast the next day. Now I never go to bed hungry, and I can eat a normal sized breakfast because usually when I get up in the morning I'm not starving anymore, just mildly hungry.

01-26-2007, 10:36 AM
Hi Cheryl, I've heard the no eating after 7 thing too. But I took it differently. I thought the idea was to stop eating several hours before your bedtime. So if Oprah goes to bed at 9 or 10 her time would be 7, if you go to bed at midnight then your time would be 9 or 10. I bet it did help you drop that lb. Maybe it kind of gave your metabolism a jolt. Congratulations!

01-26-2007, 10:55 AM
In my humble opinion, the no eating after 7pm thing is a ******ed myth started by Oprah and her chief robot boy, Bob Greene. The first year I lost most of my weight I was working out after work, not getting home until 8pm then cooking and eating dinner. It worked for me, I lost 20lbs that year.

I'm feeling pissy today so pardon me if I offend.

01-26-2007, 10:55 AM
I eat dinner at 7 PM, so I have to eat afterward! I usually go to bed by 9 PM, and I'm rarely hungry before that. I really think that you need to eat when your body tells you that it is hungry. My hungriest times are 10 AM and 4 PM which are periods directly between my main meals. So I snack and end the hunger pang. IMO, that "no eating after 7 PM" doesn't make sense--especially in your situation. I hope that this is the "magic pill" that will help you on your way to goal! (It certainly sounds like a good idea.)

01-26-2007, 11:00 AM
You know, Gogirl, I think I was so obsessed about the "NO EATING...NOT EVEN ONE GRAPE" thing that I forgot completely about MY OWN schedule and how ridiculous it must have been for me to be without food for THIRTEEN HOURS when throughout the REST of the day I was eating every THREE HOURS!

Like Robin said, at first it is sometimes easier to be really strict just to get yourself going. I was strict with myself but forgot the most important thing...listen to my body.

Then again, I have "listened to my body" all the way up to 275 lbs.! Now I know that I WASN'T REALLY listening to my body all those years; I was listening to my emotions. MY emotions added all those pounds as surely as my mouth eating food did!

We live and learn. I'm just thankful that I have all of you here to support me and help me try to figure everything out! Weight loss is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, and I've had to do quite a few tough things! Thanks to all for your support!


01-26-2007, 11:07 AM
I always eat after 7pm. I ate dinner last night at 8pm. I went to sleep around 11:30pm. As long as you are counting your calories or monitoring your food, you will be fine. I don't really care for late evening snacking though. Usually I eat dinner late, then don't eat after that unless I exercise and then sometimes I'll have a protein shake.

01-26-2007, 11:41 AM
I kept hearing my mother tell me not to eat after 7-7:30ish, but was having trouble getting all my points in for WW. When I spoke to my leader about it, she firmly insisted that I get my points in, even if it means having a snack or something at 10:00! It's working, so it can't be all bad!

01-26-2007, 12:41 PM
glad I am not the only one

I think it works for some if evening is when you tend to lose control and mindlessly eat

But I tell you when tuesday I added up my cals after dinner and was seriously short, it was so lovely to have a really nice bedtime tea.

01-26-2007, 01:15 PM
There are medical conditions, like GERD where you should not eat for 3 hours before laying down (unless you like being awake all night with burning acid). I have a small snack in the evening but make sure it is a nutritious one (cereal and milk, peanut butter and celery, a string cheese, a piece of fruit) and not just empty calories. Once I got off the sweet stuff, I no longer crave it and it tastes terrible if I try to eat it now.

01-26-2007, 01:30 PM
If your body goes in starvation mode because of not eating (starving) for anything more than 10 hours, ofcourse you will lose weight!!! BUT AT THE COST OF YOUR MUSCLES, NOT FAT!!!

A nutrionist/dietician (a good one) will never recommend that! Its better to divide your meals and eater lesser but throughout the day!

01-26-2007, 01:42 PM
In my humble opinion, the no eating after 7pm thing is a ******ed myth started by Oprah and her chief robot boy, Bob Greene.

gawd, why do people listen to her?


I eat late at night EVERY night. Your body will process the food the same at 12 midnight as it will at 12 noon.

Are you counting calories? 8 months is an awful long time to be at the same weight when you're trying to lose. But at least you're maintaining and not gaining ;)

If you're hungry, eat. Regardless of what time it is. Just make sure you're still within your calorie allowance. If you're not watching calories, however, you may be taking in more calories than you need without realizing it. You'd be surprised how quickly it all adds up. I 'changed' my eating habits and started eating healthier food and even exercising a little bit, but I still didn't lose any weight. Then when I started recording everything I was eating, I was SHOCKED at how many calories I was consuming. Healthy food has calories too. And I was still taking in more than my body was burning.

So I started counting and went from 220 to 133 :)

Do you guys think that eating the cereal before bed might have actually HELPED my body relinquish that pound?

