100 lb. Club - When the golden rule of no food at night isn't plausible.

08-27-2008, 11:56 PM
When the golden rule of no food at night isn't plausible.

So, while most people have normal jobs, I get to be that news-hounding journalist who has to stay up all hours of the night. I get up around 10 a.m. and usually have a smoothie, or a coffee and a banana - depending on what day it is. I cut back on the coffee due to my comical 'fine tastes' in French Roast, so I now alternate my days with my personal version of crack. Around 2 p.m. I have lunch, which depends on the day. I will usually have a late, late afternoon snack of an ounce of baked chips or some fruit. Then at 7 p.m. I go for my bike ride, which is slowly progressing in time each day. Then the big obstacle of the day hits. My boyfriend – the tattoo artist – works until 8 p.m. and that is when we have dinner. We are usually up until 2 a.m.

Now, seeing that there are two of us who are both dieting and need to lose upwards of 100 lbs how can I make dinner and eat sooner? Does the rule apply to just after dark? Am I staying awake long enough to let my food digest before I pass out? Does it even matter?

I have feeling that the late dinners are effecting my weight loss, or recent lack there of, as my scale has become a standstill opponent. I am aware that plateaus happen – but after a month and a half???

I am looking for suggestions. I am not even sure if I am on the right plan for me (WW) I just have this brutal feeling that I am doing something wrong or made the wrong choice in plans. I know that this sometimes happen when people don’t take full accountability for what they are putting in their face and that just isn’t the case here.

Any input from you guys would be a blessing.

Oh, and I found this and laughed myself stupid... i hope to pass the joke on to my posse in 100+.


08-28-2008, 12:05 AM
I NEVER followed any rule about when to stop eating for the day. Ever. And it did not effect my progress one iota.

If your foods are on plan, there is no clinical study or other evidence that proves or even suggests that an eating "cutoff" is necessary or useful. The reason this advice has been handed down, again and again, is because the foods people eat late at night tend to be snacky foods, or because some people have trouble controlling eating once they START eating at night. Other people don't sleep as well when they eat late, and a lack of sleep IS associated with weight gain...So this advice gets perpetuated and people like you who have genuine conflicts in schedule and, presumably, no issues with sleep after eating, get worried that all of their progress will be derailed if they eat when it best fits their schedule.

I say, if you don't have any problems with sleep after you eat, these rules don't make sense for you.

There's a great thread about the "Golden Rules" of dieting that lots of us don't follow and have still done fine. http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=132485

As for your lack of scale movement...what are your calories like? Eating plan? Exercise? Those things are much more likely to be the culprit than the time of day you're eating (unless, that is, you have trouble sleeping too...then THAT might be an issue).

08-28-2008, 12:15 AM
I am also on WW and I eat a late dinner as well because I have class in the evenings and my commute is 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. So, I usually end up eating around 8:00 or 8:30. However, I always make sure it's a light meal and nothing too heavy. Most times it's a bowl of Special K, some yogurt, and some carrots or other veggies with fat free ranch. I eat lunch around the same time that you do too and make it into my bigger meal of the day because that's when I have time and it keeps me full so I can last til 8:00 to have dinner. Also, I like having my dinner that late cause it keeps me from late night snacking which is a BIG problem of mine.

So far, I've been steadily losing this way and I don't even stay up til 2am (in fact, it's bedtime right about now, haha!) That's what's been working for me, but different bodies may respond differently to eating late.

There is nothing wrong with looking into other plans though if you feel the one you're on isn't working! And I hit my first plateau after only a month and a half of being serious about my weight loss. Mine turned out to be linked to my TOM, but silly TOM slowed me down for a whole two weeks -- half the week before, the week of, and half the week after. I don't know if that's just me or what but I was seriously peeved for awhile that I was doing everything right and the scale wasn't moving.

Stay positive and don't give up!

08-28-2008, 12:43 AM
I think that "rule" was designed for people with a typical up at 6 am and in bed by ten pm schedule. I read not to eat three hours before bedtime because the digestion of food requires a lot from your body and may interfere with your rest.