Yes, it's very possible. Did you know that some diehard bodybuilders set an alarm to wake up about 2am to eat? It keeps their metabolism going as they sleep.

01-26-2007, 04:09 PM

That's pretty awesome about the bodybuilders! I DO know that eating DOES raise metabolism. This whole weight loss process can get very complicated as you read and hear so much conflicting information!


Beach Patrol
01-26-2007, 04:20 PM
I definitely think the "don't eat after 7pm" rule is not a HARD-@SS RULE... but a GUIDELINE. I mean, clearly, if you have dinner around 4pm & then don't go to bed until midnight, you need something else in your stomach "after 7pm". I think the common thing is that most people eat dinner about 6:00 or 7:00 & go to bed around 10:30 or 11:30. So see, NOT eating after 7pm - that makes sense.

My routine is normally:
Up at 5:45
Shower at 6:00
Breakfast at 7:00
Snack at 10:00
Lunch at 12:30 or 1:00
Snack at 3:30 or 4:00
Off work at 5:00
Workout 5:30 - 6:30(ish)
Dinner around 7:00(ish)
Snack at 8:30 IF WANTED (hardly ever want a snack at this time!)

Sometimes I have to eat past 7 because - well - I don't ALWAYS leave work on time, & I don't ALWAYS get a workout completed by 6:30 & I'm not ALWAYS home in time to cook/eat dinner by 7pm....

Yup! -I think it's just a guideline. :D

01-26-2007, 04:30 PM
The longer I'm here at 3FC, the more I learn that there aren't any rules to weight loss. All I know what worked for ME -- but that doesn't mean it's going to work for anyone else! There are many, many ways to reach goal and no such thing as a 'one size fits all' diet plan (sorry, Oprah and diet book publishers! :lol: )

I've always had a terrible time following any 'diet' with someone else's rules, especially ones that don't make sense. In the end, we all need to find out what works - and doesn't work - for each of us. We have to create our own rules, and it's a good thing because we're the ones who are going to have to live by them for the rest of our lives. :)

01-26-2007, 05:01 PM
Thanks, Everyone!

There ARE so many weight loss "rules" and plans and systems! I read a lot and try to take the best from what I read and from what I hear. I've never been able to take any complicated plan that soemone ELSE makes up and follow it, either, Meg!

I think that I am also fighting the crazy hormone thing that goes with menopause, too. My age (55) is also working against me from what I read. My skinny vegetarian mother WAS right when she kept telling me to "get the weight off while you are still young", but, of course, who EVER REALLY thinks that their MOTHER could be right?:dizzy:

Anyway, I am plodding along and trying to do all the "right" things that will get me to ONEderland. I have ten pounds to go! After that I have another forty, and I will weigh what I weighed at my 1976 wedding.

Thanks again for all of your comments, suggestions, and just plain S-U-P-P-O-R-T!!!:)


01-27-2007, 08:41 PM
I usually eat dinner anywhere between 7:00 and 8:00. I go to bed around 11:00 so I don't eat after dinner, but I'm not hungry before bed. I also have GERD so that plays a roll too.

I do believe that if your hungry, you should eat! Your body knows best. I actually uped my calories this week by 200 extra calories and lost 2 lbs. after a very long plateau.

I too, am menapausal and YES I think your metabolism slows down quite a bit and it is a little harder to get those pounds to drop.

Keep working at it, your doing great :hug: !

01-27-2007, 09:04 PM
I find I just don't sleep good if I eat right before bed, I need to stay up at least 2 hours after eating to get a good nights sleep. But again, every body is different!


01-27-2007, 09:39 PM
I find that I sleep best if I've had a snack before bedtime. I just eat when I'm hungry. . I get up at 7:30 usually and don't eat BF til about 10:00. I have a 1PM snack, eat my lunch at 3PM, cook dinner at 7PM, eat a snack about 9PM. If I wake up hungry during the night, I tell myself it is OK to have a Low cal. snack if I need one. If I eat during the middle of the night, I'll eat fewer cal's at breakfast if need be. I don't really care what time of day I eat, if I'm hungry, I eat.

I grew up in a household where we ate dinner every day at 5PM. We always snacked on apples and popcorn late evening while playing card games.

I can limit my carbs, I can limit my calories, I can limit my fat. The one thing I can't do is be HUNGRY.

01-27-2007, 09:54 PM

That's pretty awesome about the bodybuilders! I DO know that eating DOES raise metabolism. This whole weight loss process can get very complicated as you read and hear so much conflicting information!


That's all it ever is, conflicts. I agree with what Meg said below...

The longer I'm here at 3FC, the more I learn that there aren't any rules to weight loss. All I know what worked for ME -- but that doesn't mean it's going to work for anyone else!


01-27-2007, 10:20 PM
I really can't stand to eat before bed. If I am hungry and it is bed time, I'll go to sleep. If I wake up hungry in the middle of the night, I just go back to sleep. It is a very personal thing though.

01-27-2007, 11:33 PM
I never understood the not eating after 7 thing, either. If you eat the same amount of calories a day, why does it matter if you have a yogurt or piece of fruit at 7 pm, or at 9? The calories are the same...

Yeah, the human metabolism actually stays the same regardless of what hour so as long as you are awake and consistent with your meals... it mustve been some sort of rumor that your metabolism settles down at night just because you're about to sleep :dizzy:

01-28-2007, 12:29 AM
The only time I woke up hungry in the middle of the night was when I was pregnant :lol:

For the most part, I dont eat after 8pm. Thats just because after a life time of late night snacking, I needed to quit the habit. If Im hungry by 8pm, I'll have a snack, if its 10 and Im starting to feel hungry, I tell myself the kitchen is closed and I go to bed. Ive never woken up hungry because of this.

So, the time limit for me anyway, is all about breaking a habit. It works for me.

To answer your question Cheryl, I think the cereal broke your plateau, because you did something different. You've been keeping food away after 4pm for a long time. Your body got used to it. You threw it a curve ball, shook things up a bit....and you are down a lb because of it. Wonderful!!! Keep changing things up every 6 weeks, and you'll see your 1976 wedding weight for sure!

01-28-2007, 08:54 AM
Cheryl- I just am reading Bob Greene's book. The whole reasoning behind not eating 2 hrs before bedtime is so you will be hungry enough in the morning to eat breakfast, since most of us with weight problems skip breakfast. The farther I read into the book, the more since it makes. You don't need to stop eating until 10:PM if your bedtime is midnight. My problem is I fall asleep at 8:PM and wake up around 10PM for a snack. BTW, we are close to the same age (I'm 53) so I can definitely relate to the menopausal thing.

01-28-2007, 10:07 AM
Hi Shelley!

I heard Bob Greene on Oprah several months ago and guess I needed more info. I SHOULD have gone to get Bob's book THEN so that I could get all the details about the COMPLETE plan and the reasons behind it all. Yesterday I bought Bob's book The Best Life Diet. Is that the one that you mean? I am only at the beginning of the book, but I like what I hear about finding the REASONS behind why you eat. I am finding that REASONS issue to have many layers for me, and it seems that I am just at the few outer skins of the onion, so to speak, on discovering all of my emotional issues that have contributed to my life of SLOTH!!!!

Thanks for the input! Maybe we can discuss more after I have read more!


01-28-2007, 10:58 AM
Yes, Cheryl. That's the book. I read quite a bit while I was getting a pedicure yesterday.

01-29-2007, 11:49 AM
I've always preferred to eat late. My housemate and I, our usual routine is to START cooking dinner at 7 pm. Mostly cause that's when we can turn on Scrubs and watch while we're cooking, but yeah. ;)

I think the "no eating before bed" thing is just another works-for-some-but-not-for-others thing. Like pretty much everything else in weightloss.

Is that really me
01-30-2007, 11:12 AM
I agreee w/most of the thoughts in this thread. I also did what you did and no matter how hungry I was I wouldn't eat cause it was after 7pm. I gained most of my weight by gorging at night while watching tv, so I had that "all or nothing" mentality. What I noticed when I was really , truly hungry at night but refused to eat anything (no, not even a grape!) was that I had tremendous trouble falling and staying asleep, that I was cold and that the next morning I was so freakin' hungry that I could have easily eaten 1/2 a cow -- raw!

I needed to stop the mindless consumption of mega calories at night. It's still something I would enjoy doing but know that if I do, then all my hard work will be for nothing. I have also found that as time goes on, my desire for nibbling at night is diminishing.

I think that whole Oprah/Bob thing about not eating after 7pm should have been stated as "no eating entire bags of doritos, oreos or ice cream type foods" after 7pm but if you are truly hungry, by all means eat something!! Also, I found that if I'm truly hungry, eating a piece of fruit or some sugar free thingy just doesn't cut it. Pretzels, rice cakes, even banana w/peanut butter and a glass of skim milk -- the carbs help induce sleep.


01-30-2007, 05:06 PM
I agree that in principle the not eating at night is more of a mind trick than an actual metabolism booster.

However, for me I try never to eat after 6 or so on weekdays. Mostly because when I come home from work I sit down and stuff and stuff. I will have 2 helpings of leftovers or a whole bag of chips, etc.

I take my snacks,lunch and breakfast to work now in measured portions and eat there and when I come home I busy myself because right now I don't have the will power to eat a reasonable portion when a whole kitchenfull is available.

So far I have lost about 5lbs...so maybe as I lose more I will get my will power back and be able to eat a reasonably sized dinner afterwork at home.:D