08-28-2008, 01:09 AM
That rule definitely doesn't apply to people like us! I'm doing WW as well, and one of the tips I got was to pick a time of day that you will count your points from, and go 24 hours from there.

So I went with 4am, which is early enough that when I'm up at 5:30 for a day shift I can put my breakfast in that day, but late enough that it covers all my breaks when I am working nights.

The other thing I do is average my points out over 48 hours when I am going on or coming off nights. So if I'm up for 20 hours one day I may eat an extra 8 points or so, but take them off the day I finish nights when I sleep for about 15 hours out of the 24.

Don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me! But basically you have to work out your eating around your lifestyle, not the other way around. And don't follow any arbitrary rules that someone somewhere who doesn't have a clue made up because it suited them.

08-28-2008, 01:20 AM
We have a more "normal" schedule...and we often eat late because we work late. I do try to stay upright for at least two hours after eating, I just feel better, but I don't think there is any magic to when you eat or stop eating.

08-28-2008, 01:44 AM
Yeah, my first question is that this is a golden rule according to whom? :)

I think this is another of those things that is (a) personal and (b) been repeated so many times that it's become "gospel" when it's really just a guess, at best.

And ... this is where the rule falls down. "Don't eat after dark." Ok, so what if you work a graveyard shift and you sleep during the day and are up at night? What if you live in Alaska or Northern Canada and for half the year it gets dark at 3:30 or 4 p.m.? What if, like you (or me), you start your day 3 hours later than "normal"? See, if you take the "rule" so literally, then you're not thinking about the actual POINT .. you're just being a slave to a rule. :)

There is no study that proves that eating late or close to bedtime has any negative impact on weight loss. OTOH, it has been shown that eating close to when you go to sleep (note, not "at night" or "after dark" but based on when you actually lie down and go to sleep) *can* be a problem for some people. It can cause you to have a restless sleep because your body is focused on digestion. It can give you heartburn because you're lying down with a full stomach and working stomach acid. It *can* cause other problems - not that it will for everyone. And it *can* cause some people to stall on their weight loss, but not everyone.

So think about the *why* behind the "rule" and then think about if it's a logical why for YOUR situation. :)


08-28-2008, 03:25 AM
The rule I try to follow is no eating 2-3 hours before bed, but I do it more for digestion reasons. When I eat late, I often wake up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache, but when I stop 2-3 hours before sleep? I sleep like a baby!! It's also more of a rule for me, and I'd really experiment to find what works for you.


08-28-2008, 03:34 AM
Like Amanda, I never ever followed the no eating after a certain time rule. While I didn't work as late as you, I usually got home around 8 and didn't eat dinner until 9 or even 9:30 - and I LOVE dinner and it's my biggest, highest calorie meal of the day. Didn't stop me from losing weight or keeping it off.

As someone who pieced together my own plan from bits of other plans I liked, books that made sense and from deep down in my own psyche/soul/body - read rules and then internalize what works for you and pitch what doesn't. There is no perfect one sized fits all plan that works for everyone - if eating a late dinner and a healthy snack at night work for you - DO THAT.

There are tons of reasons your weight might be stalling - have you taken an honest, clear, hard-eyed look at the calories you eat (every bite/sip) every day for a week?

08-28-2008, 09:30 AM
There is nothing magic about eating after dark or not eating after dark. I guarantee my schedule is more whacked out than yours. I allot a certain number of calories in a 24 hr cycle and then I break them down into mini meals according to my needs in that 24 hr cycle. Sometimes you just have to eat when you can---the clock is irrelevant.

08-28-2008, 09:35 AM
The rule I try to follow is no eating 2-3 hours before bed, but I do it more for digestion reasons. When I eat late, I often wake up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache, but when I stop 2-3 hours before sleep? I sleep like a baby!! It's also more of a rule for me, and I'd really experiment to find what works for you.


I'm like Aimee, I stop for fullness reasons. I hate going to bed full. But I also don't like to go to bed hungry LOL! I do eat an evening snack, though - every night